LSAT 58 – Section 1 – Question 18

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT58 S1 Q18
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Harder 147.03 +SubsectionMedium

The question stem reads: Of the following, which one is the criticism to which the reasoning in the travel agent's argument is most vulnerable? This is a flaw question.

The travel agent begins by claiming while most low-fare airlines have had few accidents, they also have not existed long enough to establish a reliable safety record. The agent goes on to claim that major airlines have long-standing records that indicate the airline's safety. The agent concludes that passengers are safe on major airlines than on low-fare airlines.

The author has made the comparative claim that major airlines are safer than low-fare airlines. So for evidence, we would need to compare how safe major airlines are versus how safe low-fare airlines are. However, the agent never actually mentions the safety of any airline; the agent only claims that major airlines have reliable records and low-fare airlines do not have reliable records. Using the agent's reasoning, we could conclude that Antarctica is hotter than Saudi Arabia because the thermometers in Antarctica are much more reliable! So the major airlines' very accurate records may indicate that they are unsafe. Let's take a look at the answer choices.

Answer Choice (A) is incorrect. The real number of accidents committed is of little use to us. Let's say the low-fare airlines crashed 10 out of the 100 flights they ran. Let's also say the major airlines crashed 100 of 100,000 flights. So the major airlines have crashed ten times more flights than the low-fare airlines. However, the major airlines only crashed 1% of their total flights, while the low-fare flights crashed 10%. So despite crashing more flights, the major airlines are much safe.

Answer Choice (B) is incorrect. The agent has claimed the major airline's safety records are reliable. The problem is we do not know what those safety records say.

Correct Answer Choice (C) is what we prephased. The agent has failed to consider that the major airlines could have very reliable safety records and be unsafe.

Answer Choice (D) is incorrect but very close. The agent never says that the major airlines have the most reliable safety records. The agent says the airlines have reliable safety records. (D) would look better if the agent said, "Major airlines have more reliable safety records than any other kind of airline."

Answer Choice (E) is incorrect. The agent claims that the major airlines are comparatively safer than low-fare airlines. So, the major airlines could have one or even hundreds of accidents. The agent's conclusion is ok as long as the major airlines have accidents less frequently than the low-fare airlines.

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