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Complete Question Explanation

Question #21: Flaw. The correct answer choice is (A).

The driver observes that minivans have lower accident rates compared to sports cars, i.e. that low accidents and minivans correlate. On the basis of this correlation, he concludes that by switching to a minivan, he would lower his accident rate. This conclusion is causal, as it depends on the implicit assumption that minivans cause a decrease in one's risk of getting into an accident:
  • ..... ..... Cause ..... ..... ..... ..... Effect

    ..... ..... Minivans ..... :arrow: ..... Lower accident rate
This line of reasoning confuses correlation with causation. Just because minivans have lower accident rates in general doesn't mean a reckless driver can lower his or her risk by switching to a minivan. Maybe the reason why minivans have lower accident rates is because they are driven by more careful drivers in the first place. This prephrase immediately agrees with answer choice (A).

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. See explanation above.

Answer choice (B): The statistical sample is not necessarily too narrow. Both the sample and the conclusion are about the same types of cars.

Answer choice (C) is attractive, but incorrect. Minivans most definitely have lower accident rates: this is not a matter of likelihood, but a matter of certainty. The author's' mistake is the assumption that he can benefit from these lower accident rates by driving a minivan.

Answer choice (D) is incorrect, because there is no Mistaken Reversal here. This would be like saying:
All minivans have lower accident rates compared to other cars. I've never had an accident, so I must be driving a minivan.
Answer choice (E) is incorrect, because the author "has done his research." There is no reason to question the reliability of his sources.
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I answered D, and I was wondering how A was the correct answer and if someone could explain why?


 Nikki Siclunov
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Thanks for your question. Generally speaking, we need a bit more input from you before we delve into a discussion of a particular LR question. Ultimately, it won't be us who are taking the test; it's you! Our goal is to help you understand what's going on, which is why you first need to do the following:
  • 1. Describe your approach to the stimulus. Did you understand the argument, if any, from a structural standpoint? What is the conclusion, and what evidence is the author using in support of that conclusion?

    2. Did you prephrase an answer to the question in the stem? If so, what was your prephrase?

    3. What exactly made the two answer choices you have listed particularly attractive? Did you use any question type-specific test (e.g. Assumption Negation Technique) to differentiate between them?
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Hello Nikki,

I'll respond. The sufficiency vs necessary according to my mode of thinking was that if minivans were sufficient to minimize accidents, that doesn't mean they're required-but typing it out, I see why I'm wrong.

The author isn't concluding that we need a minivan to reduce our risks from accidents. The author is concluding that since two phenomenon are occurring simultaneously, one causes the other. We're overlooking a possibility that road thrill lovers hate minivans and that soccer moms like myself who are safe drivers like it. By considering these factors, the car becomes irrelevant and that it becomes the type of drivers and their preferences.
 Robert Carroll
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You've got it!

Robert Carroll
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regarding the Administrator's original explanation, what is the difference between a "Rate" and "Likelihood"?

I regarded them as the same thing in my mind, i.e. the rate which sports cars get into accidents is 28% of all car accidents.

Doesn't this mean you are 28% likely to get into a car crash with a sports car? This is why I thought C a good choice.

thank you.
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 Dana D
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Hey Teddy,

"Rate" and "likelihood" cannot be used interchangeably, no.

Think of "rate" more as a set number of occurrences for a given period or population. If I'm sealing envelopes at a rate of 15 envelopes an hour, that is how many I'm completing during a given time, whereas "likelihood" speaks to the probability that something will occur.

Now assume my rate is going to stay consistent. In the next hour how likely is it that I seal 15 envelopes? In other words, what is the probability that I will seal 15 envelopes? It's not 15% likely that this will occur - it's 100% likely. Rate and probability do not always equal.

In this stimulus, we know that the 'rate' of accidents is lower for minivans and sedans, but we don't know what that rate is exactly - is it 5 out of every 100 minivans or sedans on the road has an accident compared to 70 of every 100 sports cars? We don't know.

Even if we did, would we be able to take that information and say that this individual just changed their probability of getting into an accident from a 70% chance to a 5% chance? Not for certain - there's a lot of factors that might affect the accident rate of these two groups, and more importantly, we're trying to attack the Driver's argument here, which states that they will have an accident because they drive their sports car recklessly. Changing from sports car to minivan will not negate the fact that the Driver drives recklessly, therefore the cause (the reckless driving) of the effect (an accident) hasn't been negated either, so the Driver's argument falls apart. They're still probably going to get into an accident, because they are a reckless driver - whether that is in a minivan or a sports car.

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