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#18 - Contrary to Malthus’s arguments, human food-producing

Garrett K
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Hello PowerScore,

When I took this as a practice test I missed question 18. I was confused by answer C. While I understand that the correct answer is D, doesn't this claim not eventually support Malthus' original position that insufficient food will doom humanity? What should've been the "red-flag" for answer C?

Thanks,
Garrett
Robert Carroll
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Garrett,

Malthus's argument was that population would increase more rapidly than food-producing capacity. This is so because we know the actual facts in the first sentence are contrary to Malthus's predictions, so he must have predicted the opposite. The fact that this will eventually change is what makes Malthus ultimately right, not the current situation, where Malthus is (so far!) wrong. So on its own, this observation cannot support Malthus's position.

Robert Carroll
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I picked Choice C for this one and I went back to analyze it, I realized that I missed an important premise. The second time around I broke down like this:

Premise 1: Malthus is wrong re: production capacity has increased more rapidly than human population.

Premise 2: Yet -- agricultural advances lack bio-diversity.

Premise 3: lack of biodiversity will erode our current capacity in the future.
(This is what I missed b/c it was after the conclusion and it did seem important)

Conclusion: Malthus's prediction is nevertheless correct (insufficient food will doom humanity to .... famine)

Premise 3 is the reason that D is correct.

My original answer choice C is wrong because he doesn't the author does not support that current observation.

One of the things that I seem to be struggling with is timing. I'm taking the test on 9/24 and I feel like I know what I'm doing and feel confident about answering the questions, but then I miss questions like this because I missed or thought that a premise or fact was not important to the whole stimulus. I feel like if I break down every question like I did above, that I will really run out of time and will only end up answering 15 questions for the LR section. Any other suggestions? I know the obvious answer is slow down and make sure that I understand, but I don't feel like I have the time to slow down.
Adam Tyson
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Remember the goal on this test - to get more correct answers. That doesn't always mean answering more questions - it means improving your accuracy. It's better to answer 15 questions and get them all right (and then guess on the next 10 and get, say, 2 right, for a total of 17) than it is to answer 25 and only get, say, 12 right.

As you practice, don't ever rush. Rushing never helps and usually hurts. Instead, focus on accuracy, and you should see your numbers come up. As you get better, and your confidence improves as you learn how to apply the strategies and techniques you have been taught, your speed will likely improve as a natural byproduct. You take care of getting the right answers, and the clock will take care of itself.

Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
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LSAT2018
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Robert Carroll wrote:Garrett,

Malthus's argument was that population would increase more rapidly than food-producing capacity. This is so because we know the actual facts in the first sentence are contrary to Malthus's predictions, so he must have predicted the opposite. The fact that this will eventually change is what makes Malthus ultimately right, not the current situation, where Malthus is (so far!) wrong. So on its own, this observation cannot support Malthus's position.

Robert Carroll


Is there a typo in your explanation? The stimulus says 'Contrary to Malthus’s arguments, human food producing capacity has increased more rapidly than human population.' So wouldn't Malthus’s argument be that human food producing capacity has NOT increased more rapidly than human population?

Can I ask for a complete explanation on this? So the argument is saying that the prediction that insufficient food will doom humanity to war, pestilence, and famine is likely because:
1. A lack of biodiversity will eventually erode our capacity to produce food (Author)
2. This will mean that human food producing capacity has NOT increased more rapidly than human population (Malthus)

So the capacity to produce food is affected, the result being war, pestilence, and famine. So the answer (D) refers to this change?