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Faulty reasoning

Imagine yourself as a low-income or minority student being legally forbidden to attend college because the statistics suggest that in all likelihood, you’ll just be another dropout, wasting society’s resources.
Problematic reasoning, of course. Yet Prashanth Parameswaran used similar reasoning in his article “Drunk beyond reason” (Sept. 18), and on top of this, scolded supporters of the Amethyst Initiative because their reasoning was not of the same rigour as his. Additionally, he used much of his article not explaining this critical link in the chain of his argument, but rather to cite even more statistics.
Parameswaran has not addressed the fact that, by and large, the sheer majority of drinkers, whether they are below 21 or not, drink responsibly. I could also mention that through all the numbers Parameswaran cited, he never compared the figures for our demographic against the rest of the population.
Parameswaran however dedicated practically nothing to what was essentially the crux of his argument: why statistics about the sins of a collective should be the primary motivation for overriding individual liberties. The second critical link in his argument, which was asserted without elaboration, was that the right to serve in an army and the right to drink are unrelated rights, when in fact they are both related to the age of majority. The concept of the age of majority exists not because the government draws up charts and statistically analyzes what is a “safe age” to begin activity X, but because it is the age where society recognizes an individual to have the informed consent to make long-lasting decisions about his future.
John Soong
CLAS I

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