One of our instructors copied me on an explanation to a great, difficult Critical Reasoning question from one of our diagnostic tests, and I thought everyone could benefit from the insight:
Can you please answer below?
Although well-known links exist between soda consumption and obesity, a recent study has found that banning these sweetened beverages has no effect on children's eating habits. Since many school boards are fiercely debating such policies, the results of this study should provide the hard data needed to make an informed decision.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the argument?
a) Several studies show a link between banning sweetened beverages
in school and the eating habits of the affected children.
b) Childhood obesity is most effectively addressed when parents prevent their children from drinking sweetened beverages both in and out of school.
c) School-age children consume more sugar from fatty foods than from sweetened beverages.
d) Most of the school boards are considering banning sweetened beverages as a remedy for misbehavior after lunch than for obesity.
e) Children of obese parents are more likely than children of non-obese parents to become obese regardless of their food and beverage intake.
In the above question, I marked it as C, reason is that Argument says that Study of soda consumption linking to Obesit will help Schools to draw conclusion whether to Ban thse Sweetend beverages and C exactly states that School Children consume more sugar than from Sweetened beverages. So obiviously results of study is not useful.
Can you please suggest if I am right?
On Weaken questions, you are required to identify the conclusion and then find either a gap in the author's logic or something that discredits or renders a premise as irrelevant. In this case, the conclusion is that the results of the study should provide the hard data needed to make a decision whether or not to ban sweetened beverages. You are correct that we are looking for something that would show that the study would NOT be useful to the school boards. However, statement C merely strengthens the original premise---that banning sweetened beverages has no effect on eating habits.
If fatty foods contribute more to sugar consumption than sweetened beverages, then that would show that the recent study is correct. It does not show that the conclusion (that the study would be useful) is improperly drawn. However, answer choice D introduces another premise that weakens the argument. If the school board only cares about addressing misbehavior and not about sugar consumption or obesity, then a study about sugar consumption would not be useful at all to the school board. Therefore, answer choice D is correct.