Complete Question Explanation
Point at Issue.The correct answer choice is (C)
Derek maintains that mature yew trees should be immediately harvested for the anticancer chemicals they contain despite the danger this might pose to the yew tree population. Lola, on the other hand, insists that to do so would not only harm a very rare tree population, but the endangered spotted owl as well – both of which could impact the entire ecosystem. Based on those potential outcomes, Lola concludes that we should wait for a synthetic drug rather than allowing our eagerness for a medical breakthrough to dictate a course of action.
Answer Choice (A): Certainly Lola likely believes that harvesting the Pacific yews might potentially have far-reaching environmental repercussions, but Derek does not necessarily agree or disagree with this. In fact, he acknowledges that the yew population might be threatened but does not make any judgment as to whether this would have far-reaching environmental consequences. Therefore, Derek’s position on this matter is unknown.
Answer Choice (B): Though a tempting answer at first glance, we do not know either Derek or Lola’s position on whether treatments for deadly diseases should be based on synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals. We are only able to infer their respective stances with regards to this very specific instance of cancer and the Pacific yew.
Answer Choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. Citing environmental concerns, Lola maintains that it is justifiable to wait for a synthetic drug even while the capacity to produce the drug by harvesting the yew exists. Derek, on the other hand, believes that it is not justifiable to wait for a synthetic version when the Pacific yew currently offers an effective version.
Answer Choice (D): Neither Derek nor Lola states what they believe will be the extent of the environmental disaster resulting from the extinction of the Pacific yew and spotted owl. Lola mentions that the consequences of their survival being threatened could be far-reaching (but never mentions extinction), while Derek’s opinion on the extent of an environmental disaster is completely unknown.
Answer Choice (E): The extreme language used in this answer choice gives cause for immediate concern. While Lola evidently holds that environmental concerns should have weight when human lives are at stake, and thus agrees with this statement, we can not state that Derek would disagree with this statement on the basis of his argument alone. We can only state with certainty that Derek believes environmental considerations do not outweigh human lives in the instance of the Pacific yew and its potential as a cancer treatment; we can not infer that he would then hold that environmental concerns should never have any weight when human lives are at stake.