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#8 - Environmentalist: When bacteria degrade household

afinelli
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On this question, I chose E but A is correct. I find it really helpful to know exactly what makes an answer choice wrong and what makes it right - so I was wondering if there is an explanation for A v. E on this question. Is it the use of "any landfill" in E?
Thanks for the help!
Steve Stein
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To bring out the toxic vapors in household cleaners, bacteria are needed. If the conclusion is that public parks made out of landfills are hurting people, then the author must believe that at least some of these public parks have the needed bacteria. This is what correct answer choice A provides.
The problem with answer choice E, as you mentioned, is that it refers to any landfill, while the author's conclusion is limited specifically to the landfills that have been converted into public parks.
Steve Stein
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afinelli
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Thanks for the explanation!
emigini
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Hello,

I am having trouble understanding why A is a better answer than B. B seems like a more thorough answer in that it addresses human health.

Thank you!
Steve Stein
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Hi,

That's a good question, and the answer comes down to what type of question stem we're dealing with. Since this is an assumption question, the correct answer choice will provide an assumption that the author's argument absolutely requires.

The assumption presented in answer choice (B) is that toxic vapors are the only kind of detriment that could come be brought about as a result of the landfill conversion. This is not an assumption that is required by the argument, as can be proven with the application of Assumption Negation: When we take this choice away, thus allowing for the possibility of other types of potential detriments (as well) that doesn't hurt the author's argument.

Since answer choice (B) does not present an assumption on which the author's argument relies. it cannot be the right answer to this Assumption question.

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

~Steve
Steve Stein
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emigini
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Thanks for your help! The answer makes sense now!
srcline@noctrl.edu
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Hello Steve

So how would you negate A and B , b/c I was in between these two answers.

I negated A as :
In no landfills that have been converted into public parks there are bacteria that degrade household cleaning products.
Not sure how this weakens the argument that " thus, the common practice of converting landfills into public parks is damaging human health.

I negated B as:

Converting a landfill into a public park will cause damage to human health unless toxic vapors are produced in that landfill and humans are exposed to them. I can see how B strengthens the conclusion, but can you explain how A strengthens argument.

Thankyou
Sarah
Clay Cooper
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Hi Sarah,

My favorite way of negating an answer choice is just to add "It is not the case that..." to the beginning of the sentence. There are sometimes simpler or easier ways to negate answer choices, but they can be misleading as well; this method will never let you down.

So, for A: It is not the case that in at least some landfills that have been converted into public parks there are bacteria that degrade household cleaning products.

Now, that is a bit unwieldy, so we can simplify the sentence a bit: There are no landfills that have been converted to public parks that contain bacteria that degrade household cleaning products. If that were true, it is a definite attack on the conclusion that converting landfills to parks damages human health.

We can use the same approach to negate B: It is not the case that converting a landfill to a public park will cause no damage to human health unless toxic vapors are produced in that landfill and humans are exposed to them. In other words, it's not true t hat these vapors are the only way human health can be damaged by landfill-parks. That is definitely not an attack on the argument - if anything, it strengthens it - and thus A is the better answer choice.
lilmissunshine
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Hello,

I correctly chose (A) but I wanted to clarify why (C) is incorrect. Is it because (C) doesn't mention bacteria? Many thanks!
Adam Tyson
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Correct, lilmisssunshine! Without knowing about the bacteria issue, we can't know that putting cleaning supplies into landfills is dangerous! The author doesn't have to assume that all vapors from cleaning products are dangerous, but only that some of them are (the toxic ones). It's the bacteria that guarantee the toxic vapors, and so that's what's missing. Good work!
Adam M. Tyson
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