Diagnostic Test - Arguments

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1. The petrochemical industry claims that chemical waste dumps pose no threat to people living near them. If this is true, then why do they locate the plants in sparsely populated regions? By not locating the chemical dumps in densely populated areas the petrochemical industry tacitly admits that these chemicals are potentially dangerous to the people living nearby.

Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the author's argument?
(A) Funding through the environmental Super Fund to clean up poorly run waste dumps is reserved for rural areas only.
(B) Until chemical dumps are proven 100% safe, it would be imprudent to locate them were they could potentially do the most harm.
(C) Locating the dumps in sparsely populated areas is less expensive and involves less government red tape.
(D) The potential for chemicals to leach into the water table has in the past been underestimated.
(E) People in cities are more likely to sue the industry if their health is harmed by the dumps.

2. The news media is often accused of being willing to do anything for ratings. However, recent action by a television network indicates that the news media is sometimes guided by moral principle. This network had discovered through polling voters on the east coast that the Republican candidate for President had garnered enough votes to ensure victory before the polls closed on the west coast. However, the network withheld this information until the polls on the west coast closed so that the information would not affect the outcome of key congressional races.

Which one of the following most strengthens the argument?
(A) The network had endorsed the Republican candidate for President.
(B) The network expected its ratings to increase if it predicted the winner of the presidential race, and to decrease if did not predict the winner.
(C) A rival network did predict a winner of the presidential race before the polls on the west coast closed.
(D) The network believed that it would receive higher ratings by not predicting the winner of the presidential race.
(E) The network feared that predicting the winner of the presidential race could so anger Congress that it might enact legislation preventing all future polling outside of voting centers.

3. To avoid economic collapse, Russia must increase its GNP by 20%. However, due to the structure of its economy, if the 20% threshold is reached, then a 40% increase in GNP is achievable.

Assuming that the above statements are true, which one of the following must also be true?
(A) If ethnic strife continues in Russia, then a 20% increase in GNP will be unattainable.
(B) If a 40% increase in Russia's GNP is impossible, its economy will collapse.
(C) If Russia's GNP increases by 40%, its economy will not collapse.
(D) If the 20% threshold is reached, then a 40% increase in GNP is achievable and a 60% increase is probable.
(E) If Russia's economy collapses, then it will not have increased its GNP by 40%.

4. Rebecca: When I went hiking in the mountains the other day, every bird that scolded me was a Steller's Jay, and every Steller's Jay I saw scolded me.

Which one of the following statements can be inferred from Rebecca's observations?
(A) The only jays that Rebecca saw while hiking were Steller's Jays.
(B) There were no Gray Jays in the area where Rebecca hiked.
(C) While she was hiking, no Gray Jays scolded Rebecca.
(D) All the jays that Rebecca saw scolded her.
(E) Rebecca did not see any Gray Jays while she was hiking.

5. Democracy is the best form of government yet created. Therefore, we must be vigilant in its defense; that is, we must be prepared to defend the right to freedom. Because this right is fundamental to any progressive form of government, it is clear that democracy is better than any other form of government.

Which one of the following illustrates the same flawed reasoning as found in the passage?
(A) I never get a headache when I eat only Chinese food, nor when I drink only wine. But when I eat Chinese food and drink wine, I get a headache. So the combination of the two must be the cause of my headaches.
(B) The two times I have gone to that restaurant something bad has happened. The first time the waiter dropped a glass and it shattered all over the table. And after the second time I went there, I got sick. So why should I go there again--something bad will just happen again.
(C) I would much rather live a life dedicated to helping my fellow man than one dedicated to gaining material possessions and seeing my fellow man as a competitor. At the end of each day, the satisfaction of having helped people is infinitely greater than the satisfaction of having achieved something material.
(D) I'm obsessed with volleyball; that's why I play it constantly. I train seven days a week, and I enter every tournament. Since I'm always playing it, I must be obsessed with it.
(E) In my academic studies, I have repeatedly changed majors. I decide to major in each new subject that I'm introduced to. Just as a bee lights from one flower to the next, tasting the nectar of each, I jump from one subject to the next getting just a taste of each.

6. Either restrictions must be placed on freedom of speech or certain subversive elements in society will use it to destroy this country. Since to allow the latter to occur is unconscionable, we must restrict freedom of speech.

The conclusion above is unsound because
(A) subversives do not in fact want to destroy the country
(B) the author places too much importance on the freedom of speech
(C) the author fails to consider an accommodation between the two alternatives
(D) the meaning of "freedom of speech" has not been defined
(E) subversives are a true threat to our way of life

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