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#7 - Soil scientists studying the role of compost in

Barcelona10
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In this question, about the role of compost, the answer I chose is D, because if the amount of nutrients is the same in social scientist's plots with compost as it is in gardeners plots, then perhaps the plants grown in gardeners are different from that grown in social scientists. I know I made an assumption about there being differing types of plants in the different plots, but the assumption you have to make in answer B is a lot bigger in my opinion.

Answer B (the correct answer) says that "compost used in research projects is made from leaves and grass clipping only, whereas compost used in home gardens is made from a wide variety of ingredients." First off, even if they are, that tells us nothing about which one is more nutrient rich. For all I know, the wide variety of ingredients used in the gardeners compost might be even less rich in nutrients that grass and leaves--e.g. maybe the compost has mulch, rocks, pebbles. THis would be a wide variety of ingredients but that doesn't mean gardeners should use it unless we assume that many ingredients = more nutrient rich, which is quite the assumption. Can anyone help me understand how B is justified, and D is unjustified?

Thanks!
Jason Schultz
PowerScore Staff
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Hi Barcelona10,

I think the stem of this question may have thrown you a bit. The words "most helps to explain the discrepant findings..." reveal that this a resolve the paradox question. In a resolve the paradox question, LSAC isn't asking you to explain or decide whether gardeners should use compost. Instead, they are asking you to explain why the scientists got one result (compost fails) and home gardeners got a paradoxical result (compost works).

Accordingly, the correct answer has to bridge that gap. Answer choice D establishes that the scientists and the gardeners started with roughly the same soil. That leaves the central question unanswered: Why did the gardeners' compost work while the scientists' failed? One cannot explain a difference (the results) with a similarity (the soil).

Answer choice B, however, resolves the paradox because it establishes that they were using different mixes of compost. Since they were using different mixtures, that possibly explains why one group succeeded and another failed, which is all that the question requires.

Did that help?
Barcelona10
LSAT Leader
 
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Yes, thank you very much!