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## #5 - Scientist: Earth’s average annual temperature has...

• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 8936
• Joined: Feb 02, 2011
#26462
Complete Question Explanation

Question #5: Weaken, CE. The correct answer choice is (B).

Predictable topic (global warming), predictable pattern of reasoning (causal). This argument seeks to explain a phenomenon: the phenomenon, or effect, is presented in the premises, while the explanation, or cause, functions as a conclusion:

• Cause Effect

Buildup of minor gases Avg. temperature rising (i.e. global warming)
As with all causal arguments, you must critically evaluate the causality described in them. For one thing, there may be an alternate cause for the rise in global temperatures. We can also weaken the argument by showing counterexamples whereby the cause occurs without the effect, or the effect occurs without the cause.

Answer choice (A): What produced the minor gases allegedly responsible for the rise in global temperatures has no bearing on the argument. We are looking for an alternative cause for the effect, not a possible cause for the cause.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. If most of the warming occurred before 1940, while most of the buildup of gases in the atmosphere occurred after 1940, it shows that the effect occurred without the cause. Granted, “most” does not mean “all,” and it is still possible that the minor gases are making global warming even worse. Still, this answer choice clearly undermines the credibility of the explanation presented in the conclusion, making it the correct answer choice to this Weaken question.

Answer choice (C): More solar radiation appears to provide an alternative cause for the effect, but note that the amount of radiation is variable, and the differences year-to-year are slight. The overall amount of radiation received is not necessarily higher, making this answer choice irrelevant to the causal relationship outlined in the conclusion.

Answer choice (D): What’s keeping the Sun’s radiation out of the atmosphere has no bearing on the conclusion of the argument, which is about what’s keeping it in.

Answer choice (E): This Opposite answer strengthens the conclusion of the argument by showing that the buildup of minor gases is highly unusual.
balikbayan
• Posts: 7
• Joined: Jul 03, 2024
#108080
i first chose D but i understand how its wrong. It's because it's basically saying other cause --> effect is block sun radiation before even hitting earth. I fell for this answer because i thought it simply showed me it was another cause, but it didn't connect to the conclusion. The conclusion is focusing on the buildup of minor gases cause --> effect is global warming. D doesn't destroy that relationship since it brought outside information.

For B however, I am still confused and it has to do with the language. Since it's a weaken question, you need quite strong language right (while ofc making sure it fits with the stimulus). I do get how it connects and its the best answer out of all the answers through process of elimination. But I still find myself knowing that if i come across this similar question with a similar correct answer choice, I'll inevitable pick it because there's that possibility with "some".

Even with that possibility I should just pick it? How am I supposed to effectively know its the better answer? Hope I was able to explain my confusion clearly.
balikbayan
• Posts: 7
• Joined: Jul 03, 2024
#108081
sorry I meant I'll inevitably not pick it!
Luke Haqq
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 871
• Joined: Apr 26, 2012
#108195
Hi balikbayan!

This question involves causal reasoning and asks us to weaken it. The causal reasoning is specifically that a buildup of minor gases is the cause, and the effect is the temperature increasing.

There are a variety of ways to weaken causal reasoning. You can point out an alternative cause, you can show a scenario in which the cause exists but not the effect, you can show a scenario in which the effect exists without the cause, you can show that the causal relationship is actually reversed, or you can attack the data used to make the causal claim. Here, answer choice (B) shows the effect (a warming temperature) without the cause (a buildup of minor gases), because (B) is saying that most of the warming occurred before most of the gases built up.

Lastly, to your comment about needing strong language, you don't necessarily need strong language for a weaken question. To the contrary, if a correct answer choice on a weaken question is one that weakens it in any amount, even if it's only a little bit.

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