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Weaken. The correct answer choice is (A)
In this Stimulus, Dr. Ruiz concludes that Dr. Smith should not be included on a panel that examines the dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke. One of the reasons for this is because Dr. Ruiz, as organizer of the panel, wants the panel to examine the issue objectively before coming to any conclusion. Dr. Smith has expressed some strong antismoking views in public and is qualified to serve on this panel.
Again, in attacking the stimulus, why does Dr. Ruiz reach this conclusion? He states that he wants the panel to examine the issue in an unbiased manner before reaching its findings, and apparently he fears Dr. Smith’s outspoken views will compromise the panel’s objectivity.
The Question Stem reveals that this is a weaken question. In typical LSAT fashion however, it is not asked directly; instead, the question is phrased thusly: “which of the following, if true, provides the strongest basis for countering Dr. Ruiz’s argument that Dr. Smith should not be included on the panel?” Do not let this wordiness distract you. Instead, pause and examine the question. If you want to counter Dr. Ruiz’s argument, you will dispute his conclusion that Dr. Smith should be omitted from the panel, and this question asks what is the strongest way to do this. In other words, what is the best way to weaken Dr. Ruiz’s conclusion that Dr. Smith should not be included. In a speeded test as this one, the test-makers are counting on there being a few errors made because of careless reading; that is one of the main reasons why questions are asked in convoluted manners. If you are not careful in reading the Question Stem, you may approach this question as a strengthen question rather than a weaken question.
Answer Choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. It gives an example of how objectivity could be preserved while still including people who have strong opinions: include people with conflicting views. The presence of conflicting views gives the appearance of objectivity. Because this answer weakens Dr. Ruiz’s conclusion the most, it is the correct answer choice.
Answer Choice (B): This answer strengthens Dr. Ruiz’s argument. His primary concern is lack of objectivity, and if new evidence is not accepted unless it supports someone’s view, his concerns are well-founded, not weakened.
Answer Choice (C): This answer does not strengthen Dr. Ruiz’s argument but it also does not weaken it. Answer Choice (C) only deals with the likelihood of lively discussions, not the lack of objectivity, which is the main premise for Dr. Ruiz’s conclusion.
Answer Choice (D): This answer discusses fundraising, not objectivity. While, Answer Choice (D) could weaken the conclusion that Dr. Smith should be excluded, it introduces something entirely new to the equation – fundraising. Having already seen Answer Choice (A) as a good answer, Answer Choice (D) should be eliminated. It is an answer that could be right, but it certainly is not more correct that Answer Choice (A).
Answer Choice (E): This answer strengthens Dr. Ruiz’s conclusion and therefore should be eliminated.