- Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:05 pm
Great question! So what the lesson teaches (and what you should keep in your mind) is that the correct answer choice in an Assumption question cannot be any broader or stronger than what the argument needs in order to be valid. That's what the lesson means by the answer not "going beyond" the argument in the stimulus. It means not going beyond what's strictly necessary for the argument's validity.
However, the correct answer to an Assumption question can (especially in Defender Assumption questions) contain "new information" that was not explicitly discussed in the stimulus. That's because every argument assumes that anything that would invalidate it is not true. What if I want to make an argument that coronavirus is the sole cause of our current stock market declines? Well, I'm assuming that other things are not causing that decline. So a correct answer in an Assumption question could say, "Job losses are not contributing to the current stock market declines." The argument might not mention anything about "job losses." Nonetheless, it's an assumption. Why? Because if the opposite were true (if job losses were contributing to the current stock market declines), then the conclusion would be invalid (coronavirus would not be the sole cause of the current stock market declines).
Similarly on the rattlesnake question: if rattlesnakes do NOT "molt as often when food is scarce as they do when food is plentiful," then we wouldn't be able to use molting as a reliable indicator of age, because food scarcity doesn't necessarily correspond with any regular measure of time (thus the conclusion falls apart).
Does that clear it up? I hope so!