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Hi Powerscore!
For this question, I chose (B). But the answer is (E), which, for me, is a quibble. Can you help me understand why (E) is correct?
 Jon Denning
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Thanks for the question. Not entirely sure I get the full gist of what you struggled with based on the word "quibble," but I'll do my best to clarify things.

The flaw here is a common one concerning the use of Evidence. While this can manifest itself in various ways, the key thing to keep in mind is this: lack of evidence for or against something, or even partial evidence for or against something, does not allow you to draw an absolute conclusion. For instance, consider a statement like "scientists have not so far been able to prove that psychics do not exist. Since we have no definitive evidence against their existence, some people must be psychic." Hopefully that strikes you as a terrible argument. It is.

And it's nearly identical to the argument in this question. The attorney says that because the accusers haven't given evidence showing Ziegler was sane at the time of the murder (only sane later), then he must have be insane at the time of the murder. No evidence for sanity = evidence for insanity.

That's what E is saying. There's evidence he was sane after the shooting, and no evidence he was or wasn't sane during the concluding he wasn't sane fails to consider that perhaps he was sane. We simply can't know either way, and concluding one side definitively fails to consider that the other side could be true.
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Hi Jon!

Your explanation above was super helpful! I just wanted to clarify one thing about answer choice b: if the answer had said "It concludes based on the lack of evidence of Ziegler being sane that Ziegler was not sane" would it have been correct? I think I saw "lack of evidence" in the answer and jumped to this one without totally reading what it said.

Thank you in advance!

 Robert Carroll
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It's difficult to change answer choice (B) enough to make it correct without just changing it into answer choice (E), the actual correct answer. This is not surprising, as a Flaw in the Reasoning question asks you to identify a flaw already present, and incorrect answer choices, even if they do represent flaws, will be describing flaws that just weren't present in the stimulus. Because there actually is some evidence of sanity, describing the situation as "it concludes based on the lack of evidence..." doesn't really work - there wasn't a total lack of evidence! Instead, you could say something like "it concludes based on the lack of direct evidence that no evidence existed," but at some point we're just getting closer to rephrasing answer choice (E).

What you should take away from answer choice (B) is that the phrase "lack of evidence" in the answer was intended to throw you off and attract you to the answer! You have to make sure it's using the phrase correctly.

Robert Carroll
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Evidence for, evidence against, lack of evidence for, lack of evidence against
You have to decompress what the answer choice was saying (and the wordiness), that's where the challenge was here.

Before arrest, lack of evidence he was sane (lawyer concludes he was insane)
After arrest, evidence he was sane (lawyer says he was sane)

So basically, he's trying to get at the fact that his client is innocent because he was crazy when he pulled the trigger, but he's normal now (as the opposition's evidence shows)... in trying to prove that there's no contradictions within the case, only missing evidence that supports his client's argument.

eliminate A, C, D because they are irrelevant
you're down to choices B and E

B says:there's evidence he wasn't sane (evidence he was insane), therefore no evidence for sane
E says: argument didn't eliminate the possibility that being sane after shooting may prove he was sane during shooting

B is wrong because there was NO evidence he was sane before, and there is evidence he was sane after. It doesn't say anywhere he was not sane.
...therefore E.

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