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I've done, maybe 30, 40 something of these tests and every time after, I feel like I'm rationalizing why their answer was correct and mine was wrong.

I read the above posts, and I can sort of see why D is better than A... sort of... the "hypothesis" is the beliefs of all these people... that's very funny calling that a "hypothesis" by the way. And then the event, is after the "If so, " and that's where the argument actually starts. So choosing D over A requires seeing what's after the "If so, " as the "event" in question, and what people believe as the "hypothesis"... if you lump the "If so" and what people believe together, then you might miss it.

BUT WAIT. My answer was B?!? So explain this to me... the author says people believe the galaxy will be colonized by trillions of humans... that's one of the premises, that belief... but then he says "we have no reason to think we are unrepresentative"... well, it's common sense that there aren't trillions of people inn the world... so those two things contradict each other. You can't believe that there will be many more people later and also not think yourself unrepresentative. Moreover, that's kind of the heart of his flawed logic.

I just couldn't rule this answer out when I was doing it. If I really stretched myself, now, looking at this, I could claim that "no reason to think we are unrepresentative" wasn't a conclusion, it was another premise... in other words, had B been "stating a premise that implicitly contradicts one of the premises that the argument accepts", then B would have been right.

But what is doing the implicit contradicting? B isn't "has a conclusion that implicitly contradicts one of the premises"... it's "drawing a conclusion" so one could say that in drawing the conclusion, premises involved in the conclusion that are contradictory could be part of that process of "drawing a conclusion".

So now how can I really rule out B, and in the 60 seconds I have to do this problem.
 Francis O'Rourke
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Within 60 seconds? In that time you should be able to see that the scientist does not accept any premise which the scientist's conclusion contradicts, as answer choice (B) claims the scientist does. The argument may contradict some idea, but that idea is nothing that the scientist agrees with.

The phrase "that the argument accepts" is key here. If you read every word of the answer choice, this phrase should immediately signal to you that the answer choice is incorrect and you can move on to the other options.

You may also have misunderstood the statement "we have no reason to think we are unrepresentative". The argument tells us that we are not unrepresentative of "humans ever to live". Am I right to think that you are understanding this statement to mean "'representative [of people who believe the galaxy... ]"? The scientist states that some people believe this, not that all people believe this.
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I don't understand what you're saying. I said "You can't believe that there will be many more people later and also not think yourself unrepresentative." so no, that's nothing to do with the people who believe this.

And "argument accepts"... he does accept it: "if so, the vast majority of humans ever to live would be alive during this period of colonization"... he's accepting that if the galaxy is colonized, most people will live later.
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Hi Peterius,

This problem is a tough one! The Scientist's argument is so ridiculous that it's a challenge to unpack exactly why it's ridiculous. :)

As Francis mentioned, the Scientist's conclusion in this problem doesn't contradict any of the premises he accepts.

The conclusion of this argument is that the prediction (galaxy-wide colonization) won't happen. This conclusion does not contradict any of the premises of the argument (e.g. that humans today are representative of humans throughout time).

The scientist hypothesizes that, throughout all of human history (from the Stone Age to the Space Age, spanning many thousands of years), trillions and trillions of people will exist. He then says that we don't have any reason to think that the 6 billion people who are living right now are unrepresentative of humanity as a whole. Humans today may look, act, and live like humans throughout history have done.

There's no contradiction in believing both that (1) humans today are representative of humans throughout time and (2) galaxy-wide colonization won't happen. Those can both be true at the same time.

One thing to keep in mind when tackling method of reasoning questions -- you are just asked to describe the way the author constructs his argument (even when it is a flawed argument). The goal here is not to spot the flaw, just to describe, in abstract terms, how the argument is constructed.

I hope this helps! Good luck studying.
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Could someone please rephrase answer choice D? I didn't choose it, because the language threw me off.
 Brook Miscoski
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(D) If the hypothesis is true, event X would probably occur. Event X hasn't occurred, so the hypothesis is probably false.
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Thank you for this forum, its a HUGE help in studying for the LSAT. As I read through the answer posted by students and administrators, I didn't see an explanation for why B was incorrect. Well, let me re-phrase. There is an explanation, but I suppose I read something that lead me to believe there was a contradiction. I took the idea that the galaxy would eventually be colonized and concluding that odds are slim was inherently contradictory. I did have it narrowed down to B and D, but was unsure if given the context of the stimulus peoples beliefs qualified for a hypothesis. If maybe someone can explain why, or how the above is not contradictory, it would be greatly appreciated.
 Claire Horan
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Hi mrhansen,

(D) is the best answer because it exactly describes what is happening in the stimulus argument: the argument proceeds by inferring (deduces from reasoning) that since an event ("us" being "alive during this period of colonization") that is taken to be likely ("the odds are overwhelming") on a given hypothesis ("the galaxy will eventually be colonized by trillions of humans") has not occurred ("we are not alive during this period"), the hypothesis ("that such colonization will ever happen") is probably false ("odds are slim").

I highly recommend mapping structural terms like "hypothesis," "premise" and "conclusion" onto specific parts of the stimulus in this type of question. I understand why you were hesitant about applying the word "hypothesis" to the belief described in the stimulus, but remember that a hypothesis is simply a supposition based on some evidence. The limited evidence is the "human tendency to explore and colonize near areas" referred to in the first sentence of the stimulus.

As for why (B) is wrong, it sounds like you have labeled "the galaxy would eventually be colonized" as a premise, but it is not a premise. Remember that a premise is a statement that the speaker accepts as true. The scientist does not accept that the galaxy will eventually be colonized. In fact, the argument is aimed at evaluating whether this is likely.

I hope this explanation helps. Please post any additional questions!
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I chose B too. But now that someone raised the issue of the author not agreeing with the first part of stimulus, I now understand why B cannot be correct. Remember all, that the LR Bible states when you see this configuration: "Some people think..." typically the author is going to take a position against what some people think. This phrase rules out the fact that the author's conclusion contradicts a premise that he does not accept. When you look at the premise that he does accept which is: "...because we are not alive during this period..." then you realize that the author does not contradict this premise. Remembering that little phrase: "Some people think..." will get you the right answer. Another thing that possibly might help is the fact that scientists typically talk in terms of hypotheses. Answer D is the only choice with that word. I don't know if the latter recommendation would work in every case, but it sure does in this one. All I can say is: EARTH TO LSAC WRITERS. EARTH TO LSAC WRITERS. You can come on back down now. There's always reconciliation. :-D
 Paul Marsh
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Hi Hope! I'm glad you figured this one out. And while I definitely wouldn't recommend narrowing down answer choices for science-based questions based on the word "hypothesis", you are right on the money that a very common argument type for Logical Reasoning stimuluses is to present a commonly held belief (like "some people think...") and then explain why it's wrong.

Nice going!

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