LSAT 46 – Section 3 – Question 21

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT46 S3 Q21
Main conclusion or main point +MC
+Medium 145.195 +SubsectionEasier

We start with the question stem: Which of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the argument? This is a Main Conclusion question.

The stimulus begins by stating, “Baumgartner’s comparison of the environmental hazards of gasoline-powered cars with those of electric cars is misleading.”

Ok, that sure sounds like a claim that I need to be convinced of. If this is the Main Conclusion, then the argument will give premises to support that idea. The author then goes on to say that “Baumgartner examines only production of the cars, whereas it is the product's total life cycle - production, use, and recycling - that matters in determining the environmental impact.” Ok, that definitely Supports the idea that Baumgartner is misleading. You can’t compare the two books by looking only at the first chapter; you need to compare the entirety of the book. Similarly, you can’t compare cars by looking only at production; you need to look at production + use + recycling. Baumgartner made an error by only looking at a small piece of the puzzle, the production, when you actually need to examine more. This is a reason why Baumgartner’s comparison is misleading.

The author doesn't think you should take his word for it that production and use, and recycling should be considered. He provides evidence for the claim by saying that a typical gasoline-powered car both consumes more resources and pollutes more than an electric car. So the idea that gas cars consume more and pollute more are Minor Premises that support the Sub Conclusion that we should consider production, use, and recycling to determine environmental impact. The Sub Conclusion supports the Main Conclusion that Baumgartner’s comparison is misleading when he only evaluated a small piece, the production, of the larger environmental impact puzzle. Since our job is to identify the Main Conclusion, we can now go to the answer choices to figure out which one expresses the same idea.

Correct Answer Choice (A) While saying that “Baumgartner makes a deceptive comparison between the environmental hazards of gasoline-powered and electric cars” is slightly more pointed, it gets at the idea that the comparison is misleading. This is the correct answer.

Answer Choice (B) is a minor premise that supports the sub conclusion in Answer Choice (D). Since this is a Main Conclusion question, both of these are wrong.

Answer Choice (C) is a popular trap answer choice, the trap being “inaccurate data.” A test-taker who picks this answer realizes that the author is saying that Baumgartner’s evidence is insufficient, but the test-taker inaccurately assumes that it is because the data is inaccurate. Does the author charge Baumgartner with using inaccurate data? No. The author simply claims that the data Baumgartner uses is not the full story. Take a shot every time the author is inaccurate jeez.

Answer Choice (E) is not the Main Conclusion, and even worse, it’s an assumption. Earlier, we discussed how we actually do not know the environmental impact of gas vs. electric cars. All we know is that gas cars consume more and pollute more. We do not know if producing gas-powered cars is more environmentally hazardous than producing electric cars. While the author does argue Baumgartner’s analysis of production is misleading, we do not know the way it is misleading. Is it a matter of degree? Does Baumgartner think producing gas-powered cars is less environmentally damaging? Does the author think producing gas-powered cars is less environmentally damaging? The answer to all of these questions is “maybe.”

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