LSAT 91 – Section 2 – Question 05

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT91 S2 Q05
Weaken +Weak
+Easier 145.724 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Weaken question.

The stimulus starts by telling us that domesticated animals were created by the breeding of only the sufficiently tame wild animals. In other words, it's just a subset of the wild animals that were amenable to breeding for domestication. As an example, the argument uses dogs and wolves. It says that after a number of generations of breeding only the wolves that are sufficiently tame, we create dogs. That’s it for the premises. They’ve established how domestication occurs and provided an example of domesticating wolves to create dogs.

Now we get the conclusion. It says all animals can in principle be bred for domesticity. This conclusion is very weakly supported. The logic of this argument is that of generalization, which is a special kind of argument by analogy. The reasoning assumes that wolves are representative of all wild animals in terms of their potential tameness. More broadly, the argument assumes that just because some animals can be domesticated, all animals can be domesticated. Whether or not this is a reasonable assumption simply depends on the state of the world. If it's true that all animals contain some members that are sufficiently tame, like wolves, then this is a fine assumption. Otherwise, it's not.

Correct Answer Choice (C) reveals that the world is not one in which all animals contain some members that are sufficiently tame. It says that in some animal species, no members ever displayed tameness. That contradicts the core assumption of the argument and therefore weakens the argument.

Answer Choice (A) says domesticated animals cannot be turned into wild species by breeding only those animals that display some wild characteristics. This answer is talking about changing animals in the other direction, from domesticated to wild. It tells us that we can't select for the wildest dogs and breed them with each other and expect to get wolves as a result. That's good to know, I guess, but it has nothing to do with the argument.

Answer Choice (B) says in some animal species, wild members mate more frequently than tame members. So, for example, wolves that are wilder mate more frequently than wolves that are tamer. That is irrelevant to the argument, because domestication involves humans breeding the tame members of wolves. As long as those wolves breed at all, we’re good. We don't care whether they breed more or less than wilder members of their species.

Answer Choice (D) says in some animal species, tame members are less fertile than wild members. Just like (B), we don't care about the comparative fertility of tame to wild. As long as tame members are fertile at all, domestication can occur.

Answer Choice (E) says in some domesticated animal species, some members are much more tame than other members. This is obvious because you wouldn't expect dogs or cats, for example, to be all equally tame. Of course some dogs are going to be more tame than others, and of course some cats are going to be more wild than others. Tameness is on a spectrum. It's not a binary characteristic. But so what? The argument never assumed that members of a domesticated species were all equally tame.

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