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#21 - Farmer: Farming with artificial fertilizers, though

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Please post your questions below!
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Would D be the correct answer if it said "takes for granted the possibility that... " instead of "overlooks the possibility that..."? I got to B by process of elimination but I do not necessarily understand why it is right. Could you explain that as well? thanks!!!
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I got this question right the first time, but wrong on BR.

When I was determining whether this was a strong or weak argument, I thought it was a weak argument because it negates the
sufficient condition "the current popular practice of organic farming must not spread any further". This phrase is the negation of the sufficient condition in the second sentence.

AC D appears to me to correctly articulate the idea that negating the sufficient condition does not produce anything. I don't see how AC B is correct.
Ben DiFabbio
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Hey there!

If D) were the same except we substituted "takes for granted" in place of "overlooks," it would still not capture the flaw in the argument.

The flaw is the shift in meaning between a key phrase in the premise ["if ALL farmers were to practice organic farming"] and the conclusion ["organic farming...spread any further"]. Knowing that organic farming "spread any further" is not enough to guarantee that "all farmers" would practice organic farming.

Let's take the modified answer choice (D'): Takes for granted that something that would follow if all farmers did organic farming would still follow even if *not all farmers did organic farming.*

This answer would fail on the (*asterisked*) final clause because the argument does not take for granted that not all farmers would do organic farming. In fact, the flaw in the argument is that the farmer totally ignored the possibility that some farmers might not do organic farming even if the practice spread a bit further.

This brings us to answer choice (B). The flaw is that the farmer fallaciously assumed that organic farming spreading any further = all farmers would do organic farming. Another way of saying this is the farmer overlooked the possibility that many (i.e. at least some) "farmers will choose not to adopt it."

I hope that helps!

- Ben
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This is maybe an overly technical question, but how can organic farming "spread" without people adopting it? By definition, if it's spreading, doesn't that mean people are adopting it?
Adam Tyson
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That's true, klaq15, but that's not the issue here. The author claims that if ALL farmers went organic, we wouldn't have enough food. That's a good argument against ALL farmers adopting the practice, but does that mean that we couldn't have MORE farmers doing it and still be okay? Perhaps we could handle a 25% increase in organic farming and still produce enough food overall, so long as not every farmer adopts the practice?

Answer B is all about pointing out the possibility that we have not yet reached the tipping point where any more organic farming is too much. It could continue to spread, with MORE farmers adopting it, as long as not EVERY farmer does so.
Adam M. Tyson
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