Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (D)
The argument in this stimulus is very complex, with multiple conditional relationships and causal reasoning as well. This is a question designed to eat your time on test day. Diagramming each of the relationships in the stimulus is entirely too costly an exercise to engage in lightly. Instead focus on the conclusion, so that you can cut through the clutter and prephrase efficiently.
The conclusion is the last clause of the last sentence, which tells us that the gardens of those gardeners who have no use for homegrown honey will fail to have excellent pollination. This is a conditional relationship we can diagram as:
HH = use for home grown honey
EP = excellent pollination
- Sufficient Necessary
We were introduced to the idea of excellent pollination in the first sentence, when the author told us that “the presence of bees is necessary for excellent pollination,” a conditional relationship that can be diagrammed as:
Bees = presence of bees
- Sufficient Necessary
Since the conclusion is telling us there will not be excellent pollination (EP), the conclusion is resulting from the contrapositive of the relationship above:
- Bees EP
The next question is, why does the author think there will not be bees present? Well, the argument tells us that the gardeners will not have beehives. The author is saying that if you do not have beehives, then you do not have bees and, if you do not have bees, then you do not have excellent pollination:
- beehives Bees EP
But we have seen the terms “beehives” and “bees” occur elsewhere in the stimulus. In the second sentence, the author told us that “establishing a beehive or two near one’s garden ensures the presence of bees.” We can diagram this relationship as:
- beehives Bees
This relationship tells us that beehives are sufficient for the presence of bees, while the conclusion results from the idea that beehives are necessary for the presence of bees. The argument, then, is proceeding from a Mistaken Negation, assuming that if there are no beehives, then there will not be any bees.
The question stem identifies this as a Method of Reasoning—Flaw question. Our prephrase is that the argument is conditional and flawed, results from a Mistaken Negation.
Answer choice (A): This choice is inconsistent with the stimulus, and therefore fails the Fact Test that is applicable in any Prove Family question. The argument expressly raises another advantage of keeping beehives, namely that doing so ensures the presence of bees, which is necessary for excellent pollination.
Answer choice (B): While this choice describes a flaw in conditional reasoning, it is incorrect because the flaw it describes did not occur in the stimulus. This choice is a trap for those who are simply looking for language pertaining to conditional reasoning without considering the context in which that language is used.
Answer choice (C): As with choice (B), this choice also describes a flaw in conditional reasoning. Again the flaw described in this choice did not occur in the stimulus, which did not contain conditional reasoning pertaining to the abundance of fruits and vegetables. Rather, the language pertaining to fruits and vegetables was causal, i.e., “results in abundant fruits and vegetables.”
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. This choice describes the Mistaken Negation described above.
Answer choice (E): This choice describes a flaw in causal reasoning, in which a causal relationship between two things is inferred from the existence of a correlation between them. However, the relationship between beehives and pollination described in the stimulus was conditional, not causal.