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#23444
Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning-#%. The correct answer choice is (A)


In this stimulus, the author presents a very questionable way to determine an average fish weight: anglers got to choose their favorite two fish! They likely have a natural preference for larger fish, so the sample of fish to be weighed is probably going to be heavier than average.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice; the sample of fish used is likely to be heavier than average, that is, unrepresentative of the general population of fish in the River.

Answer choice (B): The problem is not that the evidence is anecdotal, but that it is not representative of the river's average fish weight.

Answer choice (C): Since the stimulus specifies that the number they seek is the average weight at the beginning of the season, seasonal variation is irrelevant and this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): There is no reason to consider figures from past seasons, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): The author discusses only trout, so it is irrelevant whether or not other types of fish were caught.
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 NJL2022
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#90324
Hi PS Staff,

To be clear, understand now why ans choice (A) is correct, however need clarification on why ans choice (B) is incorrect. Evidence (the fish measured) being "anecdotal" (subjectively based) led me to believe this was correct due to the fact the fish that were chosen based on an individual fisherman's personal preference. I stayed away from (A) because it mentioned generalization which I did not think was explicit enough to match the term "average" as stated in the passage.

I may be overthinking it, but would appreciate a nudge in the right direction to adjust my thought process, as this should have been a fairly easy question. Thanks.
 Jeremy Press
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#90356
Hi Nathan,

Rejecting answer choice B turns on the technical meaning of the term "anecdotal." Anecdotal evidence is evidence that is reported (told) by way of observation. The scientists had the fish themselves, which are not something being "told" by someone else. They're a concrete item. That by itself means they're not anecdotal.

The reason the fish used likely do not represent the average fish is because those fish came from the anglers who did best that day (who caught 2 or more fish). That sample is, as answer choice A says, "unlikely" to be representative, because it would exclude other anglers' fish (who only caught 1 trout) and it potentially excludes trout who the anglers didn't happen to find. Just remember that any time a conclusion relies on a sample of a larger population, a representativeness problem could be present. And in this case that problem is confirmed by the design of the experiment, which naturally excluded the results of some fishermen, and didn't include anything other than what fishermen would catch.

I hope this helps!
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 NJL2022
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#90400
Got it, I mistook the definition for anecdotal. Also see now how the sample population surveyed may not have represented all anglers and/or other fish. Thanks!
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 atierney
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#90410
Yes, E would really be fighting the premises, which, although not necessarily an incorrect strategy for argumentation, may be taken to be stipulated as true for each LSAT argument. Here, thus, they stipulate that trouts were caught and trouts were chosen to be weighed; thus, we don't have to consider whether other fish were mistakenly weighed in the sample in order to conclude the average weight of trout in the river.

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