LSAT 55 – Section 3 – Question 13

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT55 S3 Q13
Main conclusion or main point +MC
+Easier 144.364 +SubsectionEasier

We’ve got a Main Conclusion question here, which we can ID from the question stem: Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion drawn in the botanist’s argument?

Our stimulus starts with a classic set up for some context: “it has long been believed that...” This is essentially another version of the “other people’s opinion” construct that so often introduces context. Who exactly has been believing this idea? Well people of course! Namely, other people. See? Just another way of introducing OPO–a classic set up for some context.

What follows is a description of a belief that we can start to anticipate will likely be refuted or partially challenged by our argument. Whenever we start with a consensus view attributed implicitly or explicitly to other people, we usually move into an argument that takes issue with or qualifies that view in some way. In this case we’re told that people have long believed that we should keep poinsettias out of homes with kids or pets.

We then get some more context: “this belief” (a referential phrase referring to the belief about poinsettias being kept out of homes) has been espoused in parenting books.

Now we get what definitely feels like our conclusion: “it” (another referential phrase for the idea that we should keep poinsettias out of the home) is mistaken. But wait, doesn’t a conclusion need to be supported by a premise? How do we know this is our conclusion? Great questions! You all deserve gold stars!

We follow up this idea with a sentence that provides that direct support that we so desperately need. The third sentence gives us an explanation as to why this belief is mistaken: research demonstrates that poinsettias actually pose no threat to kids or pets. This is a premise giving us rationale for our conclusion, which is: “it [the belief that poinsettias should be kept out of the home] is mistaken.”

Answer Choice (A) This is a gross misreading of the stimulus. Our conclusion states that the idea that we need to keep poinsettias out of the home “is mistaken.” This is not the same thing as advocating for the entirely different idea of putting poinsettias in the home. Taking issue with an idea does not equate to advocating for a totally new position that moves in the opposite direction. On top of that we have this completely unsupported notion that child rearing books should do something differently which is way outside the scope of our conclusion.

Answer Choice (B) This is a reasonable reading of our premise. If poinsettias pose no risk to kids or pets then we can reasonably conclude that poinsettias are not dangerously poisonous. Unfortunately, it doesn’t describe our conclusion, so is therefore, incorrect.

Answer Choice (C) This is consistent with our context: if child-rearing books have commonly listed poinsettias as dangerous it’s fairly reasonable to say that they view these plants as dangerous. But, alas, it does not at all describe our conclusion.

Correct Answer Choice (D) This is a perfect description of our main conclusion. It even fleshes out what the referential word “it” means (i.e. the belief that households with children or pets should not have poinsettias).

Answer Choice (E) Again, we have another answer choice that is an accurate description of our premise. It even uses the same wording! But it is out of the scope of our conclusion which narrowly focuses on a specific belief (keeping poinsettias out of the house) being “mistaken”.

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