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Which method of reasoning about causal conditions is being used in the following cases? Using the concepts we have been discussing, describe five factors that make the evidence less than conclusive. Be as specific as you can.

a. Mary noticed that all the cookies that had been kept in the plastic bags were dry and those kept in the freezer or in a cookie jar had stayed fresh. She concluded that keeping cookies in a plastic bag makes them stale.

b. The city noticed that many of the parking meters were broken, and found that all of the broken ones had been tampered with by having bubble gum inserted into their coin slots. The city concluded that the gum was causing the problem.

c. Doctors at the county hospital noticed that many of their patients returned after a few days complaining about a skin rash. They did a quick survey of those complaining of the rash, and found that all of them had used the hand soap dispenser outside the entrance doors. The doctors concluded that something in the hand soap was causing the reaction.

d. The local radio station noticed that during the hours when they played only classical music their listenership went down, and that it went up again when they switched to bluegrass music. They decided to become an all bluegrass station in order to maximize listeners.

e. Voting just does not make a difference to what the government does. In every democracy, it is still big business interests that decide government policy. And in nondemocratic countries, it is still big business interests that decide what the government does. So voting makes no difference!

f. The drug company Pharmastock did a study of its new antiobesity drug. It found that those who took the drug regularly lost more every week than those who took a placebo (i.e., a tiny sugar pill). It kept a careful watch to make sure that nothing else was different between the two groups. Pharmastock reported to its shareholders that its new drug was a huge success.

g. Susan planted six rows of corn in her garden. She planted cone flowers alongside the first two rows, and miniature rose bushes along the next two, and then nothing at all along the last two. The plants all grew very well, but during the harvest she noticed that the ears of corn on the last two rows had all been eaten by bugs, but that the rest were fine. She decided that planting the flowers prevented bug infestations.

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