This critical thinking activity, attributed to William V. Haney, provides a wonderful illustration of how easy it is to infer conclusions that are not supported by the known facts of a case.
DIRECTIONS: Read the following story that contains only true statements. Afterwards read nine statements about the story and determine if each is…
T—meaning: On the basis of the information presented in the story the statement is DEFINITELY TRUE.
F—Meaning: On the basis of the information presented in the story the statement is DEFINITELY FALSE.
?—Meaning: The statement MAY be true (or false) but on the basis of the information presented in the story you cannot be definitely certain. (If any part of the statement is doubtful, mark the statement "?".)
THE STORY: Babe Smith has been killed. Police have rounded up six suspects, all of whom are known gangsters. All of them are known to have been near the scene of the killing at the approximate time that it occurred. All had substantial motives for wanting Smith killed. However, one of these suspected gangsters, Slinky Sam, has positively been cleared of guilt.
STATEMENTS about the story (Mark each one with T, F, or ?):
from Models for Writers by Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz (St. Martin’s).
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