Safer Saws Part 1 – Brent Adkins

1. “Current table saw safety standards have proven ineffective in protecting consumers.”

2. The National Consumer League claims that the current standards for safety are ineffective in protecting the consumers and that we need to update them.

3. This is a proposal claim.

4. The claim is backed up with statistics, such as the 40,000 injuries and 1,000 amputations that occur by table saw per year.  This means that close to 3 amputations occur per day, which seems to be an extremely high number.  They also refer to how blade guards, the only current protection from injury, are ineffective if they are allowing the amount of injuries that they do.  They never attack table saws themselves, just the inefficiency of current safety standards.

5. The claim fails to address that the other 39,000 injuries per year would still occur, even with the SawStop.  They neglect the user error that causes most, if not all, injuries as well.  At that point, a license would be reasonable to operate a table saw in order to prevent further injuries.

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2 Responses to Safer Saws Part 1 – Brent Adkins

  1. davidbdale says:

    Thank you again for posting early, Brent. It really does help me clarify for those who follow anything I might have neglected to make clear in my first iteration of the assignment.

    Good start. I’m with you early and stay with you for three sentences. (I am, though, troubled by the odd sequence: . . . prevented by the required, by the CPSC, usage of SawStop technology.) I’ll let you decide how to fix that.

    Because I am a major pain, I will also note that you rely on the vague pronoun “this” three times early. “The National Consumer League points this out,” and “The NCL claims that this could be,” and “They argue this.” I’m surprised to see such a pattern of weak antecedents in writing that’s otherwise so strong.

    My first non-gripey objection is to the sentence “They argue this by relating it to the auto industry’s initial resistance to airbags, a resemblance claim.” While it’s entirely reasonable to claim a resemblance between automakers’ resistance to airbags and sawmakers’ resistance to SawStop, we can certainly note that similarity without concluding that the sawmakers are misguided in the same way the automakers were misguided, can’t we?

    I’ll bet the automakers have been pitched—and rightly resisted—all sorts of insane safety devices. So, probably, have sawmakers. So the sawmakers’ resistance to SawStop might just as easily resemble the automakers’ resistance to a stupid idea as to a revolutionary and commendable idea.

    The fault in the argument here is probably the NCL’s, not yours. But you don’t make clear that you recognize the flaw in their logic. You should. If you do. If you didn’t, I hope you now do.

    When you move on to enumerate the three main counterarguments, I get lost. The NCL’s argument (that SawStop should be required?) “addresses” (meaning “refutes”?) the three main counterarguments (against mandatory SawStop technology?). Of the three, “cost to manufacturers” is probably a negative, “benefit over current safety precautions” is probably a positive, and “the current availability of SawStop” is . . . what? In other words, I can’t tell whether these are the arguments the sawmakers make to resist SawStop or the counterarguments the NCL makes to refute the sawmakers’ objections to providing SawStop. Whew.

    Now, the author (singular) relates their (plural) argument to the (anti?)-airbag argument made by automakers? Relates it to the past argument is so vague, Brent. Maybe you mean:

    The author equates the misguided objections of sawmakers to similarly narrow-minded objections of automakers to airbags, and claims quite convincingly that the emotional, physical, and monetary savings far outweigh the cost to manufacturers and consumers of adding the safety device.

    1) When you address blade guard ineffectiveness, are you introducing a new claim? 2) When you address availability, are you addressing a new claim? I’m numbering my questions because you mentioned 3 main counterarguments earlier, and I see some resemblances here, so I thought you might be redeeming that pledge.

    I’m going to suggest that if you want to improve the effectiveness of this brief assignment, you streamline it to address a single claim, and then organize your post numerically to match the 5 requirements of the assignment. That approach is far less ambitious than your offering here, Brent, but will be more successful if it accomplishes the narrower task of identifying and analyzing a single claim.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Looking at this post again (and at my insanely detailed commentary on it), I now feel compelled to remark further that the claim you’ve selected is, in fact, not a proposal claim. You can probably see that for yourself now. It would be a proposal if it suggested that something new had to replace the ineffective current standards, but it doesn’t. If there were a Comp III, we could start there. 🙂

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