# IMAT 2013 Q17 [ Flaw | John Wayne]

According to a recent analysis of university entrance records, you are more likely to go to university if your name is John than if it is Wayne. Therefore, if you want your child to go to university, you are better off calling him John than Wayne.

Which one of the following is the best statement of the flaw in the argument above?

A. It draws a general conclusion from specific evidence.
B. It confuses a necessary condition with a sufficient one.
C. It jumps to a conclusion without any evidence.
D. It confuses a correlation with a cause.
E. It fails to consider other names than Wayne or John.

This question requires a bit of extra knowledge to solve because you need to have read about the different question types and what they contain. The goal of this question is to test your breakdown of the question

A It draws a general conclusion from specific evidence:

The conclusion is not general, rather it is specific. This option is about projection, which is when you make a conclusion about a small population and apply it to a larger one. The conclusion made by the author is not general because it is only dealing with two different names. If it was a general conclusion, it could state that “your child is more likely to go to University if their name is John over any other name based on this data”. Notice the difference; one is specific and has evidence to back it up - more people are named John than Wayne in University so if given an “either-or” choice, you’d have higher chances with John, while the other state says “more people are named John than Wayne, therefore name your kid John over any other name so they have higher chances”. As we can see, the author’s real conclusion is specific to the argument, and therefore A is false.

B It confuses a necessary condition with a sufficient one:

For this, we need to know what is the difference between a necessary condition and a sufficient one.

Necessary condition: When something needs to happen for something else to happen, but it does not mean that 100% that the final outcome will happen. (Ex. I need to buy a lottery ticket to win the lottery, but just because I have the ticket does not mean I will win).

Sufficient condition: When something happens, it always results in the same consequence, but it is not the only way to get the same end consequence. (Ex. If I catch the flu, I am sick, but there are other ways to get sick besides just the flu).

In this text, we have no guarantees, we are only dealing with likelihoods of going to University based on names. In a necessary condition, you NEED something to happen (in this case you need to be named John or Wayne) for something else to happen (go to University), but it does not mean that it will happen guaranteed. We do not need to be John or Wayne to go to University, so we know it is not a necessary condition. It is also not a sufficient conclusion because if you are named John or Wayne, there is no guarantee you get into University. So it is neither a sufficient condition here nor a necessary one. Therefore this answer choice is incorrect because there is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition.

See EMS Critical Thinking Guide.

C It jumps to a conclusion without any evidence:

This option is incorrect because the author does have evidence, albeit not the strongest. The evidence in the passage is that: ‘According to a recent analysis of university entrance records, you are more likely to go to university if your name is John than if it is Wayne’. This provides evidence in the form of a University analysis. Therefore C is incorrect.

D It confuses a correlation with a cause:

Correlation is not causation

What is the difference?

Causation means that one thing directly causes another (this is good evidence).

Correlation is relating two things without much background or evidence, it is possible there is a coincidence or a common factor (ex. Shark attacks are more common on people who ate ice cream that day. But this is a correlation because there are common factors. Most people go to the beach on a hot day, and on a hot day, you are more likely to buy ice cream. It being a hot day relates to the urge to buy ice cream and go to the beach, where the shark attack will occur).

See EMS critical thinking guide.

In this passage, it could just be a coincidence that more people in University are named John over Wayne, there is no reason given as to why. Maybe John is more popular than a name and so there is 10 times the amount of John’s as there is Wayne. For all we know, the % of people named Wayne in University could be higher, and this would mean you are more likely to have your child named Wayne in University than John based on chance. There are a lot of factors at play here without any concrete evidence, therefore we can only say there is correlation in the passage, not causation. So D is correct.

E It fails to consider other names than Wayne or John:

The argument is using evidence to prove that more people named John go to University than people named Wayne. If we could conclude this was true, then it would be true to say the author’s final conclusion: “Therefore, if you want your child to go to university, you are better off calling him John than Wayne”. You are comparing only two names, it is an “either or” situation. It does not talk about any other names, so other names could make you more or less likely than “John” or “Wayne”, there is not a statement that denies this from the author. Therefore this option is irrelevant because we are only considering two options without making any conclusions about the other names. E is incorrect.