Determine whether each of the following passages is an argument and give reasons for your decision:
(i) The federal government is not discriminating in refusing entry to asylum seekers. It is the illegality of their means of entry, not their nationality, which is the basis of the Government's decision. And it's surely not discriminatory to refuse to accede to the demands of people who are breaking the law. This is an argument. Remember that a passage is an argument if it tries to convince you of its main point, by providing reasons or evidence.
Is it trying to convince me of something? Yes, that the federal government is not discriminating in refusing entrance to the latest asylum seekers.
Are reasons given to convince me? Yes, it claims that is the illegality of their means of entry, not their nationality, which is the basis of the Government's decision; and that it is not discriminatory to refuse to accede to the demands of people who are breaking the law. These claims are clearly intended to give us reason to believe the conclusion of the argument "The federal government is not discriminating in refusing entry to the latest asylum seekers."
(ii) Singapore is wealthy but resource poor. It needs to import basic necessities such as water from neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia, and relies on goodwill to do so. Consequently, Singapore invests more in Malaysia and Indonesia than it would if Singapore were less reliant on these countries. This is an argument. Is it trying to convince me of something? Yes. The passage is trying to convince us that Singapore invests more in Malaysia and Indonesia than it would if it were less reliant on them.
(iii) Many parents would be reluctant to let young children consume large amounts of coffee. A similar reluctance would be appropriate when it comes to soft drinks containing guarana, which is an even more concentrated source of caffeine. Parents often let their children have these drinks, despite the fact that they come with health warnings which state that they are unsuitable for children under fifteen years. This is an argument.
We have seen that words such as "should" often indicate the conclusion of an argument, and a similar kind of indicator occurs here when it says "A similar reluctance would be appropriate ... ". The conclusion is that parents should be reluctant to let their children have soft drinks which contain guarana
(iv) More and more employers are coming to recognise the importance of generic skills in their employees. Unlike other more vocational training, well-developed thinking skills will not become redundant, and will allow people to adapt to change and learn new skills as required.
This is not an argument.
The second sentence could be taken as a reason to convince you of a conclusion that generic skills are useful, but the claim which is actually made in the first sentence states that more and more employers are coming to recognise the importance of generic skills. No evidence is given for that claim
(v) Police radar guns give the wrong readings on occasion, since the reading can be corrupted by the actions of other cars near the target vehicle. This possibility makes it difficult for the police to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that any particular reading is accurate. The New South Wales parliament has passed legislation to stop motorists using this fact as a defence against speeding charges in court. (iv) .
(v) This is not an argument.
Is it trying to convince me of something? The passage makes several claims: a claim about the inaccuracy of radar guns, a claim about the problem of relying on radar gun evidence in court, and a claim about what the New South Wales parliament has done in response to the problem. Any one of these could be the conclusion of an argument
(vi) It is well known that when one sense is deficient, the other senses will often be strengthened to compensate. So a visually impaired person, for example, will often be found to have exceptionally good hearing. This may be because without visual cues, attention is focussed on aural ones-Even people with perfect eyesight often have the experience of things seeming louder in the dark, and it may be that the heightened aural perception of the blind was just an instance of this same phenomenon. Recent research, however, has suggested that in people who have been blind since birth, a larger proportion of the brain could be devoted to picking up aural stimuli.
This is not an argument.
The passage suggests several possible explanations for the observed phenomenon that people with a visual impairment have a better sense of hearing. There is not a main point which of which other reasons are given to convince us.