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Critical Reasoning: Argument Flaw Questions

Six months ago, the Surgeon General stated that the legislation behind allowing the sales of type D1 pharmaceuticals without the need of a prescription would not be carried forward, meaning that D1 pharmaceuticals would require a customer to produce a prescription at the point-of-purchase. Yesterday, in a press conference, the Surgeon General made a public announcement supporting the legislation to allow the sales of type D1 pharmaceuticals without the need of a prescription. In light of these events, it is clear that the Surgeon General's current position is ill-formed.

The argument is flawed primarily because the author



Just because it may take us a long time to reach a decision, does not mean that our final choice will be right. You can spend 15 minutes on a GMAT question and still pick the incorrect answer. Similarly, just because the Surgeon General's decision followed a long process of evaluation does not mean that it is correct or that the author must agree with it. Therefore, there's nothing wrong with passing judgment on that decision.



There is nothing illogical about casting doubt in a argument simply because it was spoken by a high-ranking official. Holding a high-ranking position does not automatically make someone right. The speaker's identity or stature is irrelevant to whether the argument made is sound. Even the greatest experts on a topic should logically construct their arguments and support them with evidence.



Actually, the argument provides no evidence to support either side of the dilemma about the sales of D1 drugs. The author only tells us about the Surgeon General's decisions on the topic. Therefore, it would be incorrect to claim that either view has been substantiated by sufficient evidence.



The conclusion that the Surgeon General's second position is ill-formed is based on his or her change of mind. Since the argument revolves around the Surgeon General's decision-making process, presenting the opinions of other professionals is not required.

Great work!


Supporting one position and then changing one's mind to support the opposite does not prove that either position is incorrect. In this argument, the fact that the Surgeon General changed his or her position on the topic of drug sales does not mean the first viewpoint was correct or that the second is incorrect.

passes judgment on a decision that was formed after a long process of evaluation
concludes that a statement is wrong based on its inconsistency with a previous statement
casts doubt on a position supported by a high-ranking government official
rejects a decision that has been substantiated by sufficient evidence
fails to include opinions other than that of a single professional