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An Uncritical Inference Test

The Story of Billy and Tom


Read the story below.  After you've finished, read each numbered statement.  On the line to its left, indicate whether you believe that statement is true (T), false (F) or questionable (?).  A statement is to be considered true when there are statements in the story showing it to be true, false when there are statements in the story showing it to be false, and questionable when the story contains no direct evidence showing it to be unambiguously true or false.

The Story

Billy and Tom were lifelong friends.  Everything they did was with the other in mind.  They had even considered going into the ministry together, but had decided against it at the last minute.

Both were happy with the way things had worked out for them in the army.  They had joined on the "buddy system" to insure that they could stay together, and that their friendship would continue.  Currently, they were stationed at Camp Bingo, a minor supply base in a war zone, miles away from enemy action.

Things couldn't have been more perfect for the two of them.

One day while the two were on a routine patrol just outside the camp, an enemy soldier suddenly appeared in the bushes and opened fire.  At least one of the bullets hit Billy.

Seeing Billy fall, Tom turned just in time to witness the sniper run off.  Tom raised his rifle and took aim.  He pulled the trigger, but there was no shot.  His rifle had jammed.  In an instant, he was in pursuit.

Moments later, he spotted the sniper who lay writhing in pain on the ground.  The sniper had fallen after breaking a leg when he tripped on a prominent tree root overgrown with weeds.  As Tom approached, the sniper began to yell, "I surrender!  I surrender!"

Tom glanced over his shoulder in Billy's direction, then approached the sniper.

The Statements

____    1. Billy and Tom had been friends all of their lives.

____    2. Both had doubts about their religious beliefs.

____    3. The sniper spoke English well.

____    4. Tom and Billy graduated high school together.

____    5. When the sniper opened fire, Billy and Tom were side by side.

____    6.  Tom walked with a limp.

____    7. In his anger over Billy's death, Tom wanted to kill the sniper with his bare hands.

____    8. Tom and Billy were unhappy in the Army.

____    9. Had the sniper not lost his rifle when he tripped, he would not have wanted to surrender.

____   10. Tom cleaned his rifle regularly.

____   11. Camp Bingo was not in the United States.

____   12. Camp Bingo was a dangerous place.

____   13. The sniper was working alone.

____   14. Another member of Billy and Tom's patrol stopped the sniper by shooting him as he was running off.

____   15. Tom approached the sniper as he lay writhing in pain on the ground.

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original web posting: Wednesday, October 25, 2000
last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2005