90. The following appeared in the letters-to-the-editor column of a local newspaper.
Muscle Monthly, a fitness magazine that regularly features pictures of bodybuilders using state-of-the-art exercise machines frequently sells out according to the owner of Skyview Newsstand. To help maximize fitness levels in our town's residents, we should, therefore, equip our new community fitness center with such machines.
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.
In this argument the author concludes that the new community fitness center should be equipped with the state-of-the-art exercise machines featured in Muscle monthly magazine. In support of this recommendation two reasons are offered.
(1) Muscle Monthly contains pictures of bodybuilders using such machines.
(2) Muscle Monthly is a popular magazine as evidenced by the fact that it frequently sells out at the local newsstand.
This argument is questionable on two counts.
First, a major implication of the argument is that the bodybuilders pictured using the machines in Muscle Monthly magazine reached their state of fitness as a result of using these machines. The only evidence offered to support this contention, however, is the pictures in the magazine. It is possible that the bodybuilders pictured use different equipment for their workouts and are merely posing with the machines for advertising purposes.
Second, the author assumes that machines that are suitable for body building will also be suitable to help maximize the fitness levels of the town's residents. This assumption is highly questionable. Machines designed to increase muscle development are significantly different from those designed to increase cardiovascular fitness. Consequently, it is unlikely that the machines pictured in the magazine will be of much use to help maximize the fitness levels of the town's residents.
In conclusion, this argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to show that the bodybuilders pictured using the exercise machines actually used the machines to reach their level of muscle development. Additionally, the author would have to show that the machines were suitable for increasing the fitness levels of the persons using them.