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#12 - The higher the average fat intake among the residents

sarae
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from my understanding, this stimulus shows a correlation between the average fat intake and the incidence of cancer (more fat intake, more cancer).

is answer choice D correct because it shows that the correlation doesn't necessarily exist based on the fact that high fat cannot cause high levels of pollution?

also, why is C incorrect?

thanks!
Steve Stein
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Hi sarae,

Answer choice D introduces another factor that also exhibits a correlation: the high-fat places were also the high-pollution places, so that introduces another possible cause of the cancer: pollution.

As for answer choice C, the stimulus deals with the risk of cancer, not the likelihood of cancer's causing death.

I hope that's helpful! Please let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
PowerScore Test Preparation
sarae
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got it! thanks!
BostonLawGuy
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Thanks for the great explanations thus far. But I keep scratching my head on answer choice "C".

One way to weaken a causal argument such as this is to 1. find an alternate cause, or 2. remove the cause and show the effect occurs.

Certainly, the correct answer choice "D" provides an alternate cause. My confusion is that "C" removes the cause yet the effect remains: a classic weakening strategy. So, it appears they both weaken the argument. To decide which one MOST weakens it, I looked to the premises used, and how they supported the conclusion but still ended up with the wrong answer.

I realize that cancer causing death is stronger than what's required to weaken the argument, but how virulent the cancer happens to be is irrelevant so long as the effect: cancer (of any virulence) occurs even without the cause: fat intake. I wrongly concluded that due to this we have a weakened argument in answer choice "C".

I just want to understand the tricks the LSAT uses with cause and effect relationships and how to avoid them in the future.
Who Ray
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Hello Boston Law Guy!

You are doing a great job evaluating arguments with the potential weakening strategies in mind. However, you have got to be careful not to overthink things or assume too much. C is wrong because cancer ≠ death, and the stimulus is talking about incidents of cancer not cancer deaths.
If we expand the world of our question really quick, hopefully I can make that more clear. Lets say Countries A-E have high fat diets and 1000 incidents of cancer a year, and Countries F-J have low fat diets and 100 incidents of cancer. However, in Countries A-E, 99.9% of cancer is completely cured, so they only have 1 cancer death a year. In Countries F-J, they have terrible medicine and only cure 1% of cancer, so they have 99 cancer deaths per year.
In this unjust, but not terribly improbably, world we can see how cancer could be a leading cause of death in a country without weakening the cause and effect relationship.

This is a long way of saying be careful of terms that shift between the ACs and the stimulus.

Cheers,
Who Ray
akanshalsat
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Hi! Could someone possibly explain/ breakdown in a little more detail as to why C is incorrect and E is incorrect? I get D is introducing an alternative reason but I can't see why E is wrong? C could be wrong bc its talking about actual death's caused by cancer whereas the stimulus talks about increasing the RISK of cancer. Please please help, thanks!