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(See the complete passage discussion here: lsat/viewtopic.php?t=13789)
The correct answer choice is (D)
Purpose questions introducing a Specific Reference usually require a more complete understanding of the context in which the referenced text appears, and are best approached with an active prephrase.
This question asks us to evaluate the function of the phrase “semblance of rigor” (lines 33-34), as it is used in the third paragraph. The phrase exhibits skepticism toward Temple’s hypothesis, implying that his experimental findings only appear to support it (but may not adequately do so).
Answer choice (A): This answer choice may seem attractive, because it agrees with our prephrase that Temple’s findings “merely appeared” to support his hypothesis. However, we have no evidence that they were “not carefully derived”: nowhere in the third paragraph is the manner in which Temple derived his results overtly criticized. This answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (B): This is a Shell Game answer. Direct proof of Temple’s hypothesis is indeed “unattainable” (line 31), but this has nothing to do with the meaning of the phrase in question. Just because some remark appears in the same sentence as the referenced text does not mean that it would automatically provide a suitable answer.
Answer choice (C): Hopefully, you were able to eliminate this answer choice relatively quickly, because the author does not seek to differentiate between Temple’s firsthand and secondhand research. It is unclear how the phrase “semblance of rigor” would relate to such an evaluation.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Indeed, the experimental results obtained by Temple can properly be described as quantitative, as they estimate quantifiable characteristics such as the abrasive forces within the dodo’s gizzard. The term “semblance” clearly suggests that these results only appear to bolster the credibility of Temple’s hypothesis.
Answer choice (E): The author never attempts to defend the scientific precision and creativity of Temple’s experimentation, and no such purpose can be inferred from the phrase “semblance of rigor.” This answer choice is incorrect.