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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

A recent report compared the crime figures of today with those of 200 years ago. The report showed that today, the proportion of people who break the law is 22% lower than that of 200 years ago. It can be deduced that people are more morally aware today than people were 200 years ago.

Which of the following, if true, casts the most doubt on the argument's conclusion?

Impressive work!

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This answer choice weakens the argument's assumption. It does so by logically separating morals from law. If some people consider an illegal act as something that to them is not immoral, then we cannot logically link legality with morality. Once these two concepts have been separated, the conclusion that an increase in one concept causes an increase in another is weakened.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice strengthens the conclusion because it supports the idea that standards of morality have changed, and that current standards are higher. However, you were supposed to weaken this conclusion.

Comparing the crime levels of different settings is irrelevant to our task of weakening the conclusion since it doesn't really say anything about the moral aspect of the argument. We need to focus on the argument, and find a statement that opposes the author's conclusion that people are more morally aware in today's world.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion. The financial side of the penal system and the taxpayer's money are both issues that don't really say anything about the moral aspect of the conclusion.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion because the accuracy of the report is not in question and so the identity of its writers is irrelevant. Since the report is presented in a premise, it should be considered as factual information.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice strengthens the conclusion, but you are required to weaken it. Explaining why today people are more morally aware, directly supports the conclusion that the level of morality is higher than it once was.

Many actions that were considered morally acceptable 200 years ago have been criminalized by modern legal systems
Today, morals are taught in schools, and since more children are educated, immoral behavior is decreasing.
Some people consider certain illegal acts as not being immoral.
Modern methods for controlling crime have been implemented so that less of the taxpayer's money is now spent on the penal system.
Reports analyzing the crime figures of certain time periods are always conducted by a team of government and private researchers.