Critical Thinking Discussion

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“Identifying Misleading Information in an Argument”

  • Consider the following
    argument: There are many arguments for the elimination or modification of
    current U. S. drug laws, but one of the most persuasive involves what negative
    effects drug laws are having on society in comparison with the effects of the
    drugs themselves. In the past ten years, most forms of drug use have dropped
    significantly, especially among teens. Despite this, non-violent drug offenders
    accounted for 21.1 percent of the federal prison population. First time drug
    offenders serve, on average, a sentence three months longer than kidnappers, nine
    months longer than burglars, and thirty-three months longer than sex abusers.
    In 1992, the average cost of keeping an inmate in either state or federal
    prison was about $20,000 per prisoner per year. The United States has the
    highest incarceration rate in the world, with 455 prisoners per 100,000
    population. It is maintaining these prisoners at great expense in an
    environment where they are unlikely to develop a socially constructive
    attitude. Perhaps it is time that we reconsider our attitudes toward those who
    choose to use drugs; failure to do so may cost society even more than it
    already has.

    • Determine whether or not the
      argument uses any deceptive statistics. Give your opinion on whether or not the
      argument has persuaded you. Explain why or why not.

    • Determine the primary ways
      in which statistics or authority are used in your current position in
      developing persuasive arguments, and provide examples of such use.

*****This is a Discussion, NOT a paper. NO PLAGIARIASM PLEASE.*****

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