Complete Question Explanation
Weaken. The correct answer choice is (A)
Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. This stimulus discusses one method used to determine where relics have been: relics are linked to specific areas based on the presence of pollen unique to those specific areas. To cast doubt on the reliability of this method, we should look for ways to show that such pollen may not reliably show where relics have been. Answer choice (A) does exactly that: if pollen moves from region to region, then the pollen attached to a given relic may have traveled long distances from its unique place of origin. Thus we cannot presume that such a relic came from the pollen’s original location.
Answer choice (B) is incorrect, because it fails to cast doubt on the reliability of the method. The fact that the pollen method is more complicated than others is not relevant to the question of its reliability (a complicated method might be quite reliable).
Answer choice (C) is irrelevant because the author specifically discussed only pollens that were unique to particular areas.
Answer choice (D) is incorrect for a related reason—the author specifically discussed only pollens that were known to have come from a specific area.
Answer choice (E) is incorrect for basically the same reason that answer choice (B) is incorrect: a painstaking and expensive test can still be reliable, and the question asks us to find the answer that casts doubt on the reliability of the method.
#8 - One good clue as to which geographical regions an
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I wanted to determine why the answer to this question is A. I didn't see why this was the most useful to weaken the argument in the text. The argument states that analysts determine where relics are found based on the pollen found on the relic which is from specific plants that are known to be unique to that area. However, I thought maybe C or D would quite useful. I thought C because if the same type of pollen is common to many areas then it would be hard to know exactly where it came from. I thought maybe D because if data is scare then might me hard to indentify the location. Please explain what makes A better than C/D. Thank you.
The key to eliminating both of those answers is to look back to the stimulus and see that, while data may be scarce and some pollens may be common to many different regions, our proposed method does not rely on those common pollens or pollens about which we know very little. Rather, we are focusing only on those pollens that are KNOWN (key word there) to be unique to a certain area.
Let's look at an ancient relic shall we? We examine it and on it we find 3 different types of pollen. Type 1 is from plants found all over the place - China, Brazil, up and down Route 66 and inside the Mall of America. We ignore that pollen - it's not know to be unique to any one place. Type 2 is unfamiliar - we don't know much about it, some studies suggest it may be from New Zealand but could also be from a plant found in Tanzania or maybe Greenland. Again, we ignore that pollen - our method doesn't rely on pollens about which we know so little. Finally, Type 3 is a pollen that we KNOW is from a plant that is only found in one small village in Germany. This is the type of pollen we were looking for! Now we know that the ancient relic must have passed through that village at some point! Unless the pollen from that plant was carried on the wind, or someone's clothes, or was shipped via FedEx, and got on the relic somewhere other than where the plant is found. Oops - so much for the reliability of our method.
See it now? Every word matters on these questions, and since they told us that we are only relying on the pollens that are known to be unique to a certain area, we don't worry about any other pollens.
Keep at it!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
Makes complete sense now. Thank you.
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