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Parallel Reasoning—SN. The correct answer choice is (C)
This question highlights the importance of distinguishing fact from opinion and probability from certainty. Few other questions on this test exemplify these key elements in language so well.
The author predicts that a sales proposal will probably be rejected. Why? Because it will not be rewritten, and—according to Juarez, whose opinion is quite reliable on such matters—if the proposal is not rewritten, it will be rejected. The first sentence features conditional reasoning, which can be diagrammed as follows:
- Premise (1): (Opinion) Rewrite proposal Proposal rejected
- Premise (2): (Fact) Juarez’s opinion is very reliable.
- Premise (3): (Fact) Rewrite proposal
- Conclusion: (Fact) Proposal rejected (probably)
Because your job is to parallel the argument, you must parallel the conclusion as well as the premises, making sure to “match” the certainty level of all subcomponents in the argument. The correct answer choice should contain an argument that:
- (1) infers fact from opinion;
(2) provides evidence that the opinion is very reliable;
(3) presents the opinion as a conditional statement, and
(4) engages in probabilistic reasoning in reaching the conclusion.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect, because the conditional relationship supporting the conclusion is presented as a fact (“if the company’s data are accurate, the medication must be safe”), while the opinion indicates that the sufficient condition of that relationship has been met (“the data are accurate”). This is the reverse of how the premises are structured in the stimulus. This answer choice fails the Premise Test, and is therefore incorrect.
Answer choice (B): This answer choice can be immediately eliminated because its conclusion does not feature the same probabilistic language as in the stimulus. A savvy test taker who notices this difference may choose not to even diagram it, and automatically eliminate it from consideration.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. The argument infers fact from opinion, provides evidence that the opinion is very reliable, presents the opinion as a conditional statement, and also engages in probabilistic reasoning in reaching the conclusion. The argument, when reworded, is structured as follows:
- Premise (1): (Opinion) Data is accurate Medication is safe
Premise (2): (Fact) The journal is rarely wrong (i.e. it is reliable)
Premise (3): (Fact) Data is accurate
Conclusion: (Fact) Medication is probably safe
Answer choice (D): This answer choice is incorrect, because we have no factual evidence suggesting that the sufficient condition of the conditional relationship has been met. Both the conditional relationship and the evidence in question are presented as opinion, not fact.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice can immediately be eliminated, because the conclusion is not supported by a premise containing conditional reasoning.