XBR105 Good Thinking

XBR105 Good Thinking

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Take-Home Exam 2016

Instructions  Answer all 7 questions 

There are a total of 100 points available on the exam. Questions in parts A and B are worth 10 points each. Question 7, in Part C, is worth 40 points.  Submit your answers as a single document in the “Take-Home Exam” dropbox on MyLO.  There is no need to submit a coversheet  You must do this exam entirely on your own. Do not discuss the problems in it with anyone else, look at anyone else’s work nor allow anyone else to see your work. PART A Question 1 (10 Marks) Consider the following passage: If human induced climate change was real then it would be right to implement a carbon tax. But human induced climate change is not real—If it was real, global temperatures would have continued increasing over the last 15 years, and they haven’t. So it is wrong to introduce a carbon tax. (a) Standardise the argument (b) State the form (eg affirming the necessary condition) of any conditional arguments and subarguments (c) State whether the arguments and subarguments are valid or invalid Question 2 (10 Marks) Consider the following argument from analogy and then answer the questions below Almost everyone would throw a life raft to a drowning person; indeed, someone who refused to do so would be regarded as immoral. The same thing applies to people who live in affluent countries when a famine occurs in a Third World country. We should all be prepared to contribute to suitable charities in order to help those dying of hunger, for they too are in desperate need. Yet many people in affluent countries never give to such charities. Surely we must regard such people as immoral. (a) What is the Subject? (b) What is the Analogue? (c) What is(are) the known similarity(s) mentioned? (d) What is the property being analogically extended? (e) Is the argument normative or descriptive? (f) How might the argument be criticised? PART B Question 3 (10 Marks) The following is an excerpt from a recent Daily Mail article by David Wilkes Five trillion to one! Punter scoops second lottery win with the same numbers THE odds against being so lucky were mind-boggling – more than five trillion to one. But yesterday, punter Mike McDermott was planning retirement to the sunshine island of his dreams after winning the lottery for the second time with the same numbers. ‘I really am in disbelief,’ the 50-year-old electrician admitted as he toasted his success with champagne. ‘I thought it was simply impossible to win twice like this – I can’t believe such incredible luck.’ In June, he and his wife Helen were ecstatic when the numbers – 15,16,18,28 36, and 49 – came up as five numbers plus the bonus ball, scooping £194,501. Mr McDermott kept doing the same numbers, but more out of habit than any real hope of another small fortune. So last Saturday he was staggered when he checked the lottery result on Teletext at his home in Gosport, Hampshire, and saw he had won again with five numbers plus the bonus ball – this time, his prize was £121,157. The odds of his first win were 2,330,636 to one. But the second time, the odds shot up to 5,400,000,000,000 to one. Yesterday, Mr McDermott celebrated aboard a yacht at the Port Solent marina near Portsmouth – symbolising the fact that he and his wife are soon heading off to the island of Kerkenah, off Tunisia, where they have bought a house. ‘We really can’t believe our incredible luck,’ he said. We thought winning twice with the same numbers would be impossible but, obviously, it really can happen – as it’s happened to us. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-142457/Five-trillion-Punter-scoops-second-lottery-winnumbers-By-David-Wilkes.html#ixzz49SBOIObt How surprising is it that someone can win the lottery twice? Question 4 (10 Marks) Alice and Bob are both keen chess players they both play in some local and some national tournaments. Bob claims that he is the better chess player as he has a higher overall percentage of wins. Given the table below what do you make of Bob’s claim? What statistical paradox is this an example of? Who do you think is the better chess player? Alice’s win percentage Bob’s win percentage Local tournaments 80% (40 of 50 games) 75% (60 of 80 games) National tournaments 25% (20 of 80 games) 20% (10 of 50 games) Overall 46% (60 of 130 games) 54% (70 of 130 games) Question 5 (10 Marks) Consider the following graph which resoundingly establishes a strong correlation between percapita cheese consumption and death by entanglement in bedsheets during the period 2000-2009. Does this graph provide evidence that eating cheese will increase your chance of subsequently dying in tangled bedsheets? Include in your answer the relevance of the “per-capita” proviso and how this may affect the situation. Does this graph provide evidence that other people eating cheese increases your chances of dying in tangled bedsheets? Explain your answer. What general statistical fallacy is at play here? How may we reasonably use this fallacy to explain this otherwise somewhat surprising graph? Question 6 (10 Marks) At UTAS, a first year calculus class undertake a test in the second week of semester to determine student abilities. Those students who perform particularly poorly on the test are then put in an additional weekly tutorial class with the aim of providing extra help to get up to speed. In the sixth week of semester another whole-class test is conducted and it is found that the individual students in the remedial class perform significantly better this time around. From these observations can we conclude that the remedial classes are effective? What statistical phenomenon could explain what is going on? PART C Question 7 (40 Marks) Read the introduction and the article “Internet Censorship Erodes Civil Society” provided below, then do the following: 1. Provide a brief summary of the main arguments presented in the article. Remember, a summary must include a statement of the argument’s main conclusion, and the main reasons given for that conclusion (see Chapter 5 of the studyguide for details of summarising an argument). A standardisation is not required, but you can give one if you wish. 2. In around 400 words (and no more than 1000), provide an evaluation of the argument. Are the inferences valid/strong? Are the premises acceptable? Have any fallacies been committed? Make use of any of the tools from the unit that you think are appropriate. Don’t get bogged down in discussions of the premises of the arguments—that, after all was not the focus of this unit. If you disagree with a premise, then by all means point this out, but don’t spend all your time discussing that. You should spend at least equal time on the strength of the inferences—how good would the argument be if you assumed that the premises were true? Chapter 10 of the study guide include an analysis of the text “Why Beazley should be given a go with the jigsaw puzzle” by Peter FitzSimons. You should refer to this analysis as an example of the kind of thing that is being asked of you in step 2. Given your word limit, you will not be able to be quite so comprehensive as the example. Focus on the points that you feel are most important for your conclusions. Introduction: Internet censorship in Australia (paragraphs 1 and 3 of which were shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia) Internet censorship in Australia currently consists of a regulatory regime under which the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a “black-list” of overseas websites which is then provided for use in filtering software. The ACMA is the body that classifies books, movies, TV shows and such as “G”, “PG”, “MA15+”, “R”. Work that is to be banned in Australia is “Refused Classification (RC)”. When in government, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) proposed to extend internet censorship to a system of mandatory filtering of overseas websites which are, or potentially would be, “refused classification” (RC) in Australia. This means that internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to block access to such content for all users. The mandatory filter was not enacted as it was not supported by the Coalition or the Greens. Article: Internet censorship erodes civil society When he was Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Labor Senator Stephen Conroy expressed his wish that the Australian Government should promote “a civil and confident society online” and claimed that the ALP’s “Cyber Safety Plan,” with its controversial Internet censorship regime, was a necessary part of that inspiration. On SBS’ Insight program, Senator Conroy invested significant effort into attempting to clarify that he only wants to ban “almost exclusively Refused Classification” material from the Internet. Almost exclusively. So has the Classification Board provided us with guidance about whether banning content promotes the maintenance of a civil and confident society? Consider the voluntary euthanasia debate that has been raging in Australia for many years: opinions are clearly divided, with each side offering impassioned arguments based on strong principles and personal morality. Supporters of civil and confident societies would agree that it would be untoward for a Government to intervene in a political controversy of this kind to tilt it one way of the other. Better to let the voters decide for themselves. And yet that is not what happens in practice. In 2007 the Classification Board Refused Classification for “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart. The book describes practical options for the terminally ill, including travel to countries where voluntary euthanasia is legal and jurisdictions where useful drugs can be legally obtained. The Classification Board determined that the book “incites, instructs or promotes” a criminal act, namely assisting with suicide, and banned it for sale or distribution in Australia. Place yourself in the position of a politically active participant in the voluntary euthanasia debate. If you support legal assisted suicide, you will know that there is a limit to how far you can take your participation in the debate before you are charged with the criminal act of distributing a Refused Classification (RC) publication. And you’ll always know that even if you don’t distribute The Peaceful Pill, your political opponents will be agitating to retrospectively ban more of your literature. So you will chill your political expression, ensuring that you stay well away from anything that could conceivably fall victim to the Classification Board. Meanwhile, your political opponents will know that they can say anything they wish and distribute any promotional material they choose. The vocal minority has always known that censorship quells robust dissenting speech by projecting doubt and fear of prosecution onto the fringes of legality. Our classification system is so broad that it cannot help but hoover-up political expression on the margins, and it inevitably influences and shapes political debate in this country. Addressing censorship, Senator Conroy says, “the ALP does not view this debate as an argument about freedom of speech,” seemingly believing that the statement will become true if he repeats it often enough. If banning RC material leads to such antisocial free speech outcomes, where will banning “almost exclusively” RC lead? Senator Conroy has repeatedly argued that the main point of the internet filter is to protect people, especially children, from viewing content, such as child pornography, that would be damaging or offensive. But in twenty years of using the web, I have never once stumbled accidentally (nor intentionally!) across such material. And if anyone were purposefully seeking such material, the proposed internet filter is easily bypassed. The reference to child porn is surely just a distraction. After all, it was Adolph Hitler who said: The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. The truth is that the only thing that will help families feel safer with their children on the net is Parental Responsibility. The ALP has no mandate, and the filter is not supported by the Australian people. Getup.com has received over 120,000 signatures against the filter. Another petition hosted at TakingItGlobal.com shows over 35,000 signatures. Electronic Frontiers Australia has collected 14,000 signatures on its website. I support a civil and confident society. I want to live in a country where we are all confident enough to speak freely and civil enough to let others say things we disagree with without demanding that the government shut them up. If the ALP is serious about combating online child abuse then let them police existing criminal law to clean it up. Censorship is neither sensible, workable or desirable for supporting civil confidence.

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