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Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical

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Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2010, 09:51
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71% (02:42) correct 29% (01:42) wrong based on 17 sessions
Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in minute quantities in most drinking water had an adverse effect on the human nervous system. Existing scientific theory held that no such effect was possible because there was no neural mechanism for bringing it about. Several papers by well-known scientists in the field followed, unanimously purporting to prove Professor Smith wrong. This clearly shows that the scientific establishment was threatened by Professor Smith’s work and conspired to discredit it.
Which one of the following is the central flaw in the argument given by the author of the passage?
(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory.
(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.


OA is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
c
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2010, 09:58
(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
>> This is talking about prof. Smith's advatages. Not relevant for the conclusion.
(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory.
>> Not relevant.
(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
>> Yes. This is the point that is missing int he authors argument.
(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
>> Not relevant.
(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.
>> Not relevant.
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 20:23
Same explanation
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2010, 21:08
lsat question seems to be tricky is it generally the case or am I seeing only the trickier questions?
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2010, 11:22
why not B?plsexplain
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2010, 16:45
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Hey All,

Though the correct answer has been distinguished and partially explained, I feel that there's room to look a bit deeper. And isn't that what we're all here to do?

Conclusion: Scientists were threatened and trying to discredit theory
Premise: Smith published paper that disagreed with other scientists, those scientists are trying to prove it wrong
Assumption: The scientists don't have any other reason to prove it wrong but to discredit it

Notice that this assumption falls into an "eliminate alternate paths" category. Basically, we're told that something is happening, and then directed towards the reason why. But there is no justification for that reason, so we would need an assumption that eliminates other possible reasons. The correct answer will inevitably take advantage of this.

(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
PROBLEM: What we care about is the intentions of the other scientists, not of Professor Smith himself.

(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory.
PROBLEM: Once again, the conclusion here relates to the OTHER scientists, not Smith himself. Whether or not Smith knew if his research was faulty or not doesn't affect the intentions of the other scientists.

(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
ANSWER: This establishes that the other scientists could have had some motive other than petty payback.

(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
PROBLEM: This is entirely out of scope. We don't need to know where the author comes into things.

(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.
PROBLEM: Out of scope again. We care about Smith and the other scientists, not the public.

Hope that helps!

-t
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 02:06
@Tommy

Sorry but I am going to probe this a little further since I am unable to comprehend the solution completely...

In the argument, the author states that the opposing scientists published several papers to prove the professors conclusion wrong.

If the above is true then how can we state that the author fails to show evidence that establishes the truth of the matter?

They have in fact published papers to prove the professor wrong.

Please correct me if I am wrong here..

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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 18:52
i choose C , very hard Q
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 20:14
C
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 20:44
IMO A.

(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
[Looks close contender. It is touching the threat to the scientists. Professor would be selected for patents, noble prize...]

(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory. [Professor argued in his paper. So, this choice is ruled out]

(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
[I didnt find this choice convincing as no indication is given above on the truth of the matter. I second what Sidhus said. Other scientists did published papers to prove him wrong. Incorrect]

(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
[Out of scope]

(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.
[This looks a SHELL GAME Fallacy. Out of scope]
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 12:08
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Hey Siddus,

The issue isn't that there isn't proof that they published papers against it. The conclusion is that the REASON they published those papers was because they were threatened and trying to discredit it. That's why the answer is C, which suggests that maybe they published the paper because they honestly disagreed, rather than because they had nefarious motives. : )

-tommy
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Re: smith and drinking water [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2010, 06:03
Thank you Tommy, you are correct I misunderstood the argument.
Re: smith and drinking water   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2010, 06:03
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