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#73698
Complete Question Explanation

Parallel Flaw. The correct answer choice is (C).

The stimulus contains a source argument, also called an ad hominem attack - the author argues that a proposal should be accepted solely on the grounds that the people who oppose that proposal have some motive for opposing it, a motive that our author has a problem with. No evidence is offered to support the author's position other than citing the motive of the opposition. The stem tells us to find an answer that commits the same error in reasoning, so look for an argument that is entirely focused on the (supposedly bad) motives of the opposition and gives no other evidence to support the author's position.

Answer choice (A): This is a flawed argument, but the flaw is a complete lack of relevant evidence rather than an attack on the motives of the opposition. At no point does the author here suggest that those who oppose his idea have a bad motive, or that their motives have anything to do with why he believes what he says.

Answer choice (B): This argument never deals with the opposition, and it does give at least some relevant evidence to support its position, which was about the potential damage to the integrity of the historical record.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. This is the argument that attacks the bad motive of the opposition (beauticians are motivated by financial gain to suggest more frequent haircuts), and on that basis alone says we should not do what those people say. A source argument, like the stimulus, and thus a match.

Answer choice (D): This argument is not based on the motives of the opposition, and in fact never addresses any opposing argument. Instead, this argument is "many people want us to do X, and we shouldn't alienate those people, so we should do what they want."

Answer choice (E): Plenty of evidence is offered in support of the conclusion, and no opposing argument is mentioned, nor are the motives of any potential opponent, so this is not parallel to the flawed argument in the stimulus.
 BoomBoom
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#22374
Hello,

This question's correct answer makes little sense to me and I was wondering why C is the best answer. I answered A.

Thanks,

Chris
 Nikki Siclunov
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#22391
Chris,

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 cultivate the analytical ability to approach these questions on your own, which is why you need to help us help you first.

Here's what I'd like you to do:
  • 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?
Thanks,
 BoomBoom
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#22407
Hello,

1. P: we should do/accept something because the people that oppose us/it, have no commitment to long-term benefit therefore not doing that something affects that long term benefit.

2. My prephrase was to try to break the argument into something/pieces that I could compare a parallel argument in the answer choices.

3. I answered A because it felt like it was the most similar in argument to the stimulus. C to me doesn't make any sense to compare to the stimulus. I think B is closer to being similar than C is.

If you could explain where my reasoning is wrong and how to better attack this question i would appreciate it.

Thanks!

Chris
 Nikki Siclunov
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#22421
Hey Chris,

Your problem here is that you didn't prephrase the flaw in the reasoning. When attacking Parallel Flaw questions, always make sure to understand precisely what flaw you're supposed to parallel.

In this particular instance, the author wants to accept some proposal because the opposing side (which rejects it) has purportedly bad motives. This is a classic Source Argument (or "ad hominem" attack) flaw, whereby the author attacks the character or motivations of an opponent in order to discredit his or her position. Answer choice (C) matches that flaw, as the conclusion is predicated on the suspicion that hair stylists have an ulterior motive for cutting hair more often than necessary. None of the remaining answer choices parallel this line of reasoning.

Hope this clears things up!
 BoomBoom
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#22436
aaah ok thanks, totally overlooked that analysis. thanks!
 LsatStudentQ
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#61477
It is really easy to be too stiff in selecting the portion of the argument one is looking for a similarity to. People often take the original argument to be the thing they first assume it to be. Then they're stuck. When you try to discuss it with them they keep reverting to the initial argument they assumed it was and can't let go of it.

To do well on these types of questions you have to have more of a range of possible arguments and then look for one of the answers that lies within that range. In this case, the original argument consists of an initial point and a followup that isn't actually part of the first point. It is an additional point. However, one could have also considered that they were part of the same point. In that case, one would have been stuck because that version doesn't match anything below. If you do enough of these you will feel them because you won't narrow down too fast and you'll still be sensitive to answers that tickle the range you've narrowed it down to without going too far.

Look at the first part. The argument is that we should do something simply because it is the opposite of what a group of people with a particular priority would tell us we should do. We are told we must be contrarians. If someone tells you to brush your teeth because they believe brushing your teeth keeps them healthy, you shouldn't brush your teeth. Why? because those people told you to brush them. We are supposed to accept the proposal simply because this group is against demolishing it. Kind of silly, right? A very adolescent attitude. The first part of the argument adds, kind of as a throw away, that the people who encourage this action we are supposed to do the opposite of have no commitment to long-term economic well-being. And? So? Their point? They may have no long-term commitment to dental hygiene, or to making great ribs on the barbie, but what is that comment doing there? This is classic talking-head television. We should disregard what Senator X has to say about farm subsidies because he likes bowling on Sundays. And? So? Fine, they'll probably try to narrow it down to a range that seems almost relevant, like - We should disregard what Senator X has to say about farm subsidies because he likes imported beef. But it isn't any more relevant that way. Why? Because we would have to have it already established that people who like imported beef are people whose opinions we should disregard when they are talking about farm subsidies. And the extra statement at the end is just an illusion-creating mechanism. It doesn't establish at all that we should do the opposite of what people tell us to do who have no commitment to long-term economic well-being. It simply gives a little speech about something interesting but not at all sufficient to weigh in on the issue of whose opinion we should automatically do the opposite of.
So the correct match can only be based on the first part: life is simple for us because we take an opinion of people who have some sort of reason for their opinion and we just do the opposite. Now C is really obvious. The specifics of why the people with the opinion hold the opinion isn't really material in this LR. All that matters for there to be a match is that they have a reason for holding their opinion. We can then know the correct course of action is to do the opposite of what they are urging us to do. It's a pretty silly way of living and it's a really obvious flaw in thinking. Just do the opposite of what anyone tells you to do if they have a reason for believing the advice they are giving you is good. That's it. That simple. That primitive. The rest of this entire LR is extra stuffing for the pillow. A good part of what is there in addition to this core illogical principle is just there to muddy the waters. This is an incredibly simple LR with some fancy obfuscation laid on. If you got it wrong trying to make sense of the extra stuffing you are going to be frustrated and want to argue about it. You can keep trying to point out how the "old building creates and impediment to new development, which is critical to economic health" is some sort of background principle that brings some defensible logic to the original "we should accept". But it isn't. That's just flim flam.
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 Dave Killoran
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#63400
This problem was covered in detail in Episode 4 of the PowerScore LSAT PodCast, entitled How to Solve Parallel Reasoning Questions. The explanation can be found at the 1:09:46 mark here:

PowerScore Blog, with full timing notes

iTunes
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 desiboy96
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#87432
Hey PS so I did this question while listening to your podcast on parallel reasoning and my question is for these types of questions, is there a point where one can be over critical? If so, how can I avoid this. For example when I saw this question, I abstracted the stimulus like so...

"The author says we ought to pursue a course of action because a group of people object to that course and following that course of action can lead to a potentially negative outcome [an impediment to economic health]" .

Though I do understand why the other choices were wrong (I picked D in case you are wondering after eliminating the others confidently) based on my prephrase I eliminated C because I thought it did not cover that last part of the stimulus which to me made C incorrect.
 Robert Carroll
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#88255
desi,

I'd say two things. First, your prephrase needs a little refinement. The "course of action", if defined as what the author thinks we should do, can't be described as something that "can lead to a potentially negative outcome." If "course of action" is going to have a consistent meaning throughout the statement, which it must (if you're using the indexical "that"), the course of action is one that the author thinks avoids negative consequences. So to be more precise, I'd change your abstraction to the following:

"The author says we ought to pursue a course of action because a group of people object to that course and failing to pursue that course of action can lead to a potentially negative outcome [an impediment to economic health]"

The second thing I'd say is that we should think more about why the author thinks that the opposition of certain people is a good enough reason to support the proposal. The author seems to think that those people have a selfish interest to oppose the demolition, and that that selfish interest is enough to make their opposition suspect. Answer choice (C) can be seen to match more readily if we realize that.

Robert Carroll

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