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Critical Reasoning: Dialog Format

Stan: A fairly recent communications development allows people to use Internet connections as their phone lines at home. In the very near future, this form of land line will completely replace the existing telephone lines.

Heather: I think that even though fewer people may end up using the traditional land line setup, it will not be replaced completely anytime soon.

Which of the following, if true, most strengthens Heather's objection to Stan's claim?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice indirectly weakens Heather's viewpoint by strengthening Stan's. The fact that the internet phone lines are cheaper than the regular phone lines only leads us to believe that they have a good chance of replacing them. However, we're supposed to be supporting Heather's claim that this will not happen.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice indirectly weakens Heather's claim. It does so by providing a reason why a transition from the traditional phone lines to the Internet ones will be easy - the phones themselves all work with Internet connections. Remember, you should be looking for a statement that either supports Heather's claim or weakens Stan's.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice presents data that is out of the scope of the argument. The comparison being discussed is between regular phone lines and Internet connection phone lines. Since no mention is made of the home cellular phone industry, any statement about it is irrelevant to our task of supporting Heather's claim that the traditional phone lines will remain in use.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice indirectly weakens Heather's position by strengthening Stan's. It states that in the future, the dominant service providers - Internet phones providers - will likely become a monopoly and assimilate the weaker providers, or those with less users - traditional phone providers. This supports Stan's position that the traditional land line will be replaced.

Alternately, it can be claimed that the monopoly provider may use both methods; in this case this answer choice neither weakens not strengthens Heather's position as it does not provide enough information to establish which scenario is more likely.

Excellent!

[[snippet]]

This answer choice indirectly strengthens Heather's claim. It does so by presenting a negative aspect of phones that use Internet connections. After reading a statement about how such phone lines may distort speech or disconnect we are led to believe that it is less likely that they will completely replace existing lines.

Phone lines wired through Internet connections are generally much cheaper than those supplied by traditional telephone cable companies.
The home cellular phone lines have a better chance of replacing the traditional landline than the Internet phones.
Research has shown that when there is a dominant provider of communication services in any given area, a monopoly is formed, and other providers tend to be assimilated by that monopoly.
Phone lines that are wired as Internet connections are less reliable than telephone cable lines, and can sometimes distort speech or disconnect.
Almost all of the current telephone devices have the capability of functioning with an Internet-based phone line.