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#24- There are 1.3 billion cows worldwide, and this

Nina
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Q24
I know maybe answer A is the only reasonable choice, but is that because, if "Cows given good-quality diets produce more," their population can be reduced thus resulting in reduced methane production? or is there other way to explain?
As for answer B, I think it helps to establish the soundness of "these cows produce trillions of liters of methane gas yearly." this may sounds a little bit funny, but is it a wrong direction to attack Strengthen Question?

Thanks a lot!
Nikki Siclunov
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That is correct. If a well-fed cow produces more meat and milk than a cow on a low-quality diet, then you wouldn't need as many cows to meet the growing demand for these products (first sentence). Consequently, we have more reason to be hopeful that methane production could be kept in check if cows were given a high-quality diet.

With answer choice (B), there is no reason to establish the soundness of a premise: you can take such facts as true statements which need not be supported by additional evidence and need no explanation.

It's a tough question, especially since it's towards the end of the section. Good job! :-)
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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Thank you very much for your response!
donger
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Hi Powerscore,

I was confused as to why A is the correct answer in this question. The conclusion here is "Therefore, methane production from cows could be kept in check if cows were given better-quality diets." But A doesn't necessarily strengthen the conclusion. Instead, to me, A seems to address the viability of better-quality diets but not necessarily that methane production will be kept in check. Is the distinction clear?

Any response would be much appreciated!
Frank Cozzarelli
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When being asked to strengthen an argument, it is helpful to think of potential ways you might attack the attack the argument, and then try to find an answer choice that "plugs the hole" in the argument. Here, one way we could attack the argument is by considering what the effect might be on meat and milk production by feeding the cows higher quality diets. Is it possible that meat and milk production might go down if they are fed higher quality diets? If so, then this isn't a viable solution to the methane problem, since meat and milk production must keep pace with the growing demand. Answer choice A is therefore the best answer, because it addresses this concern.

Keep in mind, with strengthener questions the correct answer can strengthen the argument a lot or, as in this case, only a little bit. Answer choice A seems to address an ancillary issue, but it's the best answer in this case because answer choice B seems to weaken, while the remaining answer choices address irrelevant issues.
saranash1
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I am confused as to why/how (A) is correct. For starters, I can't quite figure out what "the gap" is. But I just don't see how (A) strengthens the argument.
Ron Gore
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Hi, Sara!

Thanks for your question!

The conclusion to this argument is very broad, that methane production from cows could be kept in check if cows were given better-quality diets. The primary support for the conclusion is that cows produce less methane when they receive better-quality diets.

The logical gap is that the support for the conclusion is that each cow will produce less methane if given a better quality diet. It is not certain how much less methane each cow produces when given a better diet. Nor does the argument tell you how much of a reduction is necessary to keep methane production from cows "in check."

Even if you did have that information regarding each cow, you would need to know something about the overall number of cows in the world as well. The first sentence of the stimulus provided that there is an increasing demand for meat and milk, and so the cow population is increasing to keep up with that demand.

So, as often occurs in logical reasoning stimuli, this argument has a number of weaknesses. The correct answer choice could provide support for any of these gaps, or could provide any other information that would tend to support the conclusion. That is why we focus on Prephrasing for what the correct answer choice will DO, not what it will say.

Answer choice (A) strengthens the argument by telling you that not only would the cows produce less methane if given a higher quality diet, they would produce more meat and milk as well. (Note: Answer choice (A) says "good" quality diet rather than "better-quality" diet. This change in language works, though, because the premise stated cows are given "relatively low-quality diets".) If so, then it would take fewer cows to satisfy the rising demand for meat and milk. This supports the still weak conclusion that methane production from cows could be kept in check by providing them a better-quality diet.

Please let me know if you have further questions!

Thanks,

Ron
saranash1
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meaning fewer cows would have to be raised because cows would produce more meat and milk and that would result in less methane gas as a result of less over all cows?
saranash1
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meaning fewer cows would have to be raised because cows would produce more meat and milk and that would result in less methane gas as a result of less over all cows?
Ron Gore
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Exactly, Sara. It still is an argument with holes. However, on a scale of 1 to 100, an answer choice only has to strengthen by 1 to be correct.