Some anthropologists study modern-day societies of foragers in an effort to learn about our ancient
ancestors who were also foragers. A flaw in this strategy is that forager societies are extremely varied.
Indeed, any forager society with which anthropologists are familiar has had considerable contact with
modern, non-forager societies.
Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the criticism made above of the anthropologists' strategy?
(A) All forager societies throughout history have had a number of important features in common that are
absent from other types of societies.
(B) Most ancient forager societies either dissolved or made a transition to another way of life.
(C) All anthropologists study one kind or another of modern-day society.
(D) Many anthropologistswho study modern-day forager societies do not draw inferences about ancient
societies on the basis of their studies.
(E) Even those modern-day forager societies that have not had significant contact with modern societies are
importantly different from ancient forager societies.
This is a weakening question and i am confused between 2 choices A & D. To me both of them are weakening.
A. It states that there are common characteristics among forager societies. So, it weakens the conclusion in a way by weakening the two criticism points - societies are varied and contact with other modern societies- stated to draw the conclusion that anthropologists should not study ancient forager socities from modern ones. Hence, it is a weakener
D. It states that anthropologists do not take inferences from the studies. Again, this seems a valid weakener as it weakens the conclusion that anthropologists would not be taking any inferences as per the study in their understanding of Ancient forager societies and makes the criticism invalid.
Can you please explain how D is incorrect and also if my explanation for A is fine ?
Also, could you please state the conclusion for the argument.
The conclusion i was able to draw is :
The study by some anthropologists on modern-day societies of foragers in an effort to learn about our ancient
ancestors but this study is flawed.
Your explanation for A is correct.
First of all the conclusion of this passage is:
The strategy to study modern-day societies of foragers in an effort to learn about our ancient ancestors who were also foragers, is flawed.
In shortened form, the conclusion is: The given strategy used by anthropologists is flawed.
Now. coming to option D, there is a problem with option D: it either goes against the information presented in the passage or does not affect the conclusion.
Let's understand the two cases:
Case 1: When we say that drawing inferences about a population is same as learning about that population.
This is most plausible understanding of "inferences" used in option D. IF you are studying modern societies and saying that you are learning about ancient ancestors, then in all probability, you are drawing inferences about ancestors based on your observation of modern societies.
If we understand the meaning of "inferences" as such, then option D goes against the first statement of the passage:
"Some anthropologists study modern-day societies of foragers in an effort to learn
about our ancient ancestors who were also foragers"
Since option D goes against the information presented in the passage, it is incorrect.
Case 2: when we say "drawing inferences" is different from learning
In this case, what we are saying is that anthropologists are learning about ancient ancestors but they are not drawing inferences about them.
In such a case, option D does not affect the conclusion because the conclusion talks about a strategy to learn about ancient ancestors. The conclusion says that this strategy is flawed. Whether anthropologists draw inferences or not does not affect the conclusion as long as they learn about ancient ancestors from the study.
Does this help?