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#18- Those who claim that government should not

ChicaRosa
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Why is D correct instead of B?

I thought D was wrong because of the words, "unintended benefits". Are these words another way for saying unexpected consequences?

I thought B was correct because even though the results of space exploration are unaffected by most people they seem to undermine the benefits that resulted from it.

Thanks!
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Adam Tyson
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The "unintended benefits" in answer D are the "unexpected consequences" that the stimulus also tells us are "benefits" that society might have missed if not for the government investment in the space program.

The problem with answer B is that it doesn't do anything to directly justify the claim that the folks who think the government should stop the funding are wrong. So you can't underestimate the benefits - so what? Does that prove you shouldn't stop the funding? Do the benefits necessarily outweigh the costs? Why are those folks wrong about stopping the funding? Maybe if this answer said you cannot overestimate the benefits, so that the benefits are always greater than you might think, that would get us closer, but even then I think it wouldn't constitute proof that stopping the funding is a mistake.

D gives us everything we need. If in the past you have gotten unintended benefits from a project, and if the rule is that whenever that happens you should keep on funding that project, then you should not stop the funding but should keep the money flowing. That's what we were looking for.

Let us know if that makes sense to you, Chica!
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ChicaRosa
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Adam Tyson wrote:The "unintended benefits" in answer D are the "unexpected consequences" that the stimulus also tells us are "benefits" that society might have missed if not for the government investment in the space program.

The problem with answer B is that it doesn't do anything to directly justify the claim that the folks who think the government should stop the funding are wrong. So you can't underestimate the benefits - so what? Does that prove you shouldn't stop the funding? Do the benefits necessarily outweigh the costs? Why are those folks wrong about stopping the funding? Maybe if this answer said you cannot overestimate the benefits, so that the benefits are always greater than you might think, that would get us closer, but even then I think it wouldn't constitute proof that stopping the funding is a mistake.

D gives us everything we need. If in the past you have gotten unintended benefits from a project, and if the rule is that whenever that happens you should keep on funding that project, then you should not stop the funding but should keep the money flowing. That's what we were looking for.

Let us know if that makes sense to you, Chica!



Hi Adam your explanation was very helpful and insightful.

Thanks a bunch!
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life."~ Prince
Sophia123
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Hi,

Would someone be able to provide some guidance on what makes D better than A? I chose D when I took this PT but I spent a fair amount of time debating between the two answers. Ultimately the reason that I eliminated A was because of the subtle difference between "should not be prevented from allocating resources" in A compared to what I thought the author was saying "should continue to spend resources" There is an obvious difference between choosing to spend resources on something and just not having anything preventing you from spending resources on something. Was that the only difference or is there something else I am missing?

Thanks in advance!
Sophia
Adam Tyson
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The key difference between A and D is not so much about the prevention vs. support, Sophia123, but about intended vs unintended results and about existing projects vs new ones. The author isn't arguing that EVERY project whose intended consequences do not directly benefit most people should be allowed, but rather that we should allow those projects that have previously shown some indirect benefits to continue. Looked at another way, this is not an argument about any new type of project, but only about projects that already have a good track record of providing indirect benefits.

In other words, if it has already been beneficial, don't stop it. Answer A has nothing to do with having already been beneficial, and that's what makes it worse than answer D, the credited response.
Adam M. Tyson
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mizbuny
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I had troubles with this one too. What I don't understand about answer choice D is that it says the government should support projects that have IN THE PAST produced unintended benefits. But the author's premise is that if we didn't invest in the first place, we wouldn't have all these great things... so at some point, we invested in something with a consequence we didn't know we would get. The sub-conclusion is 'we would have missed out on these things if the government didn't invest without knowing the outcome'. Am I making sense? Shouldn't the principle be more like 'we should invest in projects that might produce indirect benefits', and not just in areas of science and research that have proven useful already?
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Mizbuny,

Good question and good reasoning!

The key here is to understand that the conclusion is not discussing the initial decision to devote resources to space exploration. Instead, the author is discussing why he or she thinks continuing with space exploration is a good idea. The author used the evidence of past benefits of space exploration to support the conclusion that we should keep it up with the space exploration stuff; the past benefits are a reason to continue.

Therefore, while the author might agree with the principle that we should attempt new ventures that may or may not be beneficial, we have insufficient information in this stimulus to support this contention, and this is not exactly what is going on with the space exploration here.

To prephrase this one well, you might want to break the stimulus down into two brief statements:

  • Space exploration was a good thing in the past.
  • We should continue space exploration.
Then translate this into a more general principle:

    We should keep doing things in the future that have been good in the past.

I hope this helps!