Opponent of offshore oil drilling: The projected benefits of drilling new oil wells in certain areas in the outer ...

Anna20 on August 10, 2020


Please could you explain the wording in answer choice D - I didn't pick this because I didn't understand what the answer choice was trying to say. Why is C incorrect here? Thanks so much!

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shunhe on August 11, 2020

Hi @Anna2020,

Thanks for the question! So let’s take a look at this argument first. The opponent of offshore oil drilling is basically saying it’s not worth it to drill new oil wells in certain places. Why? Because the oil already being drawn is only 4% of the total, and the new wells would only add .5%.

And then the proponent rebuts by saying, nah, that’s wrong. By that logic, we shouldn’t allow any more new farms, since no new farms can supply the total food needs of the country for more than a few minutes.

So now we’re asked to describe how the drilling proponent replies to the drilling opponent. Well, it’s an argument by analogy, right? The drilling proponent takes the logic that the opponent uses and applies it to another scenario to try to show why it’s wrong. So we want an answer choice that says something along those lines.

Now take a look at (D), which tells us that the proponent cites as parallel to the argument made by the drilling opponent an argument in which the conclusion is strikingly unsupported. Well, that’s kind of oddly worded, but basically, the proponent cites an argument (the farms) that’s supposed to be parallel to the drilling opponent’s argument, but in the parallel argument, the conclusion isn’t supported. And that’s exactly what happened, so (D) is the correct answer choice here.

(C), on the other hand, is wrong because the proponent doesn’t say that the argument is a misapplication of a legitimate way of arguing. The proponent starts off with “Don’t be ridiculous!” And then basically implies that applying that logic in the first place is wrong—wrong for farms, and wrong for oil drills. So (C) doesn’t characterize what’s going on and is the wrong answer.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.