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The following appeared in a memorandum from the president of a company
that makes ( Glabrous) shampoo.
“A widely publicized study claims that HR2, a chemical compound in our
shampoo, can contribute to hair loss after prolonged use. This study, however,
involved only 500 subjects. Furthermore, we have received no complaints from our
customers during the past year, and some of our competitors actually use more
HR2 per bottle of shampoo than we do. Therefore, we do not need to consider
replacing the HR2 in our shampoo with a more expensive alternative.”
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Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
The president of the company that produces Glabrous Shampoo argues against removing the ingredient HR2 from the shampoo even
though a scientific study claims that prolonged use of HR2 can contribute to hair loss. Three reasons are cited as the basis for this
decision. First, it is argued that since the scientific study involved only 500 subjects, it can be disregarded. Second, none of Glabrous’
customers have complained of problems during the past year. And, finally, Glabrous’ competitors use more HR2 per bottle than
Glabrous. The president’s decision is problematic in several respects.
To begin with, the fact that the scientific study on HR2 involved only 500 subjects is insufficient grounds to dismiss the results of that
study. If the subjects for the study were randomly chosen and represent a diverse cross section of the population of shampoo users,
the results will be reliable regardless of the number of participants.
Next, the scientific study determined that prolonged use could contribute to hair loss. While “prolonged use” was not defined in the
memorandum, the fact that none of Glabrous’ customers have complained of problems during the past year is not a reliable reason to
believe that problems will not arise in the future.
Finally, the fact that Glabrous’ competitors use more HR2 in their products than Glabrous uses is irrelevant to the question of whether
Glabrous should remove HR2 from its product. Moreover, rather than providing a reason for not removing the compound, this fact
serves better as a reason for doing so. By removing HR2 from its product Glabrous could gain an edge over its competitors.
In conclusion, the reasoning in this argument is not convincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to show that the study
was biased or was based on too small a sample to yield reliable results.