The 15% decline that the author cites is not necessarilydue to the vocational preferences of new law-school graduates. It is entirelypossible that the number of new graduates preferring to work forlarge firms has not declined, but that during the last three years Megalopolis’large firms have had fewer job openings for these graduates. Since the articlefails to account for this alternative explanation for the 15%decline, the article’s author cannot make any sound recommendations to law firms based on thatdecline.
Assuming that the Megalopolissuccess was infact due to DR’s popularity there, the manager overlooks the possibility that AdLib’s campaign hadnothing to do with that popularity. Perhaps the band recently becameoverwhelmingly popular due to a new hit song or a revival of the type ofmusic DR plays.Eitherscenario, if ture, would serve to undermine the manager’s claim thatAd Lib’s efforts are to be credited for the Megalopolis success.
The chairperson unfairly assumes that the three bandawards wereattributable to Schade’s abilities and efforts. Lacking evidence to confirm this assumption, itis entirely possible that Schade was not the school’s bandinstructor when the band won these awards. Or, perhaps the band won all three awards early inSchade’s tenure, and his predecessor is to be credited. For that matter, perhaps it was theimproved quality of the band’s musical instruments that should becredited for the awards. After all, the chairperson provides no evidence thatSchade wasactually responsible for this improvement. Without considering and ruling out otherpossible reasons why the band won the awards the chairperson cannot convince meof Schade’s abilities or, in turn, that he should be appointed to the districtjob.
Even assuming that the study isstatistically reliable, a direct correlation between a high-iron diet andheart disease doesnot necessarily prove that the former causes the latter. While a highcorrelation is a strong evidence of a causal relationship, in itself it is notsufficient. The author must also account for all other possible factorsleading to heart disease, such as genetic propensity, amount of exercise,and so forth. Lackingevidence that the heart-disease sufferers whom the study observed were similar in allsuch respects, the author cannot justifiably conclude that a high-iron diet is the primarycause, or even a contributing cause, of heart disease.
Similarly, a correlation between a diet thatincludes large amounts of red meat and heart disease does not necessarily infer a causalrelationship.It is possible that red-meat eaters are comparativelylikely to incur heart disease due to factors that have nothing to do with theamount of red meat in their diet. Perhapsred-meat eaters are the same people whogenerally overeat, and it is obesity rather the consumption of red meatspecifically causes heart attacks. The author must consider and eliminate this and otherpossible reasons why red-meat eaters are more likely than otherpeople to suffer from heart disease. Otherwise, I cannot accept the author’s implicit claim thateating red meats is any more likely to cause heart disease than eating otherfood.
The ad relies on the unsubstantiated assumption that theMega employees attending the seminar are positioned to influence Mega’s salesand its customer relations. Perhaps these new employees were hired forproduction, editorial, personnel positions that have nothing to do with customer relationsand that have only an indirect and negligible impact on sales. Without providingevidence that these new employees directly influence Mega’s customerrelations and sales, I cannot accept the argument that the Dickensseminarwasresponsible for any of Mega’s sales or customer-relationsimprovements subsequent to the seminar.
The fact that the magazine’spoorest-selling issues were the ones with international cover stories might be explainedby a variety of factors. Perhaps international events themselves were notas interesting during those periods. If so, it might be a mistake to refrain fromemphasizing international events when those events are interesting enough tostimulate sales. Or perhaps the news magazine is seasonal, or cyclical, andthose particular issues would have sold more poorly regardless of the cover story. In short, withoutruling out other possible explanations for the relatively poor salesof those particular issues the publisher cannot justifiably conclude that internationalcover stories werethe cause of the relatively poor sales.
Even if the statistics citedaccurately reflect the amount of television people watch compared to the numberof fiction, itwould be hasty to infer based merely on this fact that thetelevision industry is more profitable than the book-publishing industry. To begin with,the study’s results excluded any data about nonfiction books—a category thatmight very well constitute book’s publishers’ main profit source. Moreover, theauthor has not showm any correlation, let alone a cause-and-effectrelationship, between the number of hours a person spends watchingtelevision andthat industry’s profits. In any event, lacking financial statistics aboutthe profitability of the two industries the editorial’s author cannot convince methat writers should follow the author’s recommendation.
One problem with the argument is that theletter’s author mightbe assigning a false cause to these statewide trends. The author providesno evidence that Riedeburg’s policies and actions as governor were indeed thereason for these developments. Without such evidence, it is equally possible that otherfactors are instead responsible for the trends. For instance, perhaps the crimerate has declined due to legislative or judicial action over whichRiedeburg had no control. Perhaps the rise in the state’s population is the result ofsociologicaltrends that have nothing to do with Riedeburg’s policies as governor. Or perhapspeople are moving to the state for other reasons, such as the state’s climate. Moreover,the argument assumes that an increase in population is a positive developmentin the first place; yet it is entirely possible that the state’s residentsproperly view this trend as a negative one. If so, and if Riedeburg’s policies havecontributed to this trend, then the author cannot reasonably conclude based on thisevidence that Riedeburg is the best-qualified candidate.
The author fails to establish the causalrelationship between A and B.
The author fails to convince us that Acontribute B.
The author provides no evidence that A isthe reason for B.