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#19 - When a stone is trimmed by a mason and exposed to the

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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken. The correct answer choice is (B)

The leap in this stimulus comes from the presumption that the preserved organic matter provides an accurate reflection of the date the monument was built.

Answer choice (A): Since the stimulus concerns organic matter under the varnish, the presence of such inside the varnish is irrelevant, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. It provides an alternative explanation for the organic matter found under the varnish, thus weakening the argument. If a monument were made of older materials, for example, those materials would predate the presence of the monument

Answer choice (C): The appearance of the one monument and its resemblance to another has nothing to do with whether the referenced organic material is reflective of the age of the monument in question, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): If the monument was not written about until 1778, that tells us nothing about when it was built, or whether the organic material found within is an accurate indication of the age of the monument.

Answer choice (E) This answer choice is rather vague—it is impossible to decipher a specific meaning of the phrase "very slowly,' which, when it comes to rock formation, may imply a century or a millennium. Thus this answer choice provide no information which weakens the argument in the stimulus, so it is incorrect.
lbayliyeva@unm.edu
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I am struggling understand how answer choice B seriously weakens the argument.

The stimulus notes that "Since the organic matter must have grown on the stone shortly after it was trimmed, it follows that the monument was built long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in 1492." Answer B says that "The use of ancient trimmed stones was common in the Andes both before and after 1492." It seems that by saying "the reuse of ancient trimmed stones was common before 1492," the correct answer confirms the conclusion in the stimulus that "monument was built long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in 1942." Put differently, use of trimmed stone before 1492 was common building material out of which was built Andean monument before 1492 before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Hence, answer choice B supports the conclusion rather than weakens the argument.

What am I misreading in the text?

Thank you for your help in advance.
BethRibet
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Hi there,

Thanks for the question. The crucial word in answer choice B is "reuse", because it indicates that while the stone could have been trimmed before 1492, the monument did not have to be built until after, if using an already trimmed stone. Since the conclusion asserts that the monument must have been built before 1492, this information weakens the argument.

Hope that helps!

Beth
lbayliyeva@unm.edu
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Hi Beth,
Thank you so much for helping me with question 6.

I would like to check that my understanding of what you said in your response is correct. Because "reuse" does not mean build and the author in the conclusion of the argument specifically says that "the monument was built," it is for that reason that answer choice B is correct.

How does this type of information weaken the argument?


Thank you so much for your help.
BethRibet
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Hi,

Thanks for writing!
No, the reason is that "reuse" opens up the possibility that the varnish formed on the stone before 1492, but the monument was built after 1492. We're trying to find an explanation for how the varnish could be the older than the monument itself. Does that make sense?

Beth
AnnBar
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Hello,

I have read through the explanations and wanted to make sure I am understanding the logic for answer B.

"Reuse" is important because it brings in an alternative way in which organic matter began forming in the trimmed rocks even before the building of the monument. It allows for the possibility that trimmed rocks (trimmed before 1492 with organic matter starting to grow), were then used post 1492 to build monuments. In which case the organic matter would be dated pre-1492 and not a reflection of when the monument was built.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Thank you
Kristina Moen
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Hi Ann,

Yes you're correct! This is stimulus contains causal reasoning. One way to weaken a causal relationship is to introduce an alternative cause for the effect. Here, the effect is the age of the organic matter under the rock varnish. The author attempts to persuade us that the cause is that the Andean monument was built before 1492. But answer choice (B) provides an alternative cause - a much older trimmed stone could have been used when the monument was built. So we don't know when the monument was actually built.
fmbb
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Hello, thanks for your help in advance.

Can you please explain why E is not the correct answer? From my understanding it does cast doubt on the conclusion. By saying the varnish forms very slowly, if it all- implies that the organic material that is trapped could be from a time period later than 1492. furthermore it mentions that it has to be stored in a dry sheltered place which implies that the trimmed stones probably were exposed to other elements that would have led to some errors in determining the time it was built. I understand that it is a bit vague but I'm not sure what my thinking process should be to avoid making this mistake...
Shannon Parker
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fmbb wrote:Hello, thanks for your help in advance.

Can you please explain why E is not the correct answer? From my understanding it does cast doubt on the conclusion. By saying the varnish forms very slowly, if it all- implies that the organic material that is trapped could be from a time period later than 1492. furthermore it mentions that it has to be stored in a dry sheltered place which implies that the trimmed stones probably were exposed to other elements that would have led to some errors in determining the time it was built. I understand that it is a bit vague but I'm not sure what my thinking process should be to avoid making this mistake...


Be careful when you read the answer choices. Answer choice E does not state that "it has to be stored in a dry sheltered place" it states that "varnish forms very slowly, if at all, on trimmed stones that are stored in a dry, sheltered place." Since the stimulus says nothing about the conditions where the Andean monument were stored, we have no way of knowing whether answer choice E would even be applicable.

Hope this clears it up,
Shannon
elewis10
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I don't see how B is an alternate cause. This question seems very difficult to me, though I fear it should not.

Is the stimulus telling us that the organic matter cannot grow until the stone is trimmed? Could someone please break down the stimulus for me? I apologize for not asking a more articulate question- this is very confusing to me.

Thanks a lot.