PT35.S1.Q05 - proponent: irradiation of food from gamma rays

edited July 2016 in Logical Reasoning 87 karma
I know why the credited response (E) is correct.

However i'm having a tough time seeing how (B) and (C) are incorrect.
I initially picked (B)
My reasoning was that the opponent raises an important point: That irradiation fails to neutralize the bacteria that cause botulism and in fact aids it by concealing its warning signs. This seems to contradict the proponent's conclusion that there is no reason to reject irradiation as far as health and nutrition is concerned.

For (C) there appears to be two remedies for keeping food from being spoiled by bacteria the first is: irradiation brought up by the proponent and the second is chemical dip method brought up by the opponent. the opponent seems to bring up a consequence of the first remedy (failing to kill bacteria that cause botulism which can lead to serious food poising).

If someone could help me out with this that you be awesome, thanks!


  • inactiveinactive Alum Member
    12637 karma
    Bumping your thread so more people see it! I also edited your title so it better complies with our formatting.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    (B) is incorrect because the proponent isn't contradicting himself, he/she doesn't consider a better alternative to preventing food poisoning. Just because the speaker brings bad or incomplete evidence is not the same as the logical fallacy of self-contradiction.

    In life, we may think that failing to consider alternative explanations is contradicting our own arguments but I find that on the LSAT "self-contradiction" is a very narrow phrase and is rarely often the right answer. This is purely anecdotal so don't quote me on that but that's the trend I've seen.

    (C) is incorrect for a couple of reasons:
    - "Either one of two proposed remedies": the first speaker only raises one remedy - irradiation to prevent food poisoning. The second remedy is raised by the opponent.
    - "undesirable consequences": even if you were to assume that there are two remedies being discussed, the opponent doesn't think both remedies have undesirable consequences. In fact, he/she would argue that the chemical dip is a desirable consequence because it doesn't kill whatever causes the smell associated with botulism.
  • edited July 2016 87 karma
    Thanks for your response blah170blah! really helpful. In regards to for first reason for why C is wrong. I'm not entirely sure that this answer choice can be discounted on the basis that the proponent raises only one of the two remedies discussed. This answer choice could conceivably be considered if the opponent described the undesirable consequences of the remedy he raised, no?
    I think your second explanation for why C is wrong is more convincing requires the assumption the phrase "either one of" is inclusive, i.e., both, any of the two remedies. I interpreted "either one of" as being exclusive i.e., on or the other but not both. I think your interpretation of "either one of" as being inclusive is correct and that I misinterpreted it.

    For B, I agree with you insofar as the undermining of an argument doesn't not necessarily result in the self contradiction of the claims that compose said argument. That said, in this particular instance it appears that by raising the claim irradiation does not prevent botulism, the opponent is demonstrating that the proponent's conclusion: there is no reason to reject irradiation on the grounds of health or safety is self-contradictory. The proponent would not need to contradict himself/herself initially in order for this choice to be correct. The opponent could raise a claim that would show the self-contradictory nature of the proponent's argument no?

    Proponent's argument:
    Premise 1 : Irradation of good by gamma reyes prevents food from spoiling before it reaches store.
    Premise 2: Irradation leaves no radiation behind and vitamin loss is comparable to those that occur during cooking
    Premise 3: It kills salmonella bacteria which can cause serious illness.
    Conclusion: There is not reason to reject irradation on the basis of health or safety.

    Opponent: Irradation doesn't kill the bacteria that leads to botulism a very serious form of food poisoning. In fact irradation conceals botulism by killing the bacteria that emit strong doors to warn consumers of botulism.

    This retort seemingly contradicts, the proponents main point that there is no reason to reject irradation on the basis of health and or safety.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    (C) would still be wrong for the 2nd reason I gave because the opponent doesn't think both options lead to undesirable consequences since he/she thinks the chemical dip could be an alternative. It's unclear exactly what he/she thinks about the chemical dip option but at the very least his/her tone isn't negative, as connoted in the word "undesirable." In general, I think it's helpful to use reasoning similar to the second reason rather than getting caught up in the semantics of the first reason because it forces you to think about what the answer choice is saying about the logic underpinning the actual arguments.

    (B) I think you're right that self-contradiction doesn't mean the proponent has to make a self-contradictory argument but I think the principle of "Just because the speaker brings bad or incomplete evidence is not the same as the logical fallacy of self-contradiction" still holds here.
  • edited July 2016 87 karma
    Agreed. You're that just because the speaker's premises do not fully substantiate the reasoning does not mean the author is contradicting himself or herself, that is obvious. However, my issue here is that the proponent uses his premises to justify the claim that there are NO reason to reject the remedy on the basis of health or safety. However, opponent contradicts the proponent's main point by pointing out that there is at least one reason: irradation does not prevent botulism and even conceals it.
    However, I think B is wrong on the account that although one of the opponent's claims completely contradicts proponent's conclusion, it does not show that said conclusion in complete contradiction with the premises he/she that are used to substantiate it.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I think you're using the terms "contradicts" and "disproves" interchangeably when a contradiction is a specific type of disproving. At any rate, I agree with your logic but I would change the language to read, "the opponent's retort disproves proponent's conclusion" just to get in the habit of distinguishing the two terms.
  • 87 karma
    What is the difference between disproving and a contradiction ?
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    A contradiction is a specific type of disproving, in my opinion. If you google search "self-contradiction," it's a specific type of logical fallacy. I'm not entirely confident though so I'd ping @"J.Y. Ping" (no pun intended) and see what he has to say. I could just be splitting hairs.
  • Nanchito-1-1Nanchito-1-1 Yearly Member
    edited July 2016 1755 karma
    An example of a self-contradiction is like when you say something that's the opposite of something that was already said. Ex- I hate this dress so I don’t wear it, but it’s purple so I wear it. Or something like a sign that says don’t walk on the grass but there’s a bench in the middle of the lawn lol.
    To disprove means to prove something is false.

    I'm BRing pt 35 right now and that's why I crossed out b.

    c. This one says that the undesirable consequences result in the adoption of either one or two remedies. But no, the opponent totally says that irradiation doesn’t work on botulism and that they should use the other method, plain and simple. The opponent is not doing what this ac is saying.
  • inactiveinactive Alum Member
    12637 karma
    @"Barack Obama 2.0" said:
    What is the difference between disproving and a contradiction ?
    Pinging some of the recently active Mentors to help you out! @"Cant Get Right" @"Nicole Hopkins" @BruiserWoods @c.janson35 @montahar
  • quinnxzhangquinnxzhang Member
    edited July 2016 611 karma
    What's at stake here isn't the difference between disproving and contradiction. Rather, what's at stake here is the difference between being contradicted by someone else and contradicting oneself. You can make a decent case that the opponent's claims contradict the proponent's conclusion. However, that doesn't make the proponent's argument SELF-contradictory.

    A self-contradictory argument is inconsistent on its own -- it's logically impossible for all of the propositions in the argument to be true at the same time. But this isn't the case for the proponent's argument. We can easily conceive of how all of the propositions in the argument COULD be true at the same time (regardless of whether they are actually true). Moreover, the opponent isn't showing that there's an internal inconsistency with the proponent's argument, but is rather bringing in additional facts that call into question the proponent's claims.
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