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#26 - Sasha: Handwriting analysis should be banned in court

reop6780
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The correct answer is D while I chose C.

I just have no idea where D came from :-?

How does it provide strongest counter to Gregory's response?

Answer D does not attack the licensing board Gregory talked about, and I simply cannot tell how answer D make valid counter argument.
KelseyWoods
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Hi reop6780!

Answer choice (D) weakens Gregory's argument by stating that all handwriting analysts who claim that handwriting provides reliable evidence of a person's character are irresponsible. Therefore, if you have a board made up of analysts who claim handwriting provides reliable evidence about a person's character, that board would be made up entirely of irresponsible handwriting analysts and would therefore not be a legitimate courtroom tool for character assessment.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey
nrramesh
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Kelsey,

I just don't get why the "irresponsibility" of the handwriting analysts is a point of issue in the argument. If you could help explain why answer choice C is worse than answer choice D I would appreciate it.

Thanks!
Luke Haqq
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Hi nrramesh!

First, one thing that might help is to categorize this as a weaken question rather than a point-at-issue. To be sure, it uses a dialogue between two people on a specific topic--which is usually a form used in point-at-issue questions. But note here that the question asks for which answer "if true, would provide Sasha with the strongest counter to Gregory’s response?"

It wasn't clear to me how (C) would counter Gregory's response that "handwriting analysis by licensed practitioners will be a legitimate courtroom tool for character assessment" once professional standards have been set. Answer (C) raises the possibility that a licensing board might keep responsible analysts out. Even if it were true that some responsible analysts were not granted licenses, it might be the case that a licensing board would result in many responsible analysts getting licensed (strengthening Gregory's claim), or it might result in lots of irresponsible handwriting analysts getting licensed when they shouldn't (weakening Gregory's claim). In short, (C) doesn't clearly serve as something that Sasha could use to weaken Gregory's argument.

However, (D) would weaken that argument. If "The only handwriting analysts who claim that handwriting provides reliable evidence of a person’s character are irresponsible," then there would be no such people after being sifted through the licensing board. That is, Gregory claims the board would weed out those who are irresponsible--and (D) is saying this would sift out all the people who think handwriting analysis provides reliable evidence of a person's character. In other words, in that way it is weakening/countering Gregory's argument that these methods "will be a legitimate courtroom tool for character assessment."

Hope that helps!
oli_oops
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KelseyWoods wrote:Hi reop6780!

Answer choice (D) weakens Gregory's argument by stating that all handwriting analysts who claim that handwriting provides reliable evidence of a person's character are irresponsible. Therefore, if you have a board made up of analysts who claim handwriting provides reliable evidence about a person's character, that board would be made up entirely of irresponsible handwriting analysts and would therefore not be a legitimate courtroom tool for character assessment.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey



Hi,

I initially chose (A), but now I see that (A) is a "so what?" answer?
Would that be correct?

Thank you!!
Robert Carroll
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oli,

That is correct. It has nothing to do with the argument.

Robert Carroll
Fuyuno
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Hi,

I still don’t feel clear about the choice D. At first glance, I crossed this one out immediately because I thought it was attacking the proponents of the claim instead of the contents of the claim itself. And thought C would be a good counter to Gregory’s because I thought C was saying a licensing board, which Gregory claims it would solve the problem of exaggerating the realiability, would still cause the reliability problem.

Notwitstanding, I can see somehow why C is possibly wrong. But I really do need an explanation for my reasoning for the choice D.


Fuyuno
Dave Killoran
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Fuyuno wrote:Hi,

I still don’t feel clear about the choice D. At first glance, I crossed this one out immediately because I thought it was attacking the proponents of the claim instead of the contents of the claim itself. And thought C would be a good counter to Gregory’s because I thought C was saying a licensing board, which Gregory claims it would solve the problem of exaggerating the realiability, would still cause the reliability problem.

Notwitstanding, I can see somehow why C is possibly wrong. But I really do need an explanation for my reasoning for the choice D.


Fuyuno


Hi Fuyono,

Thanks for the question! Kelsey's explanation above is spot on here, so anything I add will be derivative of that. I'd recommend re-reading what she said because it concisely sums up why the test makers have (D) as the credited answer.

Looking at the problem again, the first thing is to remember that the question stem asks for the best counter Sasha can make to Gregory. We know Sasha is against the use of handwriting analysis in court because analysts exaggerate their reliability. Gregory countered that this was true but the problem could be fixed by using a professional licensing board. So, to Gregory, the use of this board is critical to establishing the legitimacy of handwriting analysis usage in court.

In considering how to weaken that idea, the most obvious and natural spot would be to attack the board in some way. It's difficult to know exactly how to prephrase that because there are multiple avenues, but given that Gregory's entire argument rests on a licensing board, it's not difficult to seek an answer that goes after the the licensing process.


Answer choice (A): This answer focuses on the courts and does not attack anything Gregory said.

Answer choice (B): This answer initially suggests that handwriting analysis is difficult, but then goes on to say "highly trained professionals" can identify them as being written by the same person. So, in way it supports the ability of handwriting analysts instead of attacking them.

Answer choice (C): This answer starts out well, as it focuses on the licensing board. However, the remainder of the answer doesn't undermine Gregory's assertion about reliability, nor is it a problem in general. The fact that some candidates would not be deemed fit for reasons other than reliability doesn't undermine the fact that the candidates who are passed would be thought to be reliable.

Side note, licensing boards fail candidates all the time for reasons unrelated to performance. For example, the ABA withholds credentials from lawyers for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their legal knowledge (which is roughly akin to "reliability" in this question), such as ethical issues, criminal backgrounds, behavioral problems, etc. This answer has somewhat inoculated itself against this line of thinking by calling the candidates "responsible," but it's a point worth mentioning. if the "failure to pass" issue seems problematic.

Answer choice (D): The clever move made by the test makers in this answer is to not mention the handwriting licensing board. That immediately makes the answer less attractive. But, the statement within this answer would apply to any licensing board, and so it acts as an "umbrella" idea that includes it. This is not an uncommon trick of the test makers in tougher questions, and worth pondering as you consider this question.

This answer tells us that any analysts (such as the ones on a board) who say handwriting is reliable are immediately irresponsible. Because we accept this answer as factually the case per the question stem, it means that anyone on a board that passes any candidate is suspect, and thus the board itself is suspect. That undermines Gregory's statements, and thus this answer is correct.

You mentioned this answer being a source attack. Is it automatically a source argument to say someone is irresponsible? No, a source argument comes into play when you attack the source of the argument instead of the argument itself. In this case, the idea of reliability is central to the argument, so talking about reliability and responsibility isn't a source argument. It also helps to know that the statements about responsibility are factually true (as given by the question stem) so there's no question at all of their validity.

Answer choice (E): This answer simply suggests that finding people who could pass the board's review is very small, but that is not an issue. just because only a small portion could pass doesn't mean that the board isn't working, it just means it has high or tough standards.
Dave Killoran
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