LSAT 14 – Section 2 – Question 06

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S2 Q06
Strengthen +Streng
+Easier 148.522 +SubsectionMedium
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Here we have a strengthening question, as the stem asks: Which one of the following, if true, would most support the naturalists’ prediction?

The stimulus begins with an opinion of some scientists; they believe mice must depend on human civilization for their continued existence. They support this conclusion with the claim that the relationship between mice and humans has diminished their ability to survive in nature. The author quickly makes their position clear and states that the scientists opinion ignores significant facts. While this is the author’s conclusion, it’s important to remember that our job is to specifically support the naturalists’ prediction.

To support his dismissal of the scientists opinion, the author cites several facts. First, Mice have managed to be the most widely distributed mammal after humans, despite threats from predators and humans. Second, they reproduce rapidly. Third, and more important to their survival than rapid reproduction, Mice can adapt to lots of different environments. To further bolster his case, the author quotes a prediction made by naturalists that mice would continue to survive even if the environment became too extreme to support humans.

This question is a good example of why it is important to read a question stem carefully. In this stimulus we are given three positions from three different groups: (1) the scientists’ argument that mice depend on humans, (2) the author’s argument that they don’t, and (3) the naturalists prediction that mice can survive extreme environments. The position we want to strengthen only takes up one sentence of this long stimulus! If we didn’t read the question stem carefully, we might misjudge answer choices based on how they affect the author or the scientists’ conclusion. Always read the question stem carefully.

The correct answer is the one which most strengthens the prediction that if the environment became too extreme for human life, then mice would be able to adapt and survive. Let’s take a look at the answer choices:

Answer Choice (A) We want to strengthen the prediction that mice will survive even if the environment is too extreme for human life. This, if anything, weakens that prediction by introducing a limiting factor on mouse survival. A is incorrect.

Answer Choice (B) The stimulus has already told us that mice reproduce rapidly, so this answer doesn’t add anything new as support. Even, worse it only tells us something about mice under optimum conditions. The prediction we want to strengthen concerns what would happen to mice in an extreme environment. It is safe to assume that an extreme environment is not optimum conditions. B is incorrect.

Answer Choice (C) This answer relies on conflating the ability of mice to adapt and survive if the environment becomes too extreme for humans with the ability to survive an environment without humans. This answer might seem appealing if you failed to read the question stem carefully and believe our job is to strengthen the author’s position. However, this information is irrelevant to the naturalist’s extreme environment prediction because nothing we are told indicates that pre-colonial America was an extreme environment. C is incorrect.

Correct Answer Choice (D) This answer gives us a case where mice did exactly what the naturalists predict they can do; they encountered an environment too extreme for human life, and were able to survive. Think of it as an experiment testing their hypothesis. An experiment whose results correspond to a general prediction will always, all else being equal, strengthen that prediction. D is correct.

Answer Choice (E) This information supports the scientists point about the dependence of mice on human civilization, but that isn’t what we’ve been asked to strengthen. For our naturalists prediction it adds no support. E is incorrect.

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