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#25 - Occultist: The issue of whether astrology is a science

Applesaid
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Hello!

I got in trouble with this question although I got the answer choice correctly by eliminating the rest evidently wrong answer choices. But I am not sure how to approach this question. I guess this is a division/composition reasoning flaw. But I don't know why having some features of the related subject doesn't lead that object to the subject, which is science in this stimulus.
David Boyle
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Applesaid wrote:Hello!

I got in trouble with this question although I got the answer choice correctly by eliminating the rest evidently wrong answer choices. But I am not sure how to approach this question. I guess this is a division/composition reasoning flaw. But I don't know why having some features of the related subject doesn't lead that object to the subject, which is science in this stimulus.


Hello Applesaid,

You basically said it, it may be considered a composition flaw or such. If I have in my hand some rusty spark plugs and some pieces of an old steering wheel, that doesn't necessarily add up to being a car. Similarly, some mere scientific components do not ipso facto lead up to being a full-blown science per se.

Hope this helps,
David
jonwg5121
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Hi,

I had trouble with this problem. I was stuck between (B) and (D) and both made sense to me. With (B), it seemed to be a part to whole/whole to part flaw where just because the components are scientific does not mean the whole is scientific. With (D), it seemed to just attack the stimulus's premise. Why is (D) wrong and (B) right? Thank you.
Steve Stein
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Hi Jon,

That's an interesting question. Let's take a look at how the author attempts to prove that astrology is both an art and a science:

    The scientific components: the complex math and knowledge of astronomy that is necessary to create an astrological chart (astrology requires these scientific components).
    The art component: the synthesis of factors and symbols into a coherent message.
So, what is the issue with this argument? Just because a subject requires complex math and astronomical knowledge, that doesn't necessarily make it a science. This is the criticism relayed in correct answer choice (B): The author concludes that astronomy is a science based on the fact that it involves the referenced scientific components.

Answer choice (D) describes an argument that sounds pretty closely related, but one that the author in this case doesn't really make: "since astronomical knowledge is needed to create a chart, we can conclude that such knowledge is scientific."

Tricky question, and a great example of the value of prephrasing! I hope that's helpful, and please let me know whether this is clear—thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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Sherry001
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Awesome thanks !!
srcline@noctrl.edu
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Hello

So the conclusion of the argument is that "astrology is both an art and a science" b/c of the scientific and artistic factors mentioned in the stimulus.

So the issue with D is that we dont really care what constitutes as astronomical knowledge, b/c the argument is concerned with whether astrology is a science. So the issue is whether using math makes something scientific....that the gap right? Is that correct?

Thankyou
Sarah
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Sarah,

Your analysis is more or less on point. Please allow me to add a couple other observations. Notice that Answer Choice (D) concerns a statement that exists entirely within a premise of this argument. The argument establishes that "astronomical knowledge" is a "scientific component." The gap on the other hand has to do with the unsupported assumption that something that has scientific components must itself be a science. Notice in this latter observation that the gap exists between the conclusion that "astrology is both and art and a science" (which you correctly noted) and the premises backing it up. Good job.
deck1134
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Hi PowerScore Staff,

What confused me on this question is that B and E looked to be very similar. Though I chose B, I am not sure why E is incorrect. It is obviously a composition error for science, but isn't the same true for the art piece? If the logic holds for science, doesn't it have to hold for art?

Thanks!
Adam Tyson
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When you have it down to two contenders, Deck, focus on what makes them different. You did part of that here - B is about the science while E is about the art - but what else differentiates these two answers? It's in the difference that you will find what makes one answer better than the other.

In answer B, the flow of information is from the evidence (scientific components) to the conclusion (it's science).

In answer E, the flow of information is from the conclusion (it's art) to the evidence (it involves that synthesis).

What makes B better than E is that the author's mistake is in using premises that are insufficient to establish the conclusion (which is pretty must the mistake in every flawed argument!) The author made a presumption about things that use scientific components, and he did not make a presumption about what all art must do. That's the problem with answer E - it describes something that the author did not do, while B describes something the author did do!
Adam M. Tyson
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