Essay topics: The following report appeared in the newsletter of the West Meria Public Health Council.
"An innovative treatment has come to our attention that promises to significantly reduce absenteeism in our schools and workplaces. A study reports that in nearby East Meria, where fish consumption is very high, people visit the doctor only once or twice per year for the treatment of colds. Clearly, eating a substantial amount of fish can prevent colds. Since colds represent the most frequently given reason for absences from school and work, we recommend the daily use of Ichthaid—a nutritional supplement derived from fish oil—as a good way to prevent colds and lower absenteeism."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The author of the statement above mentions that the most of the absentee excuses for not attending workplace and school are cold diseases. Therefore, in order to reduce the absenteeism rates in the schools and workplaces of West Meria, the author recommends the intake of a nutrition called Ichthaid which he /she thinks it will significantly reduce the colds. This conclusion is based on that in East Meria there are seemingly fewer people getting cold because of eating fish, than do people in the west, and there is Ichthaid in the fish oil. The argument lacks several vital evidence.
First, the author needs to provide direct statistical information about how frequent are the instances of the getting cold in the both places, before making any comparison. May be eastern people of Meria stay at home and cure themselves with traditional or herbal drugs instead of going to the doctor, then the number of ill people would be underestimated by the author. Another possible scenario is that people in the west are also visiting the doctor once or twice a year. If these are the case the comparison is a fallacy.
Secondly, assuming that the people of the East Meria are healthier, there might be other reasons why the people in the east are healthier and the western people are not. The eastern people might access to other necessary nutrients to preclude cold, such as vitamin c, while western people lack the sufficient amount of them in their bodies. It is also possible that east part is less populated than the west part. Since the cold is a contagious disease, then the east part becomes less vulnerable than the west. The author needs evidence attesting that both places are corresponding with each other in several aspects to verify the comparison and rule out any alternative explanations.
Finally, even if all previous evidence lends credence to the author’s conclusion, the author needs evidence that fish consumption in the Western part is not the same as it is in the eastern part. People might consume the same amount of fishes and get enough Ichthaid and still get cold in West Meria. If this is the case, intake of Ichthiad would do nothing to reduce the incidences of cold diseases.
In short, the author of the newspaper of West Meria Public Health Council fails to provide enough evidence in the argument to support the conclusion. The lack of enumerated evidence allows different possible scenarios defying any certainty to evaluate the argument. Therefore the argument cannot be tenable.
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