Logical Reasoning Assignment

Logical Reasoning Assignment: Fracking

Discussion of the Common Conceptions and Misconceptions about the Topic

Topic, Conceptions, and Misconceptions

The topic under discussion in this assignment is fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a drilling technology that is generally used for the extraction of natural gas, oil, geothermal energy, and water from underground. The process involves injection of the fracking fluid (composed of water, sand, and certain chemicals) into a given wellbore at high pressure in order to fracture or crack tight deep-rock formations (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). Fracking is a significant issue due to the controversy associated with it. Within the environmental and political contexts, it is one of the hotly debated topics.

As such, there are several conceptions and misconceptions about fracking. One of the conceptions is that unless it is properly regulated, fracking could exacerbate the problem of global warming that the world is currently grappling with. There is evidence linking fracking to climate disruption (Angiola, 2016; Davenport, 2013). A second conception is that fracking could boost economic growth if it is well regulated. A popular misconception about fracking is that there is nothing positive that can be yielded from it. Fracking critics cite factors such as contamination of water sources, air pollution, and a higher incidence of earthquakes (Raimi, 2018; Shukman, 2018). To some extent, this is true, but it should not be forgotten that fracking generates clean energy and could help to boost the economy if it is properly regulated (Newton, 2015).

Own Opinion as a Consultant

As far as I am concerned, fracking is a proven technology that has been in use for many years. In the United States, its usage dates back to the 1940s. Since then, the country has produced more than 1.7 million wells containing oil and natural gas (IPAA, 2021). Other nations that have embraced the process include France, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Algeria, and Tunisia. In all these countries, fracking has been a success story. The process is generally safe since no major disasters have been linked to it. Faking has helped to create millions of jobs, and it has led to low energy prices. It is also important to note that this process has played a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Newton, 2015; IPAA, 2021).

Identification and Description of the Components of the Argument

Main Point/Conclusion

From the arguments of various interest groups engaged by Mr. Wright, it can be concluded that fracking is a safe technology associated with huge benefits. It is a clean and cost-effective method that is used to unlock massive supplies of natural gas and oil (Loris, 2012; Gallegos, 2018). Thus, the process is helpful in increasing the energy security of a country. Although it is claimed that fracking contributes to global warming through emission of methane, the amount of this gas released to the atmosphere is insignificant. It will take several years for it to have a serious impact on climate change. Therefore, it is important for countries to welcome this technology.

Main Arguments and Sub-Arguments

According to the scientific community, fracking is not a major contributor to global warming as alleged by various environmental groups (Davenport, 2013). The process is also not responsible for environmental destruction (McAleer, 2013). The claims of the community are based on the assumption that it is the media and anti-fracking activists who spread false information about this process. On their part, geologists and other earth scientists believe that fracking has increased the production of both oil and natural gas. For instance, between the year 2000 and 2015, the rate of crude oil production in the U.S. increased from 2 to 50%. That of natural gas increased from 7 to 67% (Gallegos, 2018). Supporting the assertions of the scientists, economists hold that fracking is a safe process that is important for economic growth (Loris, 2012). It is useful not only for energy production, but also for job creation.

Despite the important claims made about the importance of the process of fracking, some parties tend to oppose it. For instance, most environmentalists point out that the process is going to have a catastrophic impact on climate change in the future (Cantarow 2013). This claim is based on the assumption that there are some cases where methane gas has escaped to the atmosphere. Although this is a good observation, what the environmentalists fail to note is that the amount of this greenhouse gas that is emitted is very low. It may not have a significant impact on the environment. The other opponents of fracking are healthcare professionals. According to them, the process is harmful to human health (Angiola, 2016). This is due to the fact that it leads to premature births, and increases chances of hospitalization for neurological and cardiac illnesses. As much as the healthcare practitioners make important observations, they have not exactly shown how fracking is linked to births and the diseases they are talking about.

Recognition and Evaluation of the Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Angiola’s (2016) argument that banning fracking remains the sole rational option is primarily deductive. In this article, Angiola firmly maintains the argument that although fracking is presented by proponents as having a range of benefits that include job creation and provision of cheap energy, this technology should be prohibited as its dangers outweigh the perceived benefits. Leaving no room for argument or debate, Angiola (2016) clearly states that fracking is a threat to the climate, the environment, and human health. The author uses premises such as ‘fracking is bad for our climate’, ‘fracking harms human health’, ‘fracking destroys our environment’, etc. to convince the reader why fracking must be banned. The author further describes fracking as a waste of time and taxpayers’ money. Combining these premises with compelling explanations that do not create room for debate, the author presents the conclusion that fracking must not be tolerated anymore.

To some extent, Angiola’s argument is valid. More precisely, most of the premises that the author offers to support his argument are true. For example, it has been established that fracking poses a threat to the climate in terms of the volume of methane that is emitted through the process. Angiola (2016, para.4) asserts that fracking releases methane, ‘a greenhouse gas [that is] 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame”. This view is widely held, with Davenport (2013) reporting that the volume of methane released during fracking has the potential of influencing global warming by 20 times more than the way carbon dioxide does. Likewise, Cantarow (2013) describes methane as a highly potent gas. Coming from a man who has served as the head of production operations at an oil and gas company, this assertion is arguably credible.

The validity of the above premise is further justified by the fact that climate change is one of the biggest issues confronting the world today. When Angiola (2016) described climate disruption as an emergency in as far as public health is concerned, this is not disputable. More importantly, the premises and their explanations are coherently structured, all leading to the undisputable conclusion that fracking causes more harm than good and should thus be banned.

Much as the premises supporting Angiola’s argument are valid, there is an aspect of logical fallacies that affect the soundness of the argument. Most of these fallacies are of an informal nature and take the form of appeal to emotion (Knachel, 2017). For example, Angiola (2016, para.8) claims that the industry has for years “tried to deny, distort and discredit claims of harm, or to buy the silence of those affected”. The author goes on to say that “it’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money and everyone’s time developing and implementing impotent regulations for an outdated and destructive fuel source” (para.14). These statements appear as fallacies meant to distract the reader and appeal to their emotions, causing them to side with the author on the push to have fracking banned.

Loris’ (2012) proposition that fracking boosts economic growth by creating employment and providing clean, cheap energy is an inductive argument. The author uses a variety of literature together with statistics to back this argument, but what makes the argument primarily inductive is that his reasoning is largely informed by probability. Presenting his case, the author hypothesizes that “energy production could be a catalyst of economic revitalization across the country” (Loris, 2012 p.2). In this remark, the words ‘could be’ are a point of interest as they create the impression that the author is merely relying on probability; there is no guarantee that the economy will be revitalized as a result of fracking.

To support his argument, Loris (2012) incorporates findings and views of a variety of scholars. Even so, his argument is rendered weak by a number of logical fallacies. The author appears to be making judgment calls and using certain logical fallacies to persuade readers to buy his idea. For example, before outlining the myths as well as facts about fracking, Loris (2012, p.3) states that although fracking has been in place for a long time and has contributed towards economic growth, it has received a lot of negative attention “due to misreporting and dramatic exaggeration”. He further claims that concerns about fracking “do not take into account the federal and state laws and regulations that address these very issues” (Loris, 2012 p.3). Through these assertions, the author employs the fallacies of appeal to emotion, and straw man (Knachel, 2017) – in which he terms criticisms of fracking as nothing but dramatic exaggerations and false reports.  To the uninformed reader, these fallacies are enough to convince him/her that there is nothing wrong about fracking.

Loris has done a fairly good job of separating myths from facts where fracking is concerned. Nonetheless, he employs certain fallacies in his description and explanation of these facts and myths. A clear example is the fallacy of weak induction, evident in myth number 3. Refuting the claim that wastewater generated from fracking is dangerous, Loris (2012, p.4) argues that the water that flows back from fracking “is never used for drinking” and that some companies store this water in contained pits. The reason why wastewater is safe, according to this argument, is that fracking is heavily regulated by the government. In other words, Loris’ premise is weak because it insinuates that all companies engaged in fracking strictly adhere to government rules, hence there is no possibility of wastewater finding its way into the ecosystem. Without doubt, this cannot be true. This reasoning may be considered an example of cherry picking; Loris selects only the points that fit his claim and does not give an accurate picture of what really happens at the ground.

Loris’ (2012) is a good example of causal argument. He tries to explain the connection between fracking and economic growth, employment creation, and a boost in energy production/supply.

In conclusion, Loris’ causal inductive argument contains a number of fallacies, but it is still a strong argument. It is true that Loris’ argument contains an identifiable aspect of probability and that his inclusion of myths and facts creates room for debate about what is true and what is not. However, the author has done a commendable job in the way he presents his arguments to support the facts and discredit the myths. In fact, the facts and their explanations strengthen Loris’ argument, making its conclusion highly likely. For this reason, it is concluded that the causal inductive argument presented by Loris is strong.


Angiola, G. M. (2016). Banning fracking is the only rational option. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-fracking-md-20160628-story.html

Cantarow, E. (2013). Interview: Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate  Change. Truthout. Retrieved from https://truthout.org/articles/former-mobil-vp-warns-of-fracking-and-climate-change/

Davenport, C. (2013). New Study Says Fracking Doesn’t Contribute to Global Warming.  National Journal. Retrieved from https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/70464/new-study-says-fracking-doesnt-contribute-global-warming

Gallegos, T. J. (2018). Hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The Science Authority. Retrieved  from https://www.accessscience.com/content/hydraulic-fracturing-fracking/326700

Independent Petroleum Association of America. (IPAA). (2021). Hydraulic Fracturing.  Retrieved from https://www.ipaa.org/fracking/

Knachel, M. (2017). Fundamental Methods of Logic. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Loris, N. (2012).Hydraulic Fracturing: Critical for Energy Production, Jobs, and  Economic Growth. The Heritage Foundation.

McAleer, P. (2013). FrackNation (Trailer). Watchdocumentaries.

Newton, D. E. (2015). Fracking: A Reference Handbook. (2015). [S.I.] : ABC-CLIO.

Raimi, D. (2018). The fracking debate: The risks, benefits, and uncertainties of the shale revolution. New York: New York Columbia University Press.

Shukman, D. (2018). What is fracking and why is it controversial? BBC News. Retrieved  from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas:  Impacts from the hydraulic fracturing water cycle on drinking water resources in the United States. Washington, DC: Office of Research and Development, U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency.

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