Scientist: Studies show that a sharp decrease in the bird population on a nearby island coincided with the first arrival of cruise ships to that island. So it is clear in this case that the arrival of cruise ships caused the sharp decrease in the bird population.
The reasoning in the scientist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that the argument
A. Presumes, without providing justification, that a sharp decrease in the bird population is detrimental
B. Draws a general conclusion based on a sample that is likely to be unrepresentative
C. Inappropriately generalizes from facts about a specific period of time to a universal claim
D. Infers, merely from a claim that two events are associated, that one event causes the other
E. Takes for granted that the method used for gathering the data was reliable
CORRECT ANSWER = (D)
EXPLANATION: Causal flaw. Correlation does not equal causation.
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