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#9 - It can safely be concluded that there are at least as

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Complete Question Explanation

Justify the Conclusion. The correct answer choice is (B)

The stimulus informs you that there are at least as many trees in Seclee as there are in Martown.

You are asked from which of the choices the conclusion would follow, so you should ask yourself which choice justifies the conclusion.

Answer choice (A): There is no reason to suppose that planting more trees in any two years would lead to a greater number of trees in one area, since you have no idea of initial conditions. For instance, maybe Seclee is a heavily wooded County, but Martown is a very small town.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. If Martown is a region of Seclee, that means that anything that Martown has is also held by Seclee, so Seclee would have at least as many trees as Martown has. To help yourself see that, you could draw a large circle for Seclee and a smaller circle inside that one for Martown.

Answer choice (C): Even if Martown's trees are suffering from an epidemic, those trees could survive, or Martown could simply have far more trees that Seclee to begin with. This response would not effectively lead to the conclusion, so this choice is wrong.

Answer choice (D): There is no reason to suppose that a difference in rainfall would definitely lead to a higher tree-growth rate, so you should not select this incorrect choice. Furthermore, even if the rainfall did cause a higher tree-growth rate in Seclee, it could be true that Martown is a much larger region with many localized areas that equal Seclee, even though the average is lower, so this response is not good support for the conclusion.

Answer choice (E): Knowing that in Martown more trees are cut down is entirely consistent with Martown having more trees, so you should not suppose that this information is good support for the conclusion that Seclee has as least as many trees as Martown.
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I don't know why b is correct and every other answer choices are incorrect. Can someone explain how to process the stimulus?
Jon Denning
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Hi angie,

Thanks for the message! This is a Justify question, where we want to prove the conclusion in the stimulus is true. Since the stimulus is only one sentence, we need to show that that statement is correct: Seclee has at least as many trees as Martown (or, put another way, Martown does not have more trees than Seclee).

The oddity of this question really comes from the correct answer choice, which doesn't mention trees at all, but rather gives us location-based information that proves the stimulus is true. Answer choice (B) tells us that Martown is located within Seclee, meaning everything in Martown must also be in Seclee. Think about the implications: Seclee contains everything that Martown contains, and possibly more. So all of Martown's residents are also Seclee residents, all of Martown's buildings are also Seclee buildings...and all of Martown's trees are also Seclee trees.

This means that at a minimum they have the same amount (Seclee has Martown's trees, but no additional trees), and possibly Seclee has more. Either way, the conclusion is correct.

Imagine a real-world illustration. "There are at least as many trees in Atlanta as there are in Georgia." We know that is correct. Why? Because Atlanta is in Georgia! So Georgia has all of the Atlanta trees, plus additional trees outside Atlanta. But it's impossible for Atlanta to have MORE trees than Georgia, and that's exactly what's happening with answer choice (B) and the stimulus.

As for the other answers, they are all tree-related, but none of them let us conclude an absolute comparison between the two areas, so none prove the conclusion is true.

I hope that helps!
Jon Denning
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