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## #24 - Columnist: The amount of acidic pollutants released in

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#22815
Complete Question Explanation

WeakenX-CE. The correct answer choice is (A)

Because the amount of acidic pollutants released into the air has decreased, the author concludes that the negative effects of acid rain will decrease as well. This argument is quite weak, as we don't know if there is a direct correlation between the amount of acidic pollutants in the air and the effects of acid rain. It is quite possible that just as much environmental damage can be caused by much smaller quantities of acid rain (i.e. that the effects are cumulative), or that just as much acid rain will fall despite the decreased amount of acidic pollutants in the air.

The causal relationship can be summarized as follows:
• Cause Effect

Decreased levels of acidic pollutants Decreased damage from acid rain
To weaken this argument, you need to show that the decreased amount of acidic pollutants will not lead to decreased environmental damage (i.e. that it will cause just as much damage as before). Four of the answer choices will do just that; the answer choice that does NOT weaken the argument will be correct.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. The ability of some ecosystems to reduce the negative effects of increased levels of acids in the environment is irrelevant to determining whether decreased levels of acidic pollutants will decrease the damage from acid rain. Because this answer choice has no effect on the columnist's conclusion, it is correct.

Answer choice (B): If the amount of acid-neutralizing buffers released into the air has decreased alongside the decreased levels of acidic pollutants, then the remaining pollutants might not be neutralized as efficiently as before, and cause a comparable amount of damage in the form of acid rain. Because this answer choice implies that the damage from acid rain will not decrease as much as the columnist expects, it weakens her argument and is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): If the current decrease in acidic pollutants is expected to end soon, the columnist's optimism is not warranted. This answer choice weakens the argument and is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): If the environmental effects of acid rain are independent of the current acid rain levels, then less rain will not necessarily result in less damage. This answer choice weakens the argument and is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): If the soils of many ecosystems exposed to acid rain have already been exhausted of the minerals that help protect them from the rain's effects, then the lower levels of acidic pollutants might cause just as much damage as before. Because this answer choice implies that the columnist's optimism is unwarranted, it weakens her argument and is incorrect.
niketown3000
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#3581
For Lesson 3HW I had trouble with Question 32

Q32: Can you further explain; I did not understand the answer explanations.
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#3583
Hi, can you clarify your thinking on this question? The more information you provide about your thought process, the more easily we can assist you. Also, can you please provide us with the page number? This will help our experts locate the question faster.

Thanks!
Steve Stein
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#3594
Here the columnist points out that the level of acidic pollutant release has decreased throughout the world in the last few decades. Based on this, the author concludes that we should expect an overall decrease in the detrimental effects of acid rain, which is caused by such pollutants.

The question is followed by a Weaken Except question, which means that among the five answer choices, four will effectively weaken the author's conclusion and will likely provide reasons that we should not expect the referenced decrease in acid rain damage based on the information provided. The correct answer choice will not weaken the author's argument (it might strengthen the argument, or it might be entirely irrelevant).

Since answer choice A doesn't hurt the author's conclusion (the conclusion that we can expect a decrease in the damage from acid rain), it is the correct answer to this Weaken Except question. The other answer choices all give us reasons to believe that maybe we shouldn't expect that decrease in acid rain damage that the author predicts.

Let me know whether that clears this one up--thanks!

~Steve
niketown3000
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#3620
makes sense thank you! Love the powerscore classes
lbayliyeva@unm.edu
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#15472
I am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around question 32.
Would it be possible to walk me through how to attack this Weaken X question?
I tried reading online analysis for this question, I did not find it helpful.

Thank you so much for your help in advance.
Lucas Moreau
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#15481
Hello, eva,

Let me try and break this down, wrong answer choice by wrong answer choice. The conclusion is that we can expect an overall decrease in the negative effects of acid rain, because the amount of acids released into the air has decreased over the last several decades. Therefore:

B weakens, because while the decrease of acidic pollutants has occurred over decades, the decrease of the buffers has occurred in recent years, and may mitigate the effects of the slow decline in acidic pollutants or even eliminate it entirely. Even if there's less acidic pollutants, there being less buffers will be sort of an effective increase in the amount of acid in the air.

C weakens, because it shows that we cannot expect an overall decrease just on the basis of the declining amount of acidic pollutants over the last few years. If the amount is going to increase in future years, then so will the negative environmental effects!

D weakens, because it shows that the declining amount of acidic pollutants doesn't actually translate to less damage caused by acid rain. If it's cumulative, then the damage will continue to get worse as long as there is any acid rain, which there still will be.

E weakens, because there being less acid rain doesn't help if the defense mechanisms of many ecosystems have been exhausted. Now the effects of any acid rain are likely to be much more damaging than before.

Therefore, by process of elimination, A is the correct answer. A doesn't harm the conclusion in the slightest.

Hope that helps,
Lucas Moreau
mariahenain
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#36450
Dear PS,

I can't wrap my head around this question. I chose answer choice D, knowing that the 4 incorrect answers weaken and the 1 correct answer does not weaken. I have read the explanations, but the question and answers are still not clear. Please explain!
Adam Tyson
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#36546
I'll see what I can do, Maria, to supplement the explanations we've already shared in this thread.

The author wants us to believe that the recent reductions in acidic pollutants will result in a reduction in the amount of acid rain and therefore we will see a reduction in damage caused by acid rain.

Answer D weakens this claim by suggesting that current acid rain levels don't matter so much, because the damage has built up over time and isn't really affected by current levels of acid rain. Less acid rain now won't reduce the damage because the damage has already been done! That's like saying that I will have fewer aches and pains from my broken bones now that I have stopped skiing, when the bones are already broken and won't get "un-broken" just because I stopped doing the thing that broke them in the first place! I may not get new broken bones, but the damage from the old breaks won't be lessened any.

Answer A is the one that doesn't weaken the argument because it doesn't do anything to call into question the claim that we will see reduced damaged from acid rain now that there will be less acid rain. If anything, A might strengthen the claim, because if the environment has these sophisticated mechanisms that reduce the damage, maybe the reduction in acid rain will allow these mechanisms to start reversing the damage and the environment will heal itself.

I hope that helps reduce the damage inflicted by this question on you!
Coleman
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#86858
This is weaken EXCEPT question and throughout the studying, I learned one of the ways to attack the causal relationship given in the stimulus is giving an alternative reason for the effect. I thought answer choice (A) gives an alternative cause for the expected decrease in the overall negative environmental effect. It is not that "decrease in acidic pollutants" but instead, some sophisticated mechanism naturally developed by the ecosystem.
Can you clarify what I missed in this reasoning?

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