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#23- Deep tillage is even more deleterious to the world's to

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How is C the correct? If tilling by any method other than deep tillage is a viable option, then how does that weaken the argument? Is it because the author states in the conclusion that farmers who till deeply should "incorporate" no-till rather than completely abandon deep tilling? But if that were true, how can one simultaneously use deep till and no-till methods? I was under the impression that you either deep till or you don't deep till.
Claire Horan
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The last sentence uses the word "instead" to make it clear that the argument poses deep till and no till as alternatives. But in arguing against deep tillage, one doesn't automatically come to the conclusion that, therefore, farmers should switch to no till. There may be other tilling methods that would protect the topsoil. So, the assumption that the argument depends on is that there are only the two options.

This is a very common type of question. Two alternatives are presented, one is discredited, and the speaker reaches the conclusion that the other alternative should be pursued. The assumption made is that there were no other alternatives (except, of course, if the stimulus actually says explicitly that there are only two alternatives).
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Why shouldn't we think that no-till methods are themselves methods of tilling? What does the word "methods" refer to, if not to tilling? If indeed it refers to tilling, then how can it be the case that the argument depends on assuming that "tilling by any other method other than deep tillage is not viable"? We know that the argument claims that it *is* viable, and even to be preferred.

(C) seems to imply that there's on one hand deep tillage, and on the other hand this entirely different thing called no-till, and then the presumed assumption is that there are no other methods of tilling that fall short of deep tillage but are not no-till. But no-till is itself a method of tilling!
Jennifer Janowsky
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In this question, they present deep-tilling as a method of topsoil aeration involving tilling, and no-tilling as a method of topsoil aeration that does not involve tilling. Therefore, "methods" in this case is methods of topsoil aeration, not tilling. If deep-tilling is discouraged, therefore, this does not limit one to not tilling (no-tilling). Presumably, this would leave room for other tilling methods that are not deep.

Hope that answers your question.
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My confusion regarding this question concerns the relationship between false dichotomies and "should" conclusions. I understand how C would be a correct answer if this were a Justify the Conclusion question or if the conclusion instead stated "Farms who now till deeply MUST strive to incorporate no-tills methods instead." However, given that it's a prescriptive conclusion, how does the existence of other viable tilling methods invalidate it/why is the lack thereof a required assumption? Just because other potential tilling-related solutions exist doesn't mean that recommending the no-tills method is somehow now wrong.
James Finch
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Hi JF,

The issue here is the logical jump made by the stimulus between the premises that concern only a type of tilling, deep tilling, and conclusion that deals with all tilling. Essentially the stimulus is saying that because deep tilling is bad, all tilling is bad. So as a Supporter Assumption question, we can prephrase that the correct answer choice must link the problems of deep tilling with all types of tilling.

Answer choice (C) does this by making deep tilling the only viable form of tilling. We can test this by using the Assumption Negation technique:

Other tilling methods are viable :arrow: Farmers who deep till need not switch to "no-till" methods

because they could replace their deep tilling with other viable forms of tilling.

Hope this clears things up!
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Thank you for your response, James. However, my question isn't quite what you addressed in your answer. I recognize that C, the correct answer, would make sense for an argument with a MUST conclusion ("Results like these make it clear farmers MUST strive to incorporate no-till methods") but not how it makes sense for this argument, which has a SHOULD conclusion ("Results like these make it clear farmers SHOULD strive to incorporate no-till methods"). How exactly does the failure to invoke other possible solutions invalidate a prescriptive/should conclusion? As an another example of what I mean, consider two related but different arguments about cancer treatments:

1. Because chemotherapy has been ineffective, the patient MUST undergo immunotherapy.

2. Because chemotherapy has been ineffective, the patient SHOULD undergo immunotherapy.

I'm clear on why number 1 is a flawed argument/why it requires an assumption similar to the one in #23 (it's the reason you yourself provided), but why is number 2 flawed? Should these two arguments be considered identical in meaning on the LSAT?
Brook Miscoski
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I understand the question you are asking, but believe that James' response is correct. The argument considered only deep tilling, but made a conclusion about tilling in general. Therefore, (C) is a strong answer, and you need to avoid quibbling about the "should" versus a "must" unless there is another strong contender.

(A) Who cares what they want?
(B) It's about whether to do it at all, not about how much to do it.
(D) The argument is about preventing erosion, not about money.
(E) The argument is about preventing erosion, not about whether another option gets better aeration results.

Because there are no contenders other than (C), we don't get to worry about the difference between a "should" and a "must," and you should select (C) and move on. This is the response and attitude that will help you score better, because you simply don't have time to engage in in-depth semantic evaluations.

Answering your question more directly, the difference between "should" and "must" doesn't affect (C). The goal of the argument is to minimize erosion; "should" is understood as the recommendation that minimizes erosion. But, the argument didn't consider whether there could be a tilling option that is even better at preventing erosion than any no-till option. Thus, the argument must assume that there are no better--no viable--tilling options, or the "should" is unmerited.