Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry

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Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 03:57
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Is the following argument strong or weak? Please provide your reasoning because I don't agree with the official answer. This is from the PowerScore CR Bible.

Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry land in its upstream areas; unfortunately, a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there. The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream, so building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole.

OA:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Strong
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 04:18
nonameee wrote:
Is the following argument strong or weak? Please provide your reasoning because I don't agree with the official answer. This is from the PowerScore CR Bible.

Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry land in its upstream areas; unfortunately, a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there. The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream, so building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole.

OA:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Strong

I dont see any reason why this should be anything other than a strong argument.
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 04:30
Well, actually as I was writing up my concerns with the OA, I reconsidered my position. However, what still bothers me is that the phrase "in the region as a whole". The phrase is used without being defined (what if the the region consists of 3 areas: upstream, downstream, and "middlestream").

Any thoughts?
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 05:04
The stimulus has the feel of an "assumption" question. Usually the stimulus of assumption questions are "less flawed" -- which makes it a bit more tricky to find the assumption. The author is assuming that "water availability" determines agricultural productivity. Fair enough -- this seems like a rational assumption --> so the argument itself is not *weak*.

Plus -- there are no *obvious* logical flaws in the author's conclusion. He says the dam will make the downstream areas less productive and the upstream areas more productive (based of water availability). But that the productivity increase in the upstream areas will not compensate for the decrease in productivity in the downstream areas.

Of course there are several ways in which you can weaken the author's conclusion -- by attacking the assumption or by introducing outside information -- eg. the downstream areas use new strains of crop that require less water, or that there is a new canal that will supply water to the downstream areas from an alternate source. All these pieces of *outside* information will weaken the author's conclusion (net agricultural productivity will decrease because of the dam).

As written -- the argument is definitely not weak.
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 05:10
nonameee wrote:
Well, actually as I was writing up my concerns with the OA, I reconsidered my position. However, what still bothers me is that the phrase "in the region as a whole". The phrase is used without being defined (what if the the region consists of 3 areas: upstream, downstream, and "middlestream").

Any thoughts?

I guess you are going for the uptown, midtown and downtown analogy eh?

I would think it would be a safe bet to look at it as upstream and downstream -- relative to the dam.
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2011, 06:42
nonameee wrote:
Well, actually as I was writing up my concerns with the OA, I reconsidered my position. However, what still bothers me is that the phrase "in the region as a whole". The phrase is used without being defined (what if the the region consists of 3 areas: upstream, downstream, and "middlestream").

Any thoughts?

Good point. Worthwhile consideration. That's the reason we have options in CR questions, thank God!!!
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Re: PowerScore: Damming the Merv River [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 11:07
nonameee wrote:
Is the following argument strong or weak? Please provide your reasoning because I don't agree with the official answer. This is from the PowerScore CR Bible.

Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry land in its upstream areas; unfortunately, a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there. The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream, so building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole.

OA:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Strong

I think it is strong only
as the author is explaining everything and moreover any other factor is not given to conclude whether the dam is useful or not

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Re: Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2016, 05:55
DevilDoggNC wrote:
The stimulus has the feel of an "assumption" question. Usually the stimulus of assumption questions are "less flawed" -- which makes it a bit more tricky to find the assumption. The author is assuming that "water availability" determines agricultural productivity. Fair enough -- this seems like a rational assumption --> so the argument itself is not *weak*.

Plus -- there are no *obvious* logical flaws in the author's conclusion. He says the dam will make the downstream areas less productive and the upstream areas more productive (based of water availability). But that the productivity increase in the upstream areas will not compensate for the decrease in productivity in the downstream areas.

Of course there are several ways in which you can weaken the author's conclusion -- by attacking the assumption or by introducing outside information -- eg. the downstream areas use new strains of crop that require less water, or that there is a new canal that will supply water to the downstream areas from an alternate source. All these pieces of *outside* information will weaken the author's conclusion (net agricultural productivity will decrease because of the dam).

As written -- the argument is definitely not weak.

Sir,
IMO this argument is s not strong enough.
The conclusion says that building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole
Based on the premises that
a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there
and
The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream
Now since we are talking of productivity aren't we required to know the proportion or area occupied by upstream(U) or downstreaam field(D).
If say, majority of the area is occupied by the D (say 80%) and minority by U, saying that overall productivity wont be affected is absurd.
Conversely if major part is occupied by U and minor by D or if areas occupied are equal , then we may say it supports the conclusion.

Hence, IMO is weak..

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Re: Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2016, 06:04
suramya26 wrote:
DevilDoggNC wrote:
The stimulus has the feel of an "assumption" question. Usually the stimulus of assumption questions are "less flawed" -- which makes it a bit more tricky to find the assumption. The author is assuming that "water availability" determines agricultural productivity. Fair enough -- this seems like a rational assumption --> so the argument itself is not *weak*.

Plus -- there are no *obvious* logical flaws in the author's conclusion. He says the dam will make the downstream areas less productive and the upstream areas more productive (based of water availability). But that the productivity increase in the upstream areas will not compensate for the decrease in productivity in the downstream areas.

Of course there are several ways in which you can weaken the author's conclusion -- by attacking the assumption or by introducing outside information -- eg. the downstream areas use new strains of crop that require less water, or that there is a new canal that will supply water to the downstream areas from an alternate source. All these pieces of *outside* information will weaken the author's conclusion (net agricultural productivity will decrease because of the dam).

As written -- the argument is definitely not weak.

Sir,
IMO this argument is s not strong enough.
The conclusion says that building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole
Based on the premises that
a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there
and
The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream
Now since we are talking of productivity aren't we required to know the proportion or area occupied by upstream(U) or downstreaam field(D).
If say, majority of the area is occupied by the D (say 80%) and minority by U, saying that overall productivity wont be affected is absurd.
Conversely if major part is occupied by U and minor by D or if areas occupied are equal , then we may say it supports the conclusion.

Hence, IMO is weak..

Read these lines "The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream,". So, even if we have the proportion of area as you suggested, The argument clearly states that the loss >> Gain. Hence, Overall its a loss.
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Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2016, 06:20
abhimahna wrote:
suramya26 wrote:
DevilDoggNC wrote:
The stimulus has the feel of an "assumption" question. Usually the stimulus of assumption questions are "less flawed" -- which makes it a bit more tricky to find the assumption. The author is assuming that "water availability" determines agricultural productivity. Fair enough -- this seems like a rational assumption --> so the argument itself is not *weak*.

Plus -- there are no *obvious* logical flaws in the author's conclusion. He says the dam will make the downstream areas less productive and the upstream areas more productive (based of water availability). But that the productivity increase in the upstream areas will not compensate for the decrease in productivity in the downstream areas.

Of course there are several ways in which you can weaken the author's conclusion -- by attacking the assumption or by introducing outside information -- eg. the downstream areas use new strains of crop that require less water, or that there is a new canal that will supply water to the downstream areas from an alternate source. All these pieces of *outside* information will weaken the author's conclusion (net agricultural productivity will decrease because of the dam).

As written -- the argument is definitely not weak.

Sir,
IMO this argument is s not strong enough.
The conclusion says that building a dam would yield no overall gain in agricultural productivity in the region as a whole
Based on the premises that
a dam would reduce agricultural productivity in the fertile land downstream by reducing the availability and quality of water there
and
The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream
Now since we are talking of productivity aren't we required to know the proportion or area occupied by upstream(U) or downstreaam field(D).
If say, majority of the area is occupied by the D (say 80%) and minority by U, saying that overall productivity wont be affected is absurd.
Conversely if major part is occupied by U and minor by D or if areas occupied are equal , then we may say it supports the conclusion.

Hence, IMO is weak..

Read these lines "The productivity loss in the downstream area would be greater than the productivity gain upstream,". So, even if we have the proportion of area as you suggested, The argument clearly states that the loss >> Gain. Hence, Overall its a loss.

WELL, as per my knowledge productivity is depended upon area. For instance , if in 100 sq yards i grow 90 crops my productivity is 90% but in 200 square yards if I grow 120 crops, even though I have grown more crops, my productivity is 60% i.e. lesser.
As per the question, If productivity of downstream is greater than upstream, it may constitute a very small area OR A LARGER WE DONT KNOW and accordingly the OVERALL PRODUCTIVTY may vary
Hence claiming about overall productivity is absurd. If you are getting what I want to say..???
That is why I think it is weak.

That's my doubt....
Damming the Merv River would provide irrigation for the dry   [#permalink] 25 Sep 2016, 06:20
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