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#18 - Orthodox medicine is ineffective at both ends of the

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True. The correct answer choice is (B)

This stimulus consists of information about orthodox and alternative medicines. Given common knowledge, you no doubt found the "information" in this stimulus ludicrous and false. For instance, orthodox medicine very clearly does a good job of treating aches, pains, and allergies.

However, you should remember that the LSAT test writers expect you to judge argumentation, not the validity of information, and should put objections to the information aside, and focus on any argumentation. The only conceivable argumentation involves the connection between the first and second sentences. A valid criticism of the connection is that just because orthodox medicine does not some cure life-threatening diseases does not mean it is ineffective against them. For example, the fact that Magic Johnson still has HIV does not mean that his treatment has been ineffective. You should limit your criticism to that detail, because on the LSAT your task is to critique argument, not information.

Your objections to the admittedly false statements in the stimulus will only hinder you. The LSAT test writers are attempting to engage you on a level irrelevant to success on the test. In any case, upon reading the question stem you should have disposed of any objections you had, because you are told to assume all statements in the stimulus are true.

As long as we accept, for sake of argument, the information in the stimulus, we can draw some conclusions. Currently, orthodox medicine is not effective against certain conditions and illnesses. The last two sentences interact to let us infer that alternative medicine never has effects against illnesses. Taken together, that means there are certain illnesses that currently cannot be treated effectively by either orthodox or alternative medicine.

Once again, you should avoid objecting that alternative medicine has psychological effects. You are not supposed to take issue with information, and especially once you get to the question stem, you should know that all objections to the stimulus are taboo.

Answer choice (A): Practitioners of alternative medicine could simply be mistaken, without knowing it. In order to act in bad faith, those practitioners would have to know that they are wrong, or wish to cause harm, so this choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. We know that there are some illnesses that cannot be treated by orthodox medicine, and since alternative medicine cannot treat anything, there are some illnesses that can be treated by neither orthodox nor alternative medicine.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice can be immediately eliminated by referring to the last sentence of the stimulus. The author clearly states that alternative medicine "does not have any effects at all," suggesting that such therapies are completely ineffective in addressing any ailments, including trivial illnesses. Thus, answer choice (C) is opposite of the information contained in the stimulus.

Answer choice (D): The stimulus was about a few illnesses and what sometimes occurs, but this choice is about what is always the case. Therefore, this choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): The stimulus is about what is currently the case, and does not discuss trends. Therefore, choices about the future are unsupported, and this choice is incorrect. When answering Must Be True questions you should avoid any choice that projects a trend, unless the stimulus specifically discussed that trend.
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Dear Powerscore,

So, I have read the explanation and still am confused why b is wrong? and what is the trap with this answer? it was mentioned about the word "largely"

"Think of the 0-100 ladder. You will realize that, in formal logic, “largely” contains the possibility of “always.” Remember, you need to interpret words on the LSAT in the logical sense, not a conversational sense. “Largely,” like “mostly,” can be interpreted logically as 51%-100% of the time. Therefore, it the stimulus does not rule out the possibility that orthodox medicine is never effective."

I just want to make sure I understand what exactly are they trying to say? I get that largely can mean all or allways and then I get confused with "Therefore, it the stimulus does not rule out the possibility that orthodox medicine is never effective."

what does it mean? or could you please explain why it is wrong maybe another way? either way I want to know about the key idea in this answer choice and why is it wrong?


Nikki Siclunov
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I think you are asking why (C) is wrong. Answer choice (B) is the correct answer: we can easily prove that there are some conditions, such as cancer or lupus, for which neither therapy is effective.

(C) is wrong because we know that alternative medicine does not have any effects at all, which is contradicted by answer choice (C). In fact, the stimulus proves that answer choice (C) is false.

To answer your question about "largely," it is entirely possible that orthodox medicine is not effective in treating trivial illnesses at all (because "largely ineffective" leaves open the possibility that it is "never effective"). This, of course, is irrelevant to eliminating answer choice (C), because the answer only talks about alternative medicine.
Nikki Siclunov
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I missed this question and I really struggled with how to come up with a prephase? How would you recommend prephrasing this question?
James Finch
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Hi Rosaline,

This is a bit of a trick question. The key to a good prephrase is to combine the main conclusion, in the first sentence, with the seemingly out-of-place claim thrown in at the end of the stimulus. That claim, when unpacked, is that alternative medicines are completely ineffective; combined with the conclusion that orthodox medicine is ineffective for the most minor and major ailments, we can see that there are no effective treatments for the most trivial nor the most serious medical problems. Answer choice (B) succintly restates this idea, by stating that some medical conditions (i.e. the "extremes") lack effective treatments.

Hope this helps!
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Thanks for the explanation! I chose C because I had not read the last sentence carefully enough. It said it had no "effects" not side effects specifically and it was plural so it meant more than one type of effect. These explanations are so so so helpful because I am learning so much about what to look for and to be very careful in my reading of the stimulus.