IMAT 2011 Q27 [Flaw | Mobile Phones]

When mobile phones were introduced there were concerns about the microwaves produced and the effects that these could have on the brain, given that phones would be held close to the ear when being used. These concerns have been shown to be mistaken since mobile phones are used for sending text messages far more than for making phone calls. Sending a text message does not require the phone to be anywhere near to the brain so it cannot cause any problems.

Which one of the following identifies the flaw in this argument?

A. It ignores research showing that microwaves from the phones cannot penetrate far enough to reach the brain.

B. It ignores evidence suggesting that text messaging is only popular in certain age groups.

C. It does not consider uses of mobile phones other than making phone calls and sending text messages.

D. It does not consider other technology such as wireless internet which could cause similar problems.

E. It ignores the possible effects of the phone calls that are made.

Reminder:

  1. Read the question first
  2. Read the passage
  3. Find the conclusion, highlight keywords
  4. Find assumptions that the argument lies on
  5. Attack these assumptions with the answer options
  6. Discard any invalid options and you’ll have your answer

Let’s start by finding the conclusion: sending text messages do not require the phone to be near the brain and therefore these potential harmful microwaves cannot cause problems.

Now we can analyse our options:

A. This would actually strengthen the argument because the author is trying to disprove the negative effect of phones on our brains due to microwaves. If this research on microwaves not being able to penetrate far enough to reach the brain, then it would support his argument. Therefore this cannot be the flaw in the argument.

B. This answer could seem a bit tricky because if the author was correct, but only certain ages text, it would in turn lead us to believe that other ages would be affected by microwaves. This is not the correct answer however because it ignores the fact that the author is ignoring the potential effects of the calls made. This is also something that effects all age groups because everyone makes phone calls. In addition, this is a weak option because although texting may be popular among the younger age groups, maybe younger people use their phone more than older people and so they also call more. If young people made the same or more phone calls, then the popularity of text messages would not matter because the apparent danger is from phone calls. Therefore this cannot be the answer.

C. Although this could have some implication, it is not relevant to what the text is mainly trying to argue. The text is talking about microwave exposure from phone calls, and since texting is more popular, then we should not have to worry about the microwave exposure from mobile devices. Although other uses of mobile phones may affect us, the main one for discussion here is calling, therefore this cannot be the answer.

D. The passage is strictly referring to the dangers of using a mobile phone for calling, it is not ignoring or negating the effects of other technology. It says there are concerns over the microwaves produced by mobile phones, this does not say that other devices and technology do or do not produce the same microwaves, the passage is specific to mobile phones and therefore other technology is not relevant. Therefore this cannot be the answer.

E. The author’s logic is that: Microwaves from phone calls could have effects on the brain, but since we text more than call, these microwaves cannot harm us. What about when we do make phone calls? Just because we text more, does not mean that we do not call. He ignores the fact that phone calls are still made, and therefore would still expose our brains to microwaves. Therefore E is the correct answer.