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 desmail
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#3798
Hi,

I know why answer (E) is correct, I was just wondering what does answer choice (C) mean?

Is it saying that the author is saying that the cause occurred when really only the event occurred? Could you give me a brief example of what scenario would match this answer choice? I always get confused whenever these answer choices say "confuses this for that" and get mixed up between the "this" and the "that."

Thank you!
Dana
 Steve Stein
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#3804
Hi Dana,

That's an interesting one--the answer choice that you refer to makes the distinction between proving that something happened, and proving its cause. For example:

I know that Mike spilled paint on the floor; after all, the paint stain is still there!

With this example, I've only established that paint was spilled--I didn't establish that Mike caused it.

let me know if this makes sense--thanks!

~Steve
 desmail
  • Posts: 50
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#3806
Oh okay, thanks for clearing that up. So where the answer says "is confused with having established the cause of that event" when we say "is confused with" and what follows after it is that generally the mistake that occurs?

Does "confused with" mean that the author does not distinguish between the two? (He thinks that just because an event occurred it is the same as establishing the cause)? Or does it mean he thinks its something when it really is something else? I hope I'm making sense!

Thanks!
 Adam Tyson
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#3807
The former, Desmail - "is confused with" means, in this case, that he has taken the existence of something as being evidence of the cause of that thing. Just because A happened doesn't mean B caused it - there could be an entirely different cause.

Adam Tyson
PowerScore LSAT Instructor
 GLMDYP
  • Posts: 100
  • Joined: Aug 19, 2013
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#12749
Hi!
For this question, I think (D) is equally right. The conclusion only came from a three-million-year-old fossil, but the author overwhelmingly concluded that three million years ago the Antarctic ice sheet must temporarily have melt. Am I right about this?
Thanks!
 Lucas Moreau
PowerScore Staff
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#12819
Hello, GLMDYP,

This question has that word in its question stem that is more troublesome than almost any other on the LSAT: most. As in, "most vulnerable to". Unfortunately, this means that there can be several answer choices that technically satisfy the demand of the question stem, but the correct one is the one that does so to the greatest degree. This is what we're faced with here.

The author has shades of answer choice D's flaw in his argument, but that's not really what the flaw is about. The author is trying to link one single piece of evidence (the 3mil fossil) to one single event (the melting of the ice sheet 3mil ago), not show that one piece of evidence proves a general trend of such events.

E is better, since it's the author's more primary flaw. He sees a 3mil fossil and immediately concludes that it can only have arrived there through a melting of the ice sheet. He never even considers other possibilities (perhaps the ice sheet...cracked, and fossils fell in?), but instantly picks one explanation and insists on it.

Hope that helps,
Lucas Moreau
PowerScore
 srcline@noctrl.edu
  • Posts: 243
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#21567
Hello,

So this is a flaw question, and I am having a hard time understanding why E is the correct answer? Would D not be correct because of the latter part of the answer choice where it says " evidence from a narrowly restricted range of cases" where the stimulus only discusses " 3 million year old fossils of a kind previously found only in ocean floor sediments"?

Thankyou
Sarah
 Robert Carroll
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#21603
Sarah,

The issue here is that the stimulus is consistent with two explanations - the author's explanation or the explanation that perhaps Antarctica had only been covered by ice for less than three million years. The author claims the ice has to have melted, but it's fair to ask what ice? Only if you assume there has been ice there for fourteen million years do you need to explain how it temporarily melted. What if it wasn't there three million years ago? Then there was nothing to melt.

Answer choice (D) is not correct because the evidence and the conclusion are both limited to Antarctica. There is no issue here going from a small set of cases to a broader point.

Robert Carroll
 srcline@noctrl.edu
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#21616
Hello Robert

I think I understand, D is incorrect because the stimulus does not discuss any other narrowly restricted cases,it just mentions ice sheet covering central Antarctica.

Thankyou
Sarah
 Administrator
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#23934
Complete Question Explanation

Flaw-CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

Because the fossils discovered in Antarctica were typically found only in ocean-floor sediments, the author concludes that the ice must have melted and submerged Antarctica under the sea:
  • ..... Cause ..... ..... ..... Effect

    Melting of ice ..... :arrow: ..... Fossils found in Antarctica
It is entirely plausible, of course, that there is another explanation for discovering the fossils there. The fact that they were previously found only in ocean floor sediments does not preclude the possibility that the same type of fossil can be found elsewhere as well. In other words, the author treats the bizarre discovery of fossils in Antarctica as having only one possible explanation. Answer choice (E) presents the best illustration of this flaw and is therefore correct.

Answer choice (A): The author tries to discredit the widely believed position that Antarctica was covered by ice for 14 million years, not establish it as true. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): The author never suggested that either of two possible explanations could independently account for the discovery of fossils in Antarctica. Her mistake is precisely that she never acknowledged the possibility of having an alternate explanation. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): The author never established the occurrence of any event. This is precisely what the flaw in the argument is: the evidence presented is insufficient to establish that Antarctica was submerged under water 3 million years ago. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): While this may seem like an attractive answer at first, the issue with the fossil evidence is not that it is too “narrow.” The problem is that there are multiple ways of explaining their presence in Antarctica. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. See discussion above.

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