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#8 - Ornithologist: The curvature of the claws of modern

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Complete Question Explanation

Method of Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (C)

The ornithologist argues that since the Archeopteryx had claws with curvature similar to that of modern tree-dwelling birds, that the Archeopteryx could perch in trees, and was therefore probably a tree-dwelling creature.

The paleontologist points out that chickens point in trees, but are not tree-dwelling, so the ability to perch in trees is not good reason to believe that the Archeopteryx was tree-dwelling.

You are asked to identify something that the paleontologist does in responding to the ornithologist, so you should focus on the fact that the paleontologist introduces new evidence into the discussion.

Answer choice (A) The paleontologist definitely does not question the ornithologist's qualifications, or character, so this choice is wrong.

Answer choice (B) The paleontologist accepts the possibility that the Archeopteryx could perch in trees, and only questions the ultimate conclusion that the creature was tree-dwelling, so the paleontologist does not object to any of the ornithologist's support.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. Since chickens are similarly able to perch in trees, they are a parallel case, and the fact that they do not dwell in trees illustrates a weakness in the ornithologist's argument, in which he assumes that satisfying a likely necessary condition (the ability to perch in trees) establishes a likely sufficient condition (dwelling in trees).

Answer choice (D) The paleontologist, not the ornithologist, brings up the contradictory situation. Since the ornithologist did not use chickens, the contradiction is not internal to the ornithologist's argument.

Answer choice (E) The paleontologist offers evidence that attacks the ornithologist's conclusions, not evidence that supports.
Toby
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Hello!

I am trying to use the language in Method of Reasoning answer choices to create a vocabulary list of common terms/concepts that appear in these types of questions. I have a question about the concept of a "parallel case." What is the difference between a parallel case and an analogy?

Thanks so much!
Toby
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Toby,

The differences between these terms is very slight. In most cases, they will be used synonymously.
Toby
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Alright; that sounds good to me. Thanks!