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#3 - Early in this century Alfred Wegener developed the

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True-CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

The stimulus makes no argument and simply states and implies that the theory of continental drift was rejected when it was neither observed nor fully explained, but is now accepted because it is observed even though we cannot fully explain it.

The question asks what the passage illustrates, so you should focus on the principle that something must be at least either observable or fully explained before it becomes an accepted theory.

Answer choice (A): The passage concerned accepting or rejecting theories, not unifying nature into one harmonious theory, so this choice is wrong.

Answer choice (B): Since the passage consists of a case in which the underlying force is not identified, it makes no sense to choose a response that states science is now better at identifying underlying forces, so this choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): Since in the passage, measuring instruments actually made a theory more acceptable rather than harder to explain, you should not select a choice that asserts that measuring improvements make theories harder to work out. This choice is wrong.

Answer choice (D): The passage concerned whether to accept or reject a theory, not a discussion of specifics and generalizations, so this choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. The stimulus implies that a theory is accepted if it the things it proposes are borne out by reality, even if the theory is incomplete.
ovibalaj
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This is how I approach the practice questions. I try to follow the primary Objectives and identify each part as it is taught in the bible. My goal is to be able to instantly recognize the essentials after doing 100 of these or so...

Stimulus:

"Early in this century Alfred Wegener...."

Question Stem:

"The passage best illustrates which one of the following statements about science?"


Analysis [Primary Objectives]:

P.O 1. Determine whether the stimulus contains an argument or if it is only a set of factual statements.

"Early in this century Alfred Wegener..."

because – premise indicator
but – counter premise indicator

I have underlined all the indicators that I could find. I did not see a conclusion indicator. I am aware that one doesn't have to be presented for a conclusion to be present and as such I am confused whether this argument has a conclusion or not. If it does this is what I think it is:

Main Conclusion - [We have come to accept Wegener's theory... because new instruments have finally allowed continental movement to be confirmed by observation.]

Please let me know if I am right, and if not, then how should I approach this question to make it easier to understand and complete.
Jon Denning
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Hey ovibalaj,

Thanks for the question and welcome to the Forum! I think you're absolutely on the right track with this, and I'm pleased to see you being diligent in the application of the objectives. A lot of people, especially early on, fail to realize that improvement is about establishing a consistent routine and sticking to it, and so they never focus on repetition and deliberate attack; typically what happens instead is people rely on instinct or basic academic-type skills, which can only take you so far on a test like this.

So certainly keep it up, and I think what you'll find is that with time and practice this methodology becomes much more fluid and natural, to the point that you'll attack questions with these steps as an almost intuitive process that doesn't require you to deliberately think through each objective individually.

For this question, I don't really feel that there's a conclusion present, in that the author makes a few factual statements but never expresses an opinion. You're right to note that conclusion indicator words don't have to be used for an argument to still be made, but here there really isn't one. Note too that that's pretty typical for must be true questions: nearly all will have a factual stimulus (just premises) and you'll use that information to draw an appropriate conclusion as the correct answer choice.

I hope that helps!
Jon Denning
PowerScore Test Preparation

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My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/jon-denning
ovibalaj
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Thank you so much. More questions to come soon and I will also submit my new answer in a new post for review.
ovibalaj
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"Logical Reasoning - Question Type Training" Chapter 2: Must Be True; Question 1; page 20.

Stimulus:

"Early in this century Alfred Wegener developed the concept of continental drift..."

Question Stem:

"The passage best illustrates which one of the following statements about science?"


Analysis [Primary Objectives]:

* P.O 1. Determine whether the stimulus contains an argument or if it is only a set of factual statements.

"Early in this century Alfred Wegener developed the concept of continental drift..."

because – premise indicator
but – counter premise indicator

This stimulus is a FACT SET.

* P.O 2. If it is an argument, identify the conclusion of the argument. If it is a fact set, examine each fact.

This stimulus is a Fact Set:

Fact 1: Early in this century Alfred Wegener developed the concept of continental drift.
Fact 2: His ideas were rejected vehemently because he postulated no identifiable force strong enough to make the continents move.
Fact 3: We have come to accept Wegener's theory, not because we have pinpointed such force, but because new instruments have finally allowed continental movement to be confirmed by observation."

* P.O 3. If the stimulus contain an argument, determine if the argument is strong or weak.

N/A


* P.O 4. Read closely and know precisely what the author said. Do Not Generalize.

What should I do here?

* P.O 5. Carefully read and identify the question stem. Do not assume that certain words are automatically associated with certain types.

"The passage best illustrates which one of the following statements about science?"

→ This is a Most Supported question types in the Prove family [1]. Is this correct?


* P.O 6. After reading the question stem, take a moment to mentally formulate your answer to the question stem. [PREPHRASE]

What should I do here?


* P.O 7. Always read each five of the answer choices.

Ok.

* P.O 8. Separate the answer choices into Contenders and Losers. After you complete the process, review the contenders and decide which answer is the correct one.

Stimulus:

"Early in this century Alfred Wegener developed the concept of continental drift..."

Question Stem:

"The passage best illustrates which one of the following statements about science?"


** Please let me know if the reasons below are correct.

Answer Choices:

A. The aim of science is to define the manifold of nature within the terms of a single harmonious theory.

LOSER
→ This is making too big of a leap in its "CONSEQUENCES OF THE STATEMENTS". The language used is too strong for what the author has said.

B. In accepting a mathematical description of nature, science has become far more accurate at identifying underlying forces.

LOSER
→ this violates Rule 2 of the Prove Family which states that "any information in an answer choice that is not related in any way to the stimulus will be incorrect." Nowhere in the stimulus did the author mention a mathematical description of nature, and as such this answer is wrong. This answer also fails the Fact Test.

C. The paradox of science is that every improvement in its measuring instruments seems to make adequate theories harder to work out.

LOSER
→ The statements of the author seem to show just the opposite in that improvements in measuring instruments actually help us understand some aspects of particular theories better.

D. Science, employing statistics and the laws of probability, is concerned not with the single event but with mass behavior.

LOSER
→ Same reasoning as in answer B.

E. When the events a theory postulates are detected, the theory is accepted even without an explanation of how those events are brought about.

Contender
→ This is the only contender and the actual correct answer. The theory of Wegener did not explain how those event are brought about, and not even after we detected that the events occurred, did we know the forces behind. As such, due to the "Consequences of the statements in the stimulus" we can conclude that the theory is accepted even without an explanation of how those events are brought about.

* P.O 9. If all five answer choices appear to be Losers, return to the stimulus and re-evaluate the argument.

N/A

Thank you for doing this. It really helps me better understand this material. I really appreciate what the powerscore staff does for its customers.
Nikki Siclunov
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Hi ovibalaj,

Thanks for your question. For future reference, please abstain from posting copyrighted material on the Forum. Simply indicate the question and page number you're asking about, and reference each answer choice by its letter (A), (B), etc.

Your analysis here is correct. This is a Must Be True question, requiring you to identify a provable claim. This is indeed a fact set. Re: P.O. 4 - this is simply a reminder to stay true to the facts and not generalize too much from what you've read. Note, however, the scope of the question stem: it asks you to identify what the passage illustrates about science (in general). Thus, we can expect the answer choice to have a broader scope than the fact set allows. While you cannot introduce new information into the passage, the facts will be illustrative of a more general proposition; hence, the reasoning will be inductive, rather than deductive.

What about the prephrase (P.O. 6)? Put the facts together and ask yourself, "What can I conclude about science from what I just read?" My prephrase is - well, scientific theories are sometimes accepted even if we can't fully explain them, as long as we can verify their existence empirically (by observation). Your prephrase is basically a conclusionary idea you can arrive at, given the facts and the question presented. Although my prephrase is not a verbatim restatement of answer choice (E), it's close enough. It gives me a filter through which to analyze the answer choices.

Your reasoning as to why answer choices (A) through (D) are incorrect is right on point.

Hope this helps! Let me know.

Thanks.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
Mi Kal
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Hi,

I know it has been stated that there is no Conclusion in this Stimulus. But, couldn't the second sentence contain a Conclusion? "because...continents move." is a Premise with the Premise Indicator "because" thus couldn't "His ideas were rejected vehemently" be the conclusion?

Thanks.

Michael
Adam Tyson
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It would be, Michael, if it was apparent that the author was trying to prove that Wegener's ideas were vehemently rejected. It just doesn't look like that here. He treats that entire claim as a statement of fact that we are to accept without proof, rather than something he is trying to prove. He's not making an argument, but just giving us a lesson in the history of the theory of continental drift. Put in those terms - a historical fact rather than a present argument - shows that there is no conclusion but only a series of statements, and leads us into a classic Must Be True situation.

Consider the intent of the author if you aren't sure whether you are looking at an argument or just a series of statements. Does he want to prove something, or just relate the facts of the case?

I hope that helps!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
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Mi Kal
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Hi Adam,

Thanks for your insight. I guess I'm just going to have to figure out a way to implement it. I find it difficult to consider the intent of the author. How can anyone for certain know another's intent? Especially, when reading a bunch of sentences that are littered with traps. :-?

Thanks.

Michael
nicholaspavic
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Hi Mi Kal,

Language on the LSAT can be tricky. But try viewing it as a fun challenge! 8-)

Factual stimuli push test takers' reading comprehension levels because the author does not come right out and tell you their intent. This is a perfect area for the testmaker to focus. After all, distinguishing arguments from factual assertions is one of the main skills that law schools are looking for.

You are obviously doing a great job of recognizing conclusion indicators in the stimuli, but language on the LSAT (and in life as a lawyer) is fluid. Your inductive reasoning will be key here. When you're struggling to identify any arguments, ask yourself, am I reading the author's opinion, or am I reading a straight recitation of fact? Could I independently confirm the statements made in the stimulus by looking at an encyclopedia or dictionary or another reference source to prove them? This may help you to start accurately identifying fact from argument. With practice and a little time, this skill will come.

Thanks for the great question! :-D