LSAT Logic: Analysis of Online Dating

LSAT Blog Logic Analysis Online DatingLSAT Blog reader Jacqueline wrote the following LSAT-style analysis of a real-world situation.

She analyzed a Wall Street Journal article titled, Marriage-Maker Claims Are Tied in Knots.

Jacqueline's analysis:

Argument Analysis and Summary

* Claims that online dating leads to marriage for many Americans is disputed.

* Ex: eHarmony (2% of Americans married last year met on eHarmony), (12 marriages a day), Plenty of Fish (100,000~ marriages a year).

* Claims derived from unrepresentative surveys (online survey, “some survey”)

* Attention from marriage researchers because it claims to be more successful than traditional methods.

* Not all online dating websites are offering marriage statistics.

* Fewer than 2% of Americans marry each year

* Pew survey did not specify in its survey how many were marriages

Argument of online dating websites

* Online dating websites accurately individually claim that their services tend to end in marriages for their members.

How can we weaken this argument?

* Fewer than 2% of Americans use the internet (ha!)

* Businessowners of online dating websites have a history of reporting false statistics to attract paying members and are likely to continue.

* Individuals in marriages that report that they first met online cannot remember which online dating service they used, if at all.

* Owners of online dating websites pay individuals who meet online to marry and divorce several times a year and be counted for each time.

* Plenty of Fish has never had more than 100,000 members in a year and a person can only marry once in a year.

* Surveys conducted by and for these online dating websites only consist of their highest paying members who have more access to personal services.

* Individuals that are engaged and met online consider themselves to be “married” and answer as such when asked, even though this may not be official or listed in government registries.

How can we strengthen this argument?

* A new survey conducted by Gallup that is within 1% of error showed that over 50% of relationship that end in marriages started online.

* For those in a relationship and end in marriage who spend a significant amount of time communicating online, especially those in long-distance relationships, consider their relationship to have started online even if it did not.

* The statistic “fewer than 2% of Americans marry each year” is significantly outdated and higher in reality.

* A significant amount of people who met online on these dating websites and married are reluctant and fail to tell surveyors that they found their partners online.

* Released marriage statistics only survey heterosexual marriages, whereas online dating websites consider their members who become “life partners” to be the same as marriage.

What information would be helpful in evaluating the argument?

* What is the total amount of marriages, as defined by surveyors (heterosexual), of which the partners meet online?

* Are these individuals members of multiple sites? If so, do they attribute their success to one or all sites?

* Do non-heterosexual life partners count as marriages?

Photo by 23905174@N00 / CC BY 2.0


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