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The following appeared in a newspaper editorial.
ďAs violence in movies increases, so do
crime rates in our cities. To combat this problem
we must establish a board to censor certain movies, or we must limit admission
to persons over 21 years of age. Apparently our legislators are not concerned
about this issue since a bill calling for such actions recently failed to
receive a majority vote.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
Based upon a correlation
between increases in movie violence and
crime rates in cities, the author argues that to combat crime in cities we
must either censor movies that contain violence or prohibit people who are under
21 years of age from viewing them. The author further
argues that because legislators failed to pass a bill calling for these alternatives,
they are not concerned with the problem of crime in our cities. The authorís
reasoning is unconvincing, since it suffers from two critical problems.
To begin with, the authorís solution to the
problem rests on the claim that portrayals of violence in movies are the cause
of crime in the cities. However, the
evidence offered is insufficient to support this claim. A
mere positive correlation between movie
violence and city crime rates does not
necessarily prove a causal
relationship. In addition, all other
prospective causes of city crime such as poverty or unemployment
must be ruled out. As it
stands, the authorís solution to the
problem is based upon an oversimplified analysis of the issue.
Another problem with the argument is that the
authorís solution assumes that only persons under 21 years of age are
adversely affected by movie violence.
Ultimately, this means that the author is committed to the view that, for the
most part, the perpetrators of crime in
cities are juveniles under 21. Lacking evidence to support this view, the authorís
solution cannot be taken seriously.
In conclusion, the best explanation of the
failure of the bill calling for the actions proposed in this argument is that
most legislators were capable of
recognizing the simplistic analysis of the problem upon which these actions are
based. Rather than providing a demonstration of
a lack of concern about this issue, the legislatorsí votes reveal an
understanding of the complexities of this problem and an unwillingness
to accept simple solutions.