to the top

#25 - New evidence indicates that recent property

Administrator
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 6670
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:19 pm
Points: 3,343

Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen-#%. The correct answer choice is (A).

In this stimulus, the author discusses the effect of a certain property development project on wildlife in a national park bordering the development. Despite apparent concern that the development would harm the wildlife, it turns out that has not been the case.

The author points to survey evidence to support this view. A survey of the park’s wildlife was conducted just before the development occurred. The author compares this earlier survey to the most recent survey, conducted about a decade later. The comparison shows that the amount of wildlife in the park actually increased during that ten-year period. (This is a fact - don't question it!). Based on this evidence, the author concludes that the property development has not hurt the park’s wildlife. And, to dispel concern that the increase in wildlife may itself be a problem, the author adds that the park has the resources to support the current, increased level of wildlife without strain.

We know to be cautious of surveys used as evidence on the LSAT. There are many ways in which these surveys can be conducted improperly, and in which the data can be misinterpreted. Here, it appears that the author is taking the increase in the total number of wildlife as evidence sufficient to show that the development has not adversely affected the wildlife. But the number of wildlife is just one indicator. For example, how is the health of the animals? Are there more animals, but the animals are in poor health? How did the numbers increase? And how was the increase apportioned? For example—using animals that may not actually be in the park—are there more squirrels in the park, but the bears have died off due to disease or starvation? Finally, how was the survey conducted? Was there visual confirmation of the presence of each animal, or did the researchers depend on some formula to get the number?

A skeptical reader would want these questions and others answered before accepting the author’s conclusion. The question stem indicates this is a Strengthen question. Our prephrase is that the correct answer choice will address a question such as those posed above, in a way that supports the author’s conclusion that the property development has not harmed the park’s wildlife.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice, because it goes beyond just the total number of animals in the park to look at the change that has occurred within each species of wildlife. The survey showed that the same species remain in the park. So, none have died off, and the numbers are not the result of the influx of some new species of wildlife. Each species has remained and grown in number. This does not answer the other questions regarding how the survey was conducted and the health of the wildlife, but it does strengthen the argument by addressing one potential concern.

Answer choice (B): While it is tempting to say that this answer choice would weaken the conclusion by showing a fault in the survey process, it is better to say that we do not have sufficient information to know what impact it has on the conclusion. Because the conclusion is based on the difference between the earlier and recent surveys, we would have to know when during the year the earlier survey was taken.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice is irrelevant to the conclusion. Although the park resources ten years ago would not have been able to handle the increased populations of wildlife, the author told us that the park’s current resources can handle the increased populations without strain.

Answer choice (D): This fact hurts the conclusion, because it calls into question the validity of the comparison between the numbers found during the earlier survey and the numbers found during the recent survey. If the current methods are better at finding animals than the older methods, then we cannot tell whether the amount of wildlife has actually increased. It may be the case that the better methods simply discovered a higher percentage of the wildlife in the park, even if the total amount of wildlife has decreased.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is irrelevant to the conclusion, because we have no reason to think an inventory of plant life in the park has anything to do with the amount of wildlife in the park. The fact that the survey was more comprehensive in this way, by taking an inventory of the plant life, does not mean that the survey was more comprehensive regarding the wildlife.
Jeanel
LSAT Novice
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:23 pm
Points: 0

Quick Question: The one thing that really throws me off about this stimulus is the use of "On the contrary" at the beginning of the second sentence. When I first read through, I thought the the author was going to try to argue that the new developments DID adversely affect the park's wildlife. So, if the "On the contrary" was not referring to the author's position, what point was it referring to? I am probably just looking into this too much, but I just want to make sure that I understand this! Any explanation would be much appreciated :)
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2587
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,401

Hey Jeanel, thanks for asking. "On the contrary" here refers to the idea that "recent property development [has] adversely affected..." - in other words, it supports that first sentence, which says that the development has NOT had that effect.

The argument sets up the idea that things haven't gotten worse, but have actually gotten better. That's what the "on the contrary" phrase is telling us.

It hasn't gotten hotter this summer compared to last summer. On the contrary, it has gotten much cooler.

Mel Gibson hasn't settled down as he has aged. On the contrary, he has gotten nuttier.

The LSAT isn't getting harder for Jeanel. On the contrary, it's getting much easier.

See how that works?

Now, if the argument had started with something like "some people say that the development has not adversely affected the wildlife, but contrary to that claim, it actually has, and here's why I say that...", then the "contrary" reference would indicate a counter-argument. We just don't have that kind of structure here.

Take another look and see if that makes sense to you.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
lathlee
LSAT Destroyer
 
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:53 pm
Points: 577

For me, Powerscore's lesson of "filling out a potentional weakness" to strengthen an argument during a prephrase phase tremendously helped me out to reach a correct answer
Matt_JB
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:01 pm
Points: 7

I’m confused and have trouble eliminating answer choice C.

It states, “migration of wildlife into the park from the adjacent developing areas has increased animal populations to levels beyond those that the resources of the park could have supported a decade ago.”

The argument states, “Moreover, the parks resources can support its current wildlife populations without strain.”

In combining these two statements and accepting them as true, they necessarily prove the argument. If the park has more animals than it could have supported a decade ago and currently, the park can support all its current wildlife without strain, then the property development could not have adversely affected the parks wildlife.

Wouldn’t an answer choice that necessitates the conclusion be the strongest addition to the argument?

Some insight here would be greatly appreciated.
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2587
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,401

Those two statements taken together do allow us to make an inference, Matt_JB, that the park's resources seem to have increased over the past decade.. If they can currently support a population that they could not have previously supported, then their ability to support it has grown for sure! But does that strengthen the claim that the development has not adversely affected the park's wildlife? Depending on how you look at it, you could say that it actually weakens that claim, because some of the park's current wildlife had to abandon their old homes and relocate to the park. Maybe that's a bad thing for them? Or perhaps the animals that migrated were of a different kind than the ones that had been there before, and they have displaced or eliminated the animals that previously lived in the park? Also a bad thing for those displaced animals.

The point is that answer C really doesn't clearly support the claim that there has been no adverse effect. Maybe it's good, but maybe it's bad, depending on additional information that we just don't have. Only answer A gives us that additional bit of information - the wildlife in the park today is the same kind that was there before (so no extinctions or displacements) and there are more of every kind (so the balance has been maintained and everyone is flourishing).Answer C is only good if we also have this info from answer A, and that's why A is the better choice. The right answer to a strengthen question has to strengthen the argument by itself, with no additional assumptions or help!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
Leela
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:44 pm
Points: 58

Adam Tyson wrote:Hey Jeanel, thanks for asking. "On the contrary" here refers to the idea that "recent property development [has] adversely affected..." - in other words, it supports that first sentence, which says that the development has NOT had that effect.

The argument sets up the idea that things haven't gotten worse, but have actually gotten better. That's what the "on the contrary" phrase is telling us.

It hasn't gotten hotter this summer compared to last summer. On the contrary, it has gotten much cooler.

Mel Gibson hasn't settled down as he has aged. On the contrary, he has gotten nuttier.

The LSAT isn't getting harder for Jeanel. On the contrary, it's getting much easier.

See how that works?

Now, if the argument had started with something like "some people say that the development has not adversely affected the wildlife, but contrary to that claim, it actually has, and here's why I say that...", then the "contrary" reference would indicate a counter-argument. We just don't have that kind of structure here.

Take another look and see if that makes sense to you.


The use of "on the contrary" also confused me and I'm still confused after reading this. The way I read the first parts of stimulus was roughly as follows:

1) New evidence indicates thing had no adverse effect on park's wildlife.
2) "On the contrary"/However, a new survey compared with an old survey shows wildlife has increased (aka no adverse effect)

This logic makes no sense to me. The author makes a statement about new evidence, then says "on the contrary" to introduce a statement I would expect to be in direct contrast with the first statement, but then says something that confirms the first statement. HELP!
James Finch
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 659
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:06 pm
Points: 656

Hi Leela,

The "on the contrary" refers to the assumed claim that a property development had adversely affected wildlife at the park. This is a fairly common construction in the English language, and similar constructions can definitely be seen on the LSAT. This stimulus is arguing against that idea, so we could diagram it like:

Assumed Claim: Property Development Adversely Affected Wildlife at Park

Sentence 1: New Evidence Shows Above Claim Untrue

Sentence 2: In Fact (synonymous with "on the contrary") Wildlife Not Just Unaffected, But Improved

Hope this helps!