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The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper.
"This past winter, 200 students from Waymarsh State College traveled to the state capital building to protest against proposed cuts in
funding for various state college programs. The other 12,000 Waymarsh students evidently weren't so concerned about their education:
they either stayed on campus or left for winter break. Since the group who did not protest is far more numerous, it is more representative of
the state's college students than are the protesters. Therefore the state legislature need not heed the appeals of the protesting students."
My answer :
The author of a editoral section of a local newspaper argues that the state legislature should go ahead with the cuts in funding available for various state college programs. The argument is based on the premises that only 200 students in the Waymarsh college walked to the state capital building to protest against the proposed fund cutting while the other 12,000 students did not participate in the protest. Although this argument seems somewhat convincing, some issues need to be addressed.
To begin with, the author doesnt not the consider the possibility that the 12000 students who did not participate in the protest may not actually be eligible for the funding. If only 200 students from the college are eligible for the funding, it will make the participation 100%.So only the number 200 cannot lead to a fruitful conclusion. Also, it could be possible that the course for which the 12000 students opted may not have provisions for funding, so it is out of question that they will join the protest.
Morever, the students who did not participate in the protest by travelling to the state capital building might have done so through other medium like internet, newspaper, television etc. .So travelling to the captial building does not represent the only method of protest. Therefore, the students participating in this protest may not well represent the total number of protesters.
To conclude, this is a weak argument as the author bases the findings on the premises that cannot be reliably generalised. To strengthen the argument, the author should provide evidence to support his idea that travelling to state building was the only way through which the students protested the state legislature's proposed fund cutting for programs and that the legislature can take an unbiased decision based only on the results of the survey.. Also, it should be made obviously evident that the students who did not participate in the protest did so only due to lack of concern about their education. Only then it can be logically concluded that the state legislature need not heed the appeals of the protesting students.