Animal Fat Linked To Pancreatic Cancer: Article Analysis

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Based off a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Women’s Fitness website claims that a decrease in the amount of red meat and dairy products consumed can reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer in an article titled “Animal Fat Linked to Pancreatic Cancer”. After the study and claim were both evaluated, this argument turns out to be inductively weak. The study conducted is a good study as it was a controlled study with one variable. However, the sample used to conduct the study does not seem to be very representative. According to Russel a good sample is one that is both large and representative [1]. “The researchers collected data on more than a half-million people -- 308,736 men and 216,737 women [2abc]”. …show more content…
In addition to this, this argument uses two heuristics: argument from correlation to cause and argument from correlation to prediction. In both of these types of heuristics, the premises must be arguments about a correlation in the population. This condition is satisfied regardless of the potential skew in data, because there is still a positive correlation between fat intake and pancreatic cancer. In the BBC Report summarizing the study, it states that “people who consumed high amounts of saturated fats had 36% higher relative rates of pancreatic cancer compared to those who consumed low amounts [3bbc]”. This statistic implies that the probability of getting pancreatic cancer is much higher when you consume higher amounts of fats in comparison to those who consume low amounts. From this, it is evident that the conclusion the Women’s Fitness website makes is a claim about the probability of an outcome. Similarly, there is also an argument from correlation to cause involved in the argument made by the Women’s Fitness website. Although there is a positive correlation between high intake of red meat fats and dairy products, correlation is not causation …show more content…
Additionally, in the Article about the study on ABC News’s website, expert Rachael Z. Stolzenberg-Solomon from the institute’s cancer epidemiology and genetics division states that "reducing fat may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer." It is important to note that Rachael says may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer rather than will reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer as though these two variables are correlated, one does not surely cause the other. Evidently, this argument uses the correlation between high intake of fats and pancreatic cancer in order to make causation between the two, making the argument inductively weak as this is clearly a heuristic. Though the argument is inductively weak, it is a good argument as it uses strong premises along with statistics to support the claim being made. The study conducted indicated that people who consumed fat from red meat and dairy products, which have the higher fat contents than other foods, did develop higher risks of getting the

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