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 Arindom
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#22984
Hello,

Since the skeptic had concluded that the 3 methods used by Debbie did not achieve her effect, I thought the flaw is may be there was something else or something other (meaning some other method) that she used to achieve her effect. Thus, I picked ans choice D. Can you tell me why this is incorrect and ans choice A is correct?

Thank you!
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 Dave Killoran
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#22986
Hi Arindom,

Thanks for the question! While in the real world we would certainly ask the question that is inherent in answer choice (D), is (D) really a flaw of the argument? It's not, so let's talk about that. The argument explicitly concludes that it wasn't one of the three specific methods. So, on that basis, is it a flaw to fail to consider other methods? The author would say "No, I was just focusing on those three methods, not others, and I've ruled each of the three." The reason this answer is so attractive is that we naturally want a complete explanation of how Debbie did it, and one easy explanation is that Debbie used a 4th method that wasn't examined. But, that's not applicable when the conclusion is just that it wasn't any of these three specific methods. Very tricky!

On top of that, answer choice (A) is the first one out of the gate, and thus it's easy to kind of gloss right over. What (A) is saying is that it is possible that Debbie switched her method each time. Maybe while being videotaped she had a card planted. Then, when supplied a deck of cards, she used sleight of hand, and so on. So, if that's the case, she was using one of the three methods, and the author's conclusion is indeed flawed.

This is a great question to encounter before the LSAT, however, because it shows you how carefully you have to read each stimulus and question stem. If you stick to what is actually said, (D) looks a lot less attractive. But if you aren't super tight with the reading, (D) sounds great, and it's for that reason that a lot of people mistakenly select it. This is a game the LSAT loves to play, and you'll see it a lot, so definitely look this one over several times until you are 100% comfortable with it.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
 Arindom
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#22987
Thank you Dave!

After, I posted the question, I was wondering whether ans. choice A responded directly to or rather addressed the methods since the author concludes that specifically just these 3 methods were not used. Oh well.....

Thank you again.

Best,

- Arindom

P:S- Although I am new to this forum, I am glad you have such an excellent forum! :)
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 Dave Killoran
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#23010
Great, I'm really glad it's helping! And, it's better to ask and know for sure than to wonder about it, so you did the right thing in asking :-D

As a point of interest for other readers, I used this discussion as the inspiration for a post on The PowerScore LSAT Blog: LSAT LR Traps: How To Avoid the Natural Question Error
 snowy
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#63935
Hi! I chose B for this question, although A would have been my second choice.

I thought B was correct because the skeptic concludes that Debbie does not use sleight of hand. That's a certain and conclusive statement, despite only being tested for once. What if the video camera wasn't pointed at an angle that showed the sleight of hand?

Meanwhile, for A: the reason I had this one as a top option was because of what Dave said, in terms of the possibility that she switched her methods depending on which method the skeptic was testing at the time. However, I thought another, simpler way of reading A meant that there are multiple possible methods Debbie could have used, which made me rule A out, since the skeptic did indeed test for different possible methods. Since I was between the two answers and couldn't find anything wrong with B while I could think of a reading of A that ruled A out, I assumed that my original reading of A (that she could have switched her methods) was overthinking it and went with B as my answer.

This was the only question I got wrong on this section, and one that I wasn't expecting, so I would really appreciate any clarification on where I'm going wrong here. Thank you so much!!
 Zach Foreman
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#64237
Snowy,
It appears that you thought answer choice (B) said something like "The skeptic failed to consider the possibility that sleight of hand is not always detected by videotape (for example, by only filming one angle)." If that were an answer choice, then it would certainly be a flaw!
But that is not what B says. It says that sleight of hand "could also be detected by some means other than videotaping," such as being closely watched by trained magicians. Just because something can be done by some other means does not weaken or undermine the means used. Just because method B also works doesn't mean method A cannot work.
 bonnie_a
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#89915
Hello, I got this question wrong because I chose B instead of A (these two were my contenders!). After I read the stimulus, I realized Debbie may have taken turns on her tricks each time the skeptic held three trials. For instance, when videotaping was used, she used something else to prevent the skeptic from catching it. Not that Debbie did not use any of them but rather she might have switched them accordingly. As B says, what if the skeptic failed to consider that sleight of hand could be detected by other means too? The skeptic might then realize his failure to notice it could have come from his poor choice to use videotaping? Also, I ruled A out because it did not exactly point out this possible switch between tricks executed by Debbie. Not always using the same method, meaning using different methods, does not necessarily weaken the conclusion (or thus represent the flaw) that Debbie used neither of them? Let me know where I went wrong. Thank you so much!
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 Beatrice Brown
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#89956
Hi Bonnie! Thanks for your question, and happy to help explain this :)

Your prephrase was actually correct! The flaw in the argument is that the skeptic doesn't consider that Debbie may have switched her method during each of these trials. So maybe Debbie did use sleight of hand, but she did so during the second trial and not the first, which is why the videotape didn't find sleight of hand.

However, your prephrase matches answer choice (A), the correct answer, rather than answer choice (B), the incorrect answer. To see why, let's go through what answer choice (B) means. If answer choice (B) is corect, that means that the flaw in the argument is that the skeptic did not consider the fact that sleight of hand could have been detected by another means. However, this is not the flaw in the argument. Just because sleight of hand could be detected another way does not mean that the skeptic could not have detected it using videotaping, as he tried to. Furthermore, he may have used a different means and still not detected sleight of hand because she changed her method during that trial. So the issue is not that he chose a poor method of detecting sleight of hand, but that Debbie may not have used sleight of hand when he tried to detect that method.

The issue with the argument is that the skeptic concludes that none of these methods, not just sleight of hand, were used, without considering whether Debbie switched her method during each trial. This is exactly what answer choice (A) says, and this answer choice also matches your prephrase. If she did not always use the same method, then this is why the skeptic's trials failed to detect her method, because he was specifically testing for one method during each trial. Answer choice (A) accurately portrays this possible switch of methods by saying that the skeptic failed to consider that "Debbie did not always use the same method to achieve her effect."

To sum up, your prephrase was correct! The issue with the skeptic's argument is he fails to consider that Debbie may have switched her method during each trial, which is captured by answer choice (A). Answer choice (B) describes a different flaw and is thus incorrect.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!

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