LSAT 15 – Section 2 – Question 02

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S2 Q02
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Easiest 142.72 +SubsectionEasier

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “Which one of the following is the strongest criticism of the chemist’s response to the physicist’s challenge?” Right away we know our correct answer has to do two things: be descriptively accurate, and describe the flaw of the stimulus. We also know what the wrong answers will do - describe reasoning flaws we’ve seen before, but don’t like up with our stimulus. Once we have a clear understanding of the questrion’s objective, we can proceed into structural analysis of the stimulus.

Immediately we should note we have two speakers in our stimulus. That means we need to be on the lookout for two potential conclusions and sets of explanations. Our first speaker, the physicist, tells us a claim about nuclear fusion is based on inaccurate calculations. While our speaker does not directly tell us the experiment is faulty as a result, the implication of the speaker’s challenge tells us they do not agree with the nuclear fusion claim on the basis of the evidence we have.

The chemist responds with the claim that the physicist’s argument is faulty. That’s not an unreasonable conclusion. If the chemist were to explain the reason why the numbers still lead to the claim we can see how the chemist can overcome the gap pointed out by our first speaker. But the chemist’s reasoning for their conclusion is not reasonable. Instead of responding to the physicist’s claim about the methods through which the claim received its evidence, the chemist accuses our first speaker of being jealous that the claim about nuclear fusion came from someone outside the field of physics.

While the chemist’s conclusion could be valid, the reasoning provided makes the chemist’s argument invalid. Knowing we are looking to identify an answer choice that emphasizes the motivations of the speaker rather than the evidence at hand, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. Instead of restating a claim in synonymous terms, our second speaker ignores the explanation of our physicist and instead attacks their personal motivations.

Answer Choice (B) This answer choice is descriptively accurate, but it is not the issue in our stimulus. Whether or not we can establish that perfect accuracy is possible does not weigh on our discussion. Even if it were possible to have perfect measurements, who is to say we need perfect measurements to ensure accuracy? Whether or not this information occurs doesn’t overcome that it is not the issue we can predict in the evidence for our second speaker’s conclusion.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. In order for our argument to be confusing two different uses of one word we would have to see two instances of that word. Our chemist only references the word “solve” in one form. Thus, we can eliminate this answer choice.

Correct Answer Choice (D) This is exactly what we are looking for. This descriptively accurate answer choice is the only option that points out the chemist’s use of a personal attack rather than a response to the reasoning for the opinion being discussed.

Answer Choice (E) In order for this answer choice to be correct we need to be able to spot a contradiction - or two pieces of directly contrary information in the stimuli. Instead of a contradiction we see the chemist almost avoiding the rationale presented by the physicist.

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