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Main Point. The correct answer choice is (C)
Some students find it difficult to correctly identify the conclusion to this argument, because there is no traditional conclusion indicator, such as “thus,” “so,” or “therefore.” However, it is important that you not merely rely on conclusion or premise indicators to assist you in identifying the conclusion to an argument. As this example demonstrates, such indicators are not necessary. They often are missing in structural questions, such as this Main Point question, in which the entire point of the question is to identify the conclusion. Instead of indicator words, focus on the relationship of the parts of the argument to each other part.
Here, the stimulus author foreshadows the conclusion by using a common rhetorical technique, in which the author introduces some other person’s view, with which the author disagrees, immediately prior to providing the author’s own position. In this case, the author began, “Some heartburn-medication advertisements imply...” This introduction foreshadows that the author’s conclusion will disagree with the implication made by the advertisements, and the author concludes that “This (i.e., the implication by some heartburn-medication advertisements) is simply false.”
“This is simply false” does not provide support to any other piece of the argument, but is itself supported by the third and fourth sentences of the stimulus. Because it is supported by other parts of the stimulus and does not support any other part, the statement that “this is simply false” is the conclusion.
Answer choice (A): This statement was a premise offered in support of the conclusion.
Answer choice (B): While this causal statement makes sense in the context of the stimulus, the stimulus did not include a causal statement. Rather than causality, the stimulus presented a conditional relationship, in which only the people who have cells similar to those in the stomach’s lining developing in their lower esophagus have an increased risk of developing cancer because of heartburn.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. While the information in this answer choice is worded from a negative perspective, such that “unrelieved heartburn is not likely to cause esophageal cancer,” it is a restatement of the conclusion, that it is false to imply that unrelieved heartburn is likely to cause esophageal cancer.
Answer choice (D): This statement was a claim presented by the argument to introduce the topic and concerning which the author disagreed.
Answer choice (E): While being close to a statement presented in the stimulus, that “only 5 percent of people with severe heartburn have a condition called Barrett’s esophagus,” it is not identical to that statement. The difference between the statements is that the information in this answer choice refers to a small percentage of the people who see the advertisement, as opposed to a small percentage of people with severe heartburn.