The following appeared in a memorandum from the planning department of an electric power company.
“Several recent surveys indicate that home owners are increasingly eager to conserve energy. At the same time, manufacturers are now marketing many home appliances, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, that are almost twice as energy efficient as those sold a decade ago. Also, new technologies for better home insulation and passive solar heating are readily available to reduce the energy needed for home heating. Therefore, the total demand for electricity in our area will not increase — and may decline slightly. Since our three electric generating plants in operation for the past twenty years have always met our needs, construction of new generating plants will not be necessary.”
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
Firstly, the conservation of energy is doubtful, although several recent surveys indicate that home owners’ increasing eagerness to conserve energy and manufacturers’ marketing of many energy-efficient home appliances. To begin with, the author assumes that a limited number of surveys can provide a reliable indication of home owners’ increasing eagerness to conserve energy. ← identify the assumption】 As a matter of fact, they may be other surveys that find the opposite of the situation indicated by these surveys. ← refute the assumption】The author also assumes that the eagerness is not a recent and transient idea but will last long in the future. ← identify the assumption】 In fact, the eagerness may be provoked by the government’s promotional campaigns about energy conservation, and it may wear off throughout a period of time especially if the campaigns stop. ← refute the assumption】Another questionable assumption is that surveys’ findings are reliable. ← identify the assumption】However, it is not unlikely that some of many home owners did not answer the survey questions truthfully or carefully. In this likely case, findings drawn from those untruthful or careless answers are unreliable. ← refute the assumption】In addition, the author cannot safely assume that the eagerness and the marketing can surely result in the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances. ← identify the assumption】 However, the eagerness may remain as an idea rather than become an action and the marketing may be futile, because home owners may decide that purchasing those energy-efficient home appliances, which may be expensive, may be less economical than using energy even in a wasteful way. ← refute the assumption】 Since the conservation of energy is uncertain, the predicted demand for electricity based on energy conservation is in doubt. ← recognize the implication if assumptions prove unwarranted】
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