Complete Question Explanation
Weaken-CE. The correct answer choice is (A)
In this stimulus, the author attributes the low infant mortality rate, at least in part, to technological superiority. As with most causal arguments that we will encounter on the LSAT, the one in this stimulus is vulnerable to attack, because there are generally alternative explanations for the referenced facts. Since this is a weaken question, we might look for an answer choice which provides an alternative cause.
Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. If the broad access is the cause of the lower infant mortality rate, then this clearly weakens the argument that lower rate is attributable to technological superiority.
Answer choice (B): The author does not base the argument on a connection between socialism and technological superiority—the assertion is that there is a causal link between technological superiority and the lower infant mortality rate.
Answer choice (C): The relevant discussion in this case does not concern the reliability of infant mortality as an indicator of the big picture—the link asserted, again, is that between an observed outcome—lower infant mortality rate—and a hypothesized cause (technological superiority).
Answer choice (D): There is no need for such a list in the assessment required by this stimulus. Since this as no effect on the strength of the author's causal assertion, this answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice describes circular reasoning, which is not present in the stimulus.
#4 - It is more desirable to have some form of socialized
For Lesson 3HW I had trouble with Question 24
Q24: How is this not a conditional statement? the words "since countries..." indicate sufficient and then technological superiority should be necessary, right? How is A right?
This is a great question. Here, the author argues that a socialized medical system is preferable to private sector medicine. The author's conclusion is based on two premises:
First, socialized medicine provides broader access.
Second, based on the lower infant mortality rate, socialized medicine seems to be technologically superior.
But what if that lower infant mortality rate is entirely attributable to the broader access already mentioned? If that is the case, then the lower infant mortality rate cannot be properly attributed to technological superiority as the author suggests.
Tough one--let me know whether that clears this one up--thanks!
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Hi, I am having trouble understanding why B is not correct. I diagrammed the last sentence of the stimulus like this: socialized med lower IM tech superior. So when B states there's not necessarily a connection between socialiasm and tech achievement, isn't that showing a flaw in the last sentence of the stiumulus?
One could diagram the last sentence of the stim like that, though there may be other, even more accurate ways. This is especially so since this may be more of a causal situation than a conditional one, and the words "seems" in the last sentence reinforces that the relationship is sort of tenuous anyway.
Also, "socialism" is not exactly the same as "socialized medicine"; for example, England is not under a socialist government at present, but they still have what many consider to be "socialized medicine". Finally, as the Administrator says above, there is some attenuation, i.e., the connection, or posited connection, is between lower infant mortality and technological superiority, so that socialized medicine is "two steps away" from tech superiority rather than being adjacent to it like lower IM is.
Hope this helps,
I don't think the causal relationship stated in the explanation is correct. Socialized medicine seems to be technologically superior because countries with socialized medicine have a lower infant mortality rate than those relying on the private sector: "since countries with socialized medicine have a lower infant mortality rate (which indicates a sufficient condition), socialized medicine seems technologically superior." So the fact that the lower infant mortality rate might have multiple, alternative causes doesn't seem to have any effect on the argument? What I was looking for for the answer to this question was one that gave an alternate cause as to why it's more desirable to have some form of socialized medicine.
Well, "since" is often more of a causal thing, though sometimes maybe it gets used to show a sufficient condition instead; therefore, although you say that there's a sufficient-condition thing going on, that may not be the case. (And the "since" doesn't always immediately introduce the cause, by the way: you could say that "technologically superior" is the cause of "lower infant mortality rate", which makes more sense than saying low infant mortality causes tech superiority.)
When you say "What I was looking for for the answer to this question was one that gave an alternate cause as to why it's more desirable to have some form of socialized medicine.": that may simply not happen to be what one has to look for.
And, re "'So the fact that the lower infant mortality rate might have multiple, alternative causes doesn't seem to have any effect on the argument?": well, it may not. You are looking for a flaw, and as noted above, increased access may be what's helping the babies, so that one needn't argue that tech superiority is what does it.
Hope this helps,
I now see that choice A is correct. However, I really am confused with the causal indicator. I thought the word "since" indicated a conditional relationship... why is the relationship causal rather than sufficient?
Additionally, I seem to be getting a frequent amount of these types of questions incorrect because I am really failing to recognize the type of reasoning presented. I am accurately identifying the conclusion, and attempting to prephrase, I am just not selecting the correct answer choices. Please help!
Hey there Maria, thanks for the question. "Since" is NOT an indication of conditional reasoning, as it is not in any way synonymous with either "if" or "then". Rather, "since" indicates that you are probably looking at a premise! It means the same as "because". Take a look in whichever of our materials you have for two charts, both of which will be early on in either the course books or in the LR Bible. One chart lists some common premise and conclusion indicators, and another chart, in the section on Conditional Reasoning, lists common Sufficient and Necessary Condition indicators. You'll find "since" on the first chart, but not on the second one.
In my mind, there are no clear causal indicators in this stimulus, although the causal connection is strongly implied. The author tells us that there is a correlation between socialized medicine and low infant mortality rates, and then he concludes that it must be true that socialized medicine is technologically superior. Reading between the lines, in the absence of a clear indicator, he seems to be saying that technological superiority must be the cause of the lower infant mortality rate. That's easy to miss, and there's no shame in doing so! Just be aware that our author has assumed, without justification, that lower infant mortality proves technological superiority. That's the flaw - an unwarranted assumption. You may or may not see the implied causal relationship, but failing to see it shouldn't deter you from finding the correct answer, which is the one that tells us that lower infant mortality doesn't necessarily prove tech superiority. That should be the prephrase here.
If you see clear indications of either conditional or causal reasoning, by all means use your conditional or causal tools to attack the question, but if you don't see them, don't worry about them, and instead just focus on what you do see. In a flaw question, ask yourself what is missing from the argument, what the author must have assumed that might not be true. That should get you to the right answer almost every time.
Keep at it, you'll get better with practice!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
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I'm having troubles rationalizing why A is a better answer choice than B.
Is it okay to think that if B had said "the medical system of socialism, then it would have been a better answer choice? What specifically makes B wrong?