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ARQ: Chapters 8 and 9

Major points for evaluating evidence, claims, assumptions.

Joseph Griffin

on 8 February 2011

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Transcript of ARQ: Chapters 8 and 9

Chapters 8&9: Asking the Right Questions Overview of existing questions:
What are the issue and conclusion? What are the reasons? What words or phrases are ambiguous? What are the value and descriptive assumptions? Are there any fallacies in the reasoning? How good is the evidence: intuition, personal experience, testimonials, and appeals to authority? To establish reasons, facts are needed. where should our focus be:
dependable/less dependable? *Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president
*Abraham Lincoln was the kindest US President. *Abraham Lincoln was killed as a result of a massive governmental conspiracy. Locating Factual Claims
a)descriptive conclusions
c)descriptive assumptions *texting while driving impairs your ability to safely operate a vehicle *We need tougher gun control laws. Recent statistics show an increase in violent crime involving handguns. Because of their natural inability to comprehend, the elderly shouldn't be allowed to vote anymore. Examining Evidence 3 cases for accepting a factual claim as dependable
undisputed common knowledge
the claim is a conclusion from a very well-reasoned argument
the claim is adequately supported by solid evidence in the same communication or by other known evidence evidence: explicit information shared by the communicator that is used to "back up" or justify the dependability of a factual claim kinds of evidence
personal experience
appeals to authority/experts
personal observation
case examples
research studies
analogies 1)Intuition a) Blind Intuition
"I just think that Polly is the girl for me, despite our vast differences..." b) "Reasoned" Intuition
-sometimes hunches are not blind, just incapable of explanation problems with intuition:
it is private and largely unverifiable 2)Personal Experience/Anecdotal Evidence "I had a great time hiking the Grand Teton. I bet you will too." what's wrong with the reasoning? Remember the distinction between what is:
probable 3) Testimonials Can be problematic because of:
selectivity: who's voice is disenfranchised or unrepresented?
personal interest: does the testimony bearer have a bias?
ommitted information: they are small snapshots of a larger consideration.
their appeal: the human factor makes them attractive. 4) Appeals to Authority Book's examples:
Movie Reviewers: "One of the ten best movies of the year..."
Talk Show Pundits: "The economy is headed for a recession..."
Organizations: "The American Medical Association supports this position"
Relatives: "My grandpa says that..."
Religion: "In the Koran, we read that..."
Magazines: "According to Newsweek..."
etc etc etc Can authorities be wrong? Questions to ask when a communicator appeals to authority
"Why should we believe this authority?"
"How much expertise or training does the authority have about the subject?"
"Was the authority in a position to have especially good access to pertinent facts?"
"Is there good reason to believe that the authority is relatively free of distorting influences?"
"Does the authority have a reptuation for frequently making dependable claims? Have we been able to rely on this authority in the past?"

5) Personal Observation Problem: the "terministic screen"
our language doesn't reflect reality, it selects {deflects} reality Observations are hardly "pure"--but are filtered through a set of values, biases, attitudes, expectations...as a result, observers often disagree about what was perceived. 6) Research Studies Can be strong, but always consider
precision in language Checklist for Research Findings:
*they can vary in quality
*they can be contradictory
*they do not prove conclusions (but support them)
*they come from humans with human flaws
*they can be meant to mislead
*they are based on 'facts' that shift over time
*they can be biased by artificiality
*they can be biased by the need for financial gain, status, tenure, security, and other factors 7) Case examples Uses a smaller, detailed sample to support a conclusion
Compelling because of their color/detail
Striking, emotional, and visual http://byuicomm.net/story.php?c=Student-Interns-With-NASA 8) Analogies Analogy: comparison of two distinct yet like things for the sake of supporting a conclusion Analyzing Analogies:
I)How are the two things being compared similar? How are they different?
II)How relevant are these similarities and differences? "I think California's "three strikes" law is a great idea. Why should criminals be given unlimited chances to continue to re-offend? We give a batter only three attempts to swing and hit a ball, so why does a criminal deserve any better? Three swings and misses and you are out; three offenses and convictions and you are in, jail that is.
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