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#33629
Complete Question Explanation
(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.
 deck1134
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#48759
Hi PowerScore Staff,

I was able to eliminate B, C, and E with ease, but was somewhat stuck between A and D. Isn't it a fair assumption that his results were not carefully derived if he "estimated the abrasive force" and concluded that the results "probably" would have mattered? That isn't scientific, which seemed to point to A. What am I missing here?
 Adam Tyson
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#49786
Two problems arise with answer A, Deck. The first is that there is no evidence that Temple attempted to use a "strict scientific methodology" in his work. The facts you raised - estimations, using turkeys, the fact that he grossly under-counted the number of Calvaria major speciments - point to his being far from strict.

But another problem is found in the relationship between A and D. If answer A is true, then doesn't that mean that D is ALSO true? His results did appear to support his hypothesis, albeit only on the surface. That's the right prephrase here when looking at that language about a "semblance of rigor": just the appearance, without the substance. If we accept answer A, we must also accept answer D, and that violates the Uniqueness Principle of answer choices. There can be only one! When one answer forces another to also be true, the one doing the forcing cannot be correct. For example, if you have to choose between "X is the best choice" and "X is a better choice than Y," you have to eliminate that first option because if you were to accept that X was best then you would also have to accept that X is better than Y.

That principle comes up surprisingly often, so look for that in the relationship between your contenders, and use it to your advantage.

Keep at it!
 deck1134
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#49879
Interesting! I hadn't thought about that principle in an elimination capacity. Thanks!
 BigBadDog
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#66250
The explanation above states that the author does not differentiate between first and second hand research.

The passage, however, does. "Although direct proof was unattainable, Temple did offer some additional findings in support..." (Line 31-33). Doesn't this qualify as secondhand vs firsthand? He assumed that the trees were a certain age (secondhand info) and then conducted primary research with birds to examine the seeds. Doesn't this second type of research, the firsthand experimentation, contradict the above?

Secondarily, the "semblance of rigor" seems to apply to the change from observation to experimentation?

I did this passage twice, with one month between takes. I've missed this question both times, and have carefully thought about each answer. PLEASE HELP!
 Adam Tyson
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#66303
The age of the trees is secondhand info, obtained by foresters. The research done with turkeys was firsthand - he did it himself, and drew his own conclusions based on it. Everything about answer C is true and accurate, BigBadDog - but none of it answers the question being asked!

The question is asking us what the author meant by the phrase "semblance of rigor." That phrase was another way of saying "it looked legit on the surface, if you didn't look too closely." "Semblance" is about appearances being different than reality. We need an answer that tells us that the author was casting doubt on the legitimacy of Temple's work, saying it may have looked okay but it really wasn't! Answer C tells us nothing about whether his work was good or not, or what the author thought about it. It's answer D that gives us that idea of superficiality, or surface appearances that aren't reliable indicators of what's really going on underneath.

Our author isn't trying to say that Temple's work was "careful and accurate." He's trying to say it's neither of those things! That's what really makes C a loser answer.

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