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#18 - Frieda: Lightning causes fires and damages electronic

PositiveThinker
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I don't understand the difference between answer choice A and B.


Erik clearly didn't give a reason for why the recommendation was pointless. All he did was point to something that was more of a risk. And his reasoning didn't show why every building should not have a lightening rod.


If erik had "offered some additional way of lessening the risk associated with lighting" (logical opposite of answer choice B) in his response, I think that would have been a sufficient premise for him to disagree with the recommendation. But since he *did not* do that, B was my answer choice.

A says "does not show that the benefits that would follow from Friedas recommendation would be offset by any disadvantage" but i don't see this answer choice as any more of a flaw in his reasoning than choice B.


Hopefully someone can walk me thru this because i got every question from this section right except this one.
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, PT,

Good question. Your analysis is correct! Erik does not show any reason why one should not adopt Frieda's recommendation. However, there is a significant difference between answer choices (A) and (B).

Let's recap the arguments again:

    Frieda: There is a problem. There is a possible solution. Everyone should adopt my solution.

    Erik: We shouldn't adopt your solution. There's a bigger problem that your solution doesn't address.

Now the question asks for a flaw in Erik's reasoning. Well, as you noted, the flaw in Erik's reasoning is that he fails completely even to address the substance of Frieda's recommendation. He introduces a tertiary concept (fires caused by wiring and circuits) unrelated to the initial argument about whether lightning rods would mitigate the risk of damage from lightning.

So, what's the difference between (A) and (B)?

    Answer Choice (A) describes a flaw in Erik's reasoning: He has not shown any evidence to rebut Frieda's recommendation.

    Answer Choice (B) suggests that Erik failed to add any alternative ("additional") way of lessening lightning risk.
The problem with (B) is that it is not incumbent upon Erik to offer an alternative to Frieda's recommendation. He need not come up with an alternative solution. That is outside the scope of this argument.

In contrast, Answer Choice (A) is within the scope of this argument. It describes the flaw in Erik's reasoning insofar as he offers an irrelevant rebuttal. Answer Choice (A) essentially states that Erik would have needed to offer a relevant rebuttal (a reason not to use lightning rods) for his argument to be sound.

This is the distinction between (A) and (B). (A) describes a problem integral to the reasoning in this Frieda-Erik "dialectic," while (B) presents a consideration outside the scope of this discussion.

Very good job with your analysis. I hope this helps!
PositiveThinker
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I understand now thanks a lot. I kind of feel foolish for not seeing that the first time but thats part of the problem. Thanks again!
ksandberg
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Hello,

In pre-phrasing my answer to the question stem, I would say, "Erik's response fails to establish that Frieda's recommendation should not be acted on because his response goes off topic by discussing something that does not impact Frieda's argument in any way". It is not quite clear to me why D is incorrect, although I can see how A is correct. D says that Erik "introduces an irrelevant comparison between overloaded circuits and faulty wiring". I am thinking that perhaps D is incorrect because even if the comparison was relevant, it may still not be an effective rebuttal to Frieda's recommendation. For example,

Frieda: "People should not go to the beach because there is a chance of getting attacked by a shark."

Erik: "Your recommendation is pointless. It is true that sharks occasionally attack people, but it is more likely that they will get hit by a car on their way to the beach."

Or, is the comparison I came up with irrelevant? What constitutes a relevant comparison? I think that I may be overthinking this question. Any advice is much appreciated.
Adam Tyson
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The real problem with answer D, ksandberg, is that Erik doesn't make ANY comparison between faulty wiring and overloaded circuits, relevant or not! He isn't comparing those things to each other at all, but is showing that they are a bigger problem than the lightning problem that Frieda raised. Since this is a Flaw in the Reasoning question, and that question type is in the Prove family, the answer must be based solely on the information found in the stimulus and cannot bring up any new information. Since a comparison between the wiring and the circuits is not found in the stimulus, that comparison is new info, and that answer must be tossed aside!

Now, if you read that answer as meaning that he compared circuits and wiring to lightning, I would disagree with that interpretation, but even if I thought that's what answer D meant I would say that such a comparison is entirely relevant to Erik's argument. He's saying that the former are a bigger problem than the latter, and that matters if you want to talk about setting priorities. But that's not the problem with Erik's response. It's not that he made a bad comparison, or an irrelevant one, but that he simply failed to give any reason why we should not follow Frieda's suggestion. That's what makes A a better answer here - he shows no down side to doing what Frieda suggests, ignoring her claimed benefit while claiming that her recommendation is pointless.

Beware the new information! If there is no such comparison, reject the answer that says the comparison isn't relevant!
Adam M. Tyson
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silent7706
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Hi Adam,

Quote from your previous post, "Now, if you read that answer as meaning that he compared circuits and wiring to lightning, I would disagree with that interpretation, but even if I thought that's what answer D meant I would say that such a comparison is entirely relevant to Erik's argument. He's saying that the former are a bigger problem than the latter, and that matters if you want to talk about setting priorities. But that's not the problem with Erik's response. It's not that he made a bad comparison, or an irrelevant one, but that he simply failed to give any reason why we should not follow Frieda's suggestion. That's what makes A a better answer here - he shows no down side to doing what Frieda suggests, ignoring her claimed benefit while claiming that her recommendation is pointless."

In fact, that's exactly how I interpreted (D) to compare "lightning with wiring and overloaded circuits", but I don't under understand how this comparison is relevant.

In saying that "...Lightning rods can prevent any major damage, [so] every building should have one", Frieda neither makes claim regarding other causes of building damage, nor does she dispute these other causes incur building damages far more frequently. When I was reading Erik's response, I did not think it was relevant to Frieda's claim, as a result I was quick to zone in to (D).

Looking back, agree with you that fault in (D) is that Erik did not compare overloaded circuits and faulty wiring.
Zach Foreman
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"In fact, that's exactly how I interpreted (D) to compare "lightning with wiring and overloaded circuits", but I don't under understand how this comparison is relevant. "

If you interpreted D to compare lightning with wiring/circuits, then the comparison would, I assume be that the latter are a far greater threat than the former in terms of starting fires and causing damage. I think that is relevant because, making the entirely reasonable assumption that resources are finite, one should allocate resources to the larger problem before addressing the smaller problem. If Erik had said "We should address the bigger problem before the smaller problem and lightning is the smaller problem" then his argument would be pretty good. But in order to do that, he would have to make a comparison between the threat of lightning and the threat of overloaded circuits/wiring.

Answer D is NOT doing that, but if you interpreted that it WAS doing that, you should say that that is relevant.