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#27921
Complete Question Explanation

Justify the Conclusion. The correct answer choice is (B)

In this stimulus, a geneticist states that genes have a strong tendency to self-replicate in a manner similar to that of viruses. Based on this fact, some biologists call genes “selfish.” Although the term is not meant to reflect the attitudes or intentions underlying this behavior, the geneticist concludes that the term “selfish” is misapplied to genes, because selfishness only concerns behavior that is best for oneself, and that replicating one’s self is not selfish:

  • Premise:

    Selfish ..... :arrow: ..... concerns behavior that is best for oneself

    From the above statement we can also draw the contrapositive:


    concerns behavior that is best for oneself ..... :arrow: ..... Selfish

    Conclusion:

    Gene: ..... self-replicating ..... :arrow: ..... selfish
Since we are asked to find the answer that would justify this conclusion, we should be looking for an answer choice that makes the conclusion of the stimulus undeniable. We should choose the answer choice which would force the conclusion to follow, by tying together the “rogue elements” of the above conditional argument: self-replication and behavior that is not necessarily selfish.

Answer choice (A): The relative importance of selfishness vs. altruism is irrelevant to the geneticist’s argument, and the notion of bringing about the best conditions for others is not discussed in the stimulus. Further, it is clear that this answer choice does not provide the link as prephrased above, and does not justify the conclusion that about the applicability of the term “selfish” to replicating genes.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. “Creating replicas of oneself (otherwise known as self-replicating) does not help bring about the best conditions for oneself” can be diagrammed as follows:
  • Self-replicating ..... :arrow: ..... concerns behavior that is best for oneself
We can link this with the premise from the stimulus, as follows:
  • Self-replicating ..... :arrow: ..... concerns behavior that is best for oneself ..... :arrow: ..... Selfish

As we can see, this extra premise links the elements discussed above, and in so doing justifies the conclusion that self-replication is not selfish, and that such a characterization represents a misnomer.

Answer choice (C): Since the geneticist is concerned with the use of selfish in the behavioral sense, referring to the described use as a misnomer, the geneticist’s opinion must be that the same rules should apply, and that there is compatibility between the behavioral and everyday definitions of “selfish.” Since this answer choice is contrary to the information provided in the stimulus, it cannot justify the geneticist’s conclusion.

Answer choice (D): The geneticist does not ignore the fact that self-replication is a phenomenon that is not limited to genes, and in fact acknowledges that viruses do this as well. The assertion in this answer choice is inapplicable to the geneticist, who does not ignore this fact, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): According to the stimulus, biologists do have sufficient evidence to determine the applicability of the term selfish. The geneticist just believes that they should not call self-replication selfish, based on current knowledge. Since the geneticist has already rendered an opinion, it cannot be the case that an assumption of the argument is that there is insufficient evidence to do so, and biologists presumably have access to the same evidence as geneticists. This answer choice should therefore be eliminated.
 lsatbossintraining
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#71560
Hi -

Under timed conditions, I didn’t break the stimulus down in conditional statements and tend to avoid doing so unless there‘s a clear conditional argument being made.

Would you mind walking through this question with a less mechanical approach - or is this the preferred / most efficient way to attack this one.

Somehow got this right on intuition alone, though it was clearly a lucky pick.

Many thanks,
Kyle
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 KelseyWoods
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#71573
Hi Kyle,

You could solve this without diagramming the conditional reasoning, but it still requires a solid understanding of the underlying logic of this argument. The conclusion is "creating replicas of oneself is not selfish" and it is based on the premise "selfishness only concerns bringing about the best conditions for oneself." In Justify questions, we often are linking something in the conclusion back to the premises. In this case, the concept of "selfishness" is already addressed in both the premise and the conclusion, so we are likely looking for an answer choice that connects "creating replicas of oneself" and "bringing about the best conditions for oneself." To justify the argument that creating replicas of oneself is not selfish, we would need to show that creating replicas of oneself does not bring about the best conditions for oneself, since the premise tells us that's basically what selfishness is. Answer choice (B) does this for us and so it is the correct answer.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey
 lsatbossintraining
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#71583
Very helpful! Thanks again!
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 spikesjb
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#83426
Can you explain* how "selfishness only concerns behavior that is best for ones self" equates to

Selfish --> concerns behavior that is best for oneself

*What is confusing me is how "selfishness only concerns" ends up being the sufficient indicator? Isn't "
only" a necessary indicator and in this sentence "only" is referring to something about selfishness?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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#83436
Hi spikes,

You are correct that only is a necessary indicator. But only here is not modifying selfishness, it's modifying the rest of the statement. Only modifies what comes after it ("bringing about the best conditions for oneself"). The sufficient condition (selfishness) doesn't have an indicator term here. That's not that unusual. We just recognize that the sufficient condition is the condition that is not the necessary condition. Once we've identified that "only" and the necessary condition, we can work backward to see that selfishness is sufficient.

Hope that helps
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 spikesjb
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#83439
That makes sense! Thank you for that.

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