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# PT71.S1.Q12: What do you do if you don't see anything wrong with the argument?

Alum Member
edited November 2021 2072 karma

As the header states, I didn't see any blatantly wrong with the argument. It was just a causal chain (Global warming causes temperatures to increase which causes greater proportion of precipitation to fall as rain which causes faster melting and more flooding and less storable water) and I didn't notice any significant gaps and so all the answer choices just looked and sounded correct. What do I do in a situation like this? I also thought JY's explanation for answer choice A was a stretch. I think it's correct to assume precipitation in this instance is referring to rain.

• Monthly Member
372 karma

This is a strengthen question with causal reasoning. So find an answer choice that shores up the relationship between the cause and the effect--look for another example of the same cause and effect perhaps?

• Alum Member
edited November 2021 2072 karma

@WinningHere said:
This is a strengthen question with causal reasoning. So find an answer choice that shores up the relationship between the cause and the effect--look for another example of the same cause and effect perhaps?

Yes…I know it’s causal but going by the info you put, A through C all appear to work.

• Alum Member
edited November 2021 35 karma

One thing that I have noticed with more difficult strengthen (and weaken as well) questions is that they are argument focused. They are less concerned with trying to strengthen the idea of the conclusion, but the strengthen the argument as a whole. If the argument is A -> B, they don't want you to reaffirm that B is the correct conclusion, but instead that it is A that leads to B.

The argument in this question looks like:

P1. Temperature likely to go up in the Rockies
P2. Rise in temperature will make rain more likely than snow
C. This will melt snow, cause spring flooding, and lower water reserves in summer.

A. confirms premise P1., but confirming a premise does not make the argument better, it only makes the premise better. Premise boosters are a common strengthen question trap.

C. confirms the conclusion, but ignores the argument. It says that there is indeed less summer water when the temperature is higher, but why? Maybe when temperature goes up, more plants grow and consume more water. This could be why there is less summer water. Although the conclusion of less water matches, the reason behind it does not. Since we have to strengthen the argument and not the conclusion, this answer fails to support the author.

D. makes a claim that is far too general.

E. makes a claim but ignores the argument.

B is the correct answer because it focuses on the argument. Not only does it is reassure us that there will be less summer water, but confirms that the reason for less water is the same reason stated by the author.

In short, these harder strengthen question really want us to tune into the exact argument. They don't want us to confirm the conclusion alone, but confirm the steps to get to that conclusion.

• Alum Member
edited November 2021 2072 karma

@maxjab00 said:
One thing that I have noticed with more difficult strengthen (and weaken as well) questions is that they are argument focused. They are less concerned with trying to strengthen the idea of the conclusion, but the strengthen the argument as a whole. If the argument is A -> B, they don't want you to reaffirm that B is the correct conclusion, but instead that it is A that leads to B.

The argument in this question looks like:

P1. Temperature likely to go up in the Rockies
P2. Rise in temperature will make rain more likely than snow
C. This will melt snow, cause spring flooding, and lower water reserves in summer.

A. confirms premise P1., but confirming a premise does not make the argument better, it only makes the premise better. Premise boosters are a common strengthen question trap.

C. confirms the conclusion, but ignores the argument. It says that there is indeed less summer water when the temperature is higher, but why? Maybe when temperature goes up, more plants grow and consume more water. This could be why there is less summer water. Although the conclusion of less water matches, the reason behind it does not. Since we have to strengthen the argument and not the conclusion, this answer fails to support the author.

D. makes a claim that is far too general.

E. makes a claim but ignores the argument.

B is the correct answer because it focuses on the argument. Not only does it is reassure us that there will be less summer water, but confirms that the reason for less water is the same reason stated by the author.

In short, these harder strengthen question really want us to tune into the exact argument. They don't want us to confirm the conclusion alone, but confirm the steps to get to that conclusion.

Does A even strengthen the premise? It talks about there being MORE rain but the stimulus is only talking about the PROPORTION of precipitation being rain. But even if it is a premise booster, why is that a problem exactly? Doesn’t B just restate what’s going on in the conclusion?

• Monthly Member
372 karma

A is saying the global warming is the cause. C is making a comparison regions with colder winters—we are talking about warmer.

• Alum Member
332 karma

Hey I would like to try this!
The correct answer should interact with the conclusion AND the connection between premises and conclusion. As maxjab00 explained, AC A may help with the premise, but it does not explain why the "melting snow" is the cause (as it only stated there's more rain, but it does not necessarily connect more rain and melting snow -- how do we know there will be melting snow as well?)
AC B and C looked alike, but as the statement is more about mountain regions in general rather than a specific area within a given mountain regions, AC B fits better. Hope it helps.

• Alum Member Sage 🍌
edited November 2021 26297 karma

This is a REALLY, uniquely hard question, and it makes for a really poor vehicle to discuss your actual question: "What do you do if you don't see anything wrong with the argument?" The problem with this question goes way beyond this. Just look at its curve: 25% of people scoring 178 on this exam miss this question. That's an absolutely ridiculous statistic.

If you don't see anything wrong with the argument (or, honestly, even if you do), the next step is to let the AC's make suggestions. Each one is like a little hint about what it might be. Go to each AC and ask, "Does this express a problem with the argument?" Think about the argument with that AC in mind. If your fundamentals are sound, the right answer should clue you in to what's going on. This is a really simplified answer, but this is basically what you should do for all Flaw category questions (Flaw, Strengthen, Weaken, SA, NA, PSA, PNA--any question type that requires a flawed argument in the stimulus).

For this question, that's unlikely to solve the problem. The solution to this one is not procedural. It's a deep-dive into advanced fundamentals. If you don't have those fundamentals, the important thing here is to recognize that and miss this question as quickly as possible.

As to PT71.S1.Q12:

The conclusion is stating a very specific causal chain. It's not just that increasing winter temperatures will ultimately result in greater spring flooding and less storable water. It's that increasing winter temperatures will ultimately result in greater spring flooding and less storable water as a result of a very specific chain of events.

A. is wrong because of the precipitation issue. Precipitation is anything falling out of the sky: rain, snow, sleet, hail, mist, whatever. The distinction is meaningful because we're specifically concerned with the balance of rain and snow precipitation. It isn't the amount of rain or snow that triggers the causation, it's the proportion. If there's more precipitation, that's fine if it's snow, a problem if it's rain.

B. is right because it connects adjacent steps in the very specific chain of events the stimulus is suggesting. It gets us from melting snowpacks to greater spring flooding and less storable water which is a precise link in the chain. This strengthens the causal connection of this link which strengthens (slightly) the argument as a whole.

C. is wrong because it goes from mild winters to less storable water. This doesn't work for the same reason that B does work. Mild winters is the second link, and less storable water is the fifth. (Global Warming --> Increased Winter Temperatures --> Greater Proportion Rain:Snow --> Snowpack Melts Faster/Earlier --> Greater Spring Flooding & Less Storable Water) This leaves open the possibility that milder winters do, in fact, result in less storable water but through a different mechanism than the one claimed in the stimulus. Maybe mild winters just straight up leads to less precipitation and that results in less storable water. Now we get from mild winters to less storable water, but we have bypassed the mechanism the stimulus is arguing for.

D and E you may can figure out from there. If you can figure out the distinction between B and C, they should be relatively straight forward.

Hope this helps!

• Alum Member
2072 karma

@"Cant Get Right" said:
This is a REALLY, uniquely hard question, and it makes for a really poor vehicle to discuss your actual question: "What do you do if you don't see anything wrong with the argument?" The problem with this question goes way beyond this. Just look at its curve: 25% of people scoring 178 on this exam miss this question. That's an absolutely ridiculous statistic.

If you don't see anything wrong with the argument (or, honestly, even if you do), the next step is to let the AC's make suggestions. Each one is like a little hint about what it might be. Go to each AC and ask, "Does this express a problem with the argument?" Think about the argument with that AC in mind. If your fundamentals are sound, the right answer should clue you in to what's going on. This is a really simplified answer, but this is basically what you should do for all Flaw category questions (Flaw, Strengthen, Weaken, SA, NA, PSA, PNA--any question type that requires a flawed argument in the stimulus).

For this question, that's unlikely to solve the problem. The solution to this one is not procedural. It's a deep-dive into advanced fundamentals. If you don't have those fundamentals, the important thing here is to recognize that and miss this question as quickly as possible.

As to PT71.S1.Q12:

The conclusion is stating a very specific causal chain. It's not just that increasing winter temperatures will ultimately result in greater spring flooding and less storable water. It's that increasing winter temperatures will ultimately result in greater spring flooding and less storable water as a result of a very specific chain of events.

A. is wrong because of the precipitation issue. Precipitation is anything falling out of the sky: rain, snow, sleet, hail, mist, whatever. The distinction is meaningful because we're specifically concerned with the balance of rain and snow precipitation. It isn't the amount of rain or snow that triggers the causation, it's the proportion. If there's more precipitation, that's fine if it's snow, a problem if it's rain.

B. is right because it connects adjacent steps in the very specific chain of events the stimulus is suggesting. It gets us from melting snowpacks to greater spring flooding and less storable water which is a precise link in the chain. This strengthens the causal connection of this link which strengthens (slightly) the argument as a whole.

C. is wrong because it goes from mild winters to less storable water. This doesn't work for the same reason that B does work. Mild winters is the second link, and less storable water is the fifth. (Global Warming --> Increased Winter Temperatures --> Greater Proportion Rain:Snow --> Snowpack Melts Faster/Earlier --> Greater Spring Flooding & Less Storable Water) This leaves open the possibility that milder winters do, in fact, result in less storable water but through a different mechanism than the one claimed in the stimulus. Maybe mild winters just straight up leads to less precipitation and that results in less storable water. Now we get from mild winters to less storable water, but we have bypassed the mechanism the stimulus is arguing for.

D and E you may can figure out from there. If you can figure out the distinction between B and C, they should be relatively straight forward.

Hope this helps!

Oh wow, I didn't really check out that statistic...that's gnarly.
I took out D because it was making a comparison between "regions of the world" (which may or may not include mountains) with the MILDEST winters versus much colder winters while the stimulus was comparing the RM during relatively mild winters versus colder ones. Are these the right reasons for taking D out?

• Monthly Member
372 karma