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 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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#64889
There's nothing causal here, imo, Lily. The author isn't saying anything about two things going together, and concluding that one of them caused the other. Lichen and grass aren't causing smoked meat in this argument.

Try an abstract view of the argument, which is a technique I use quite often since the topic is never relevant and the structure always matters. This argument, in the abstract, is something like "we found X, which isn't very useful for purpose Y, so it was probably used instead for purpose Z."

Nothing causal here, not even a correlation, just a claim about a probable purpose. To weaken that, just raise a doubt about purpose Z, which might mean suggesting that X could have been, in this case, for purpose Y.

Don't try to force a causal analysis, or a conditional one, onto any question. If you see it, great, use it! If not, use other tools and skills to deal with what you are seeing.
 lsatstudying11
  • Posts: 30
  • Joined: Jul 30, 2020
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#82796
Hi,

I have a question about understanding the argument. I first picked A and get why B is correct, but am still confused about how to interpret the argument. When I read it, I understand it to be an argument focused on the method of meat preservation. And, as the evidence indicates the presence of lichen and grass fireplaces, I read this argument as, in turn, concluding that the meat preservation technique used by the Neanderthals is smoking, as opposed to something like using salt to preserve meat. However, it seems like this is the wrong way to understand the argument, which is actually focused on explaining the presence of the lichen and grass fires. I guess I am wondering where or what in the argument structure indicates that this is an argument not after determining meat preservation methods but one that is after making sense of the existence of these lichen/grass fires that produce a lot of smoke? I am stuck. The only thing that I can think might be an indicator is the fact that the stimulus says 'many' fireplaces contain lichen and grass, which does not seem strong enough to support the idea that smoking was the preferred form of preservation.

Thanks so much for your help! :)
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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  • Posts: 3694
  • Joined: Apr 14, 2011
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#83700
Think about the nature of the evidence here, lsatstudying11. The author is saying that these fireplaces probably were used to smoke meat. What's the evidence? Lichen and grass produces a lot of smoke but not a lot of heat and light. That's not about how they preserved meat, but about what the fuel in the fireplaces was good for! It's saying "this isn't good stuff for producing heat and light, and it is good for preserving meat, so that's probably what it was for."

If this argument had offered evidence like "salt, another tool for preservation of meat, was in short supply in the area," then we would be looking at evidence about a competing method for meat preservation, which would change our analysis.

Pay attention to the kind of evidence presented in support of the conclusion, and weaken the argument by showing that the evidence is not good enough to support the conclusion. Focus on that relationship between premises and conclusion, because that relationship is what a weaken answer will attack.

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