GMAT : Analysis of An Argument
60. The following appeared as part of an article in a popular science magazine.
Scientists must typically work 60 to 80 hours a week if they hope to further their careers. Consequently, good and affordable all-day child care must be made available to both male and female scientists if they are to advance in their fields. Moreover, requirements for career advancement must be made more flexible so that preschool-age children can spend a significant portion of each day with a parent.
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.
This editorial argues that, since career advancement for scientists typically requires 60 to 80 hours of work per week, affordable all-day child care must be made available to scientists of both genders if they are to advance in their fields.
Additionally, the editorial urges that requirements for career advancement be made more flexible to insure that pre-school children can spend a significant amount of time each day with a parent.
This argument is problematic in two crucial respects.
The major problem with the view expressed in the article is that inconsistent recommendations are endorsed in the argument. On the one hand, scientists are urged to put their children in all-day child-care facilities in order to advance their careers. On the other hand, they are encouraged to spend a significant amount of time each day with their children. Obviously, scientists cannot be expected to adhere to both of these recommendations.
Another problem is that the recommendations are based on the assumption that all or at least most scientists have young or preschool-age children. But the editorial provides no evidence to support this assumption, nor is this assumption very likely to be true. Since, childless scientists or scientists whose children are old enough to take care of themselves will have no need for the services advocated in this article, It in doubtful that these recommendations will receive much widespread support.
In conclusion, this argument is unconvincing. To strengthen it, the author must show that most scientists have preschool children and consequently are in need of the recommended services. Additionally, the author must address and resolve the apparent conflict between the recommendations.