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Through their selective funding of research projects, pharmaceutical companies exert too much influence upon medical research in universities. Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration, and funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience. As a result, only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare.

Which of the following reactions of a pharmaceutical company representative would provide the strongest rebuttal to the comments above?

Many of the research projects funded by pharmaceutical companies do not end up being lucrative.

Much of the funding provided by pharmaceutical companies goes to fellowships that help pay for the education of graduate students.

If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.

The committee members fail to discuss other methods of funding research projects.

Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.


OA - C

Can you please explain why E) is incorrect? If ONLY large universities are equipped to do the research, pharma companies are not wrong in funding ONLY large univ. Correct?

The conclusion is : Research will continue to be conducted at the cost of human welfare. The author provides a bunch of evidences : only large universities will be able to conduct the research; students' research will conform to the expectations of the companies.

However, if only large univ are the ones that CAN conduct the research, isn't the argument against companies weakened? Another point could be made that the author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare. However, both the statements will equally kill the argument.

Thoughts?
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2012, 19:44
@voodoochild - please follow the forum rules and DON'T type the OA openly. Keep it hidden.

Please find the below link for the CR answer.
http://www.beatthegmat.com/toughest-cr- ... 15737.html

Cheers!

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2012, 20:49
(E) is more of another premise, only (C) is refuting the statement
(C)If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.
Which means that the research is not happening on the cost of human welfare but the the funding given by the pharma companies

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2012, 09:21
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voodoochild wrote:
Through their selective funding of research projects, pharmaceutical companies exert too much influence upon medical research in universities. Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration, and funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience. As a result, only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare.

Which of the following reactions of a pharmaceutical company representative would provide the strongest rebuttal to the comments above?
(A) Many of the research projects funded by pharmaceutical companies do not end up being lucrative.
(B) Much of the funding provided by pharmaceutical companies goes to fellowships that help pay for the education of graduate students.
(C) If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.
(D) The committee members fail to discuss other methods of funding research projects.
(E) Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

Can you please explain why E) is incorrect? If ONLY large universities are equipped to do the research, pharma companies are not wrong in funding ONLY large univ. Correct?

The conclusion is : Research will continue to be conducted at the cost of human welfare. The author provides a bunch of evidences: only large universities will be able to conduct the research; students' research will conform to the expectations of the companies. However, if only large univ are the ones that CAN conduct the research, isn't the argument against companies weakened? Another point could be made that the author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare. However, both the statements will equally kill the argument. Thoughts?


I am responding to a pm from VoodooChild.

The critic making this argument is saying, essentially -- pharmaceutical companies only care about profits, not human welfare, so when they dump all this research money into the universities, they are essentially hijacking and manipulating the intellectual resources of that university for their own money-making schemes, again at the expense of human welfare. At an even more simplistic level, we could reduce the argument to: When universities receive research money from pharmaceutical companies, that's bad for human welfare. Fundamentally, that's what the critic is saying, between the lines.

Now, suppose the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (E): "Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies." Then, the critic is going to say --- Yes, larger universities are the only ones big enough to handle your giant money-making schemes! Only larger universities have the resources that will ultimately allow you to line your pockets with vast quantities of graft. Without your influence, those larger universities could be working on research that directly benefits human welfare, but instead, you have forced them to work on stuff that will just benefit your bottom line!

Answer (E) addresses the choice of larger universities, rather than all universities --- that was a point made in passing in the argument, but it is not essential to the argument. Theoretically, the pharmaceutical companies could fund research at every single university, public and private, in the whole country --- then everyone would be manipulated by their money, and (according to the critic) human welfare would be hurt even more. That would be even worse! The argument about where the research is happening is not essential to the main argument. The essential thing is --- what really benefits human welfare? (E) doesn't touch that, and as I tried to make clear, a persistent critic would not be satisfied if they gave (E) as an answer.

Not all evidence is equal. Here, the argument contains what ostensibly is a line of evidence: "...only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities ...", but even if this is completely cut out, denied, and the opposite is true --- every single university, big and small, gets pharmaceutical money ---- that would actually strengthen the argument, as far as the critic is concerned. If every single university, big and small, is under the profit-seeking influence of the pharmaceutical companies, then no one will do anything to benefit human welfare. It's not enough to attack what appears as evidence --- you have to think, contextually, about what it would mean for that piece of evidence to be false.

Meanwhile, if the the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (C):"If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all." If pharmaceutical companies don't invest, no research happens, no new cures or treatments for disease are developed, and human welfare is thereby hurt. The critic's argument, in its core form, is "Pharmaceutical money = bad", and this is the only answer choice that says anything like, ""Pharmaceutical money = good", which is what a rebuttal would have to say.

I totally agree with you --- this is, at best, a tepid rebuttal. The critic says to the pharmaceutical companies, "Your money makes the situation bad," and (C) is essentially saying, "Yes, but it would be even worse without our money." Yes, it's a kind of rebuttal, but hardly a ringing endorsement for the ethical standing of the pharmaceutical companies. A much more powerful rebuttal would be along the lines of what you suggested --- as you said, "author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare", so something that attacks that assumption would be an excellent rebuttal. For example, the pharmaceutical company representative could have said, "The research from which we derive the greatest profits are profitable precisely because so many people benefit from the resultant breakthroughs." In other words, profits and human welfare are aligned, not at odds. That would be a powerful rebuttal (except that, in all likelihood, it's just corporate B.S that manipulates the facts and misrepresents the situation, but that's getting into second-order objections, much more complex than the GMAT CR involves).

Does all this make sense?

Mike :)

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2012, 21:03
Kudos to Mike! Very clear explanation.
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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2012, 08:51
mikemcgarry wrote:
voodoochild wrote:
Through their selective funding of research projects, pharmaceutical companies exert too much influence upon medical research in universities. Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration, and funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience. As a result, only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare.

Which of the following reactions of a pharmaceutical company representative would provide the strongest rebuttal to the comments above?
(A) Many of the research projects funded by pharmaceutical companies do not end up being lucrative.
(B) Much of the funding provided by pharmaceutical companies goes to fellowships that help pay for the education of graduate students.
(C) If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.
(D) The committee members fail to discuss other methods of funding research projects.
(E) Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

Can you please explain why E) is incorrect? If ONLY large universities are equipped to do the research, pharma companies are not wrong in funding ONLY large univ. Correct?

The conclusion is : Research will continue to be conducted at the cost of human welfare. The author provides a bunch of evidences: only large universities will be able to conduct the research; students' research will conform to the expectations of the companies. However, if only large univ are the ones that CAN conduct the research, isn't the argument against companies weakened? Another point could be made that the author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare. However, both the statements will equally kill the argument. Thoughts?


I am responding to a pm from VoodooChild.

The critic making this argument is saying, essentially -- pharmaceutical companies only care about profits, not human welfare, so when they dump all this research money into the universities, they are essentially hijacking and manipulating the intellectual resources of that university for their own money-making schemes, again at the expense of human welfare. At an even more simplistic level, we could reduce the argument to: When universities receive research money from pharmaceutical companies, that's bad for human welfare. Fundamentally, that's what the critic is saying, between the lines.

Now, suppose the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (E): "Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies." Then, the critic is going to say --- Yes, larger universities are the only ones big enough to handle your giant money-making schemes! Only larger universities have the resources that will ultimately allow you to line your pockets with vast quantities of graft. Without your influence, those larger universities could be working on research that directly benefits human welfare, but instead, you have forced them to work on stuff that will just benefit your bottom line!

Answer (E) addresses the choice of larger universities, rather than all universities --- that was a point made in passing in the argument, but it is not essential to the argument. Theoretically, the pharmaceutical companies could fund research at every single university, public and private, in the whole country --- then everyone would be manipulated by their money, and (according to the critic) human welfare would be hurt even more. That would be even worse! The argument about where the research is happening is not essential to the main argument. The essential thing is --- what really benefits human welfare? (E) doesn't touch that, and as I tried to make clear, a persistent critic would not be satisfied if they gave (E) as an answer.

Not all evidence is equal. Here, the argument contains what ostensibly is a line of evidence: "...only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities ...", but even if this is completely cut out, denied, and the opposite is true --- every single university, big and small, gets pharmaceutical money ---- that would actually strengthen the argument, as far as the critic is concerned. If every single university, big and small, is under the profit-seeking influence of the pharmaceutical companies, then no one will do anything to benefit human welfare. It's not enough to attack what appears as evidence --- you have to think, contextually, about what it would mean for that piece of evidence to be false.

Meanwhile, if the the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (C):"If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all." If pharmaceutical companies don't invest, no research happens, no new cures or treatments for disease are developed, and human welfare is thereby hurt. The critic's argument, in its core form, is "Pharmaceutical money = bad", and this is the only answer choice that says anything like, ""Pharmaceutical money = good", which is what a rebuttal would have to say.

I totally agree with you --- this is, at best, a tepid rebuttal. The critic says to the pharmaceutical companies, "Your money makes the situation bad," and (C) is essentially saying, "Yes, but it would be even worse without our money." Yes, it's a kind of rebuttal, but hardly a ringing endorsement for the ethical standing of the pharmaceutical companies. A much more powerful rebuttal would be along the lines of what you suggested --- as you said, "author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare", so something that attacks that assumption would be an excellent rebuttal. For example, the pharmaceutical company representative could have said, "The research from which we derive the greatest profits are profitable precisely because so many people benefit from the resultant breakthroughs." In other words, profits and human welfare are aligned, not at odds. That would be a powerful rebuttal (except that, in all likelihood, it's just corporate B.S that manipulates the facts and misrepresents the situation, but that's getting into second-order objections, much more complex than the GMAT CR involves).

Does all this make sense?

Mike :)


Mike,

Thanks for your detailed response. However, I am not following the fact that we are ignoring the written evidence by the critic. In other words, "only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. " The critic is not only suggesting that the companies influence the kind of research but also suggesting that (he has used "AND" connector) the research is carried only at Large universities by companies. However, the pharma guy could say that it's not that we are influencing the decision to ONLY choose large universities but that only LARGE universities are equipped to do the kind of research that interests us. The argument is killed. Isn't it?

For instance, Vietnamese guy could say that Bayer is not investing in stem cell research in Vietnam but investing in Princeton university (it's a random example). The Bayer guy will say that only Princeton is equipped to do the research. What do I do?

The main conclusion is hinged on the an intermediate conclusion as an evidence.

HEre's the flow, as per me:

{#1: Intermediate conclusion (IC) : only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities,

+

#2 : Intermediate conclusion (IC): graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation.
}
Main conclusion : Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare

Support for IC #1 = funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience.
Support for IC #2 = Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration,

As we can see that there two parallel threads going on in the argument. Both the threads are equally important. Both can equally destroy the argument.

thoughts?

Thanks
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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2012, 11:01
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voodoochild wrote:
Mike, Thanks for your detailed response. However, I am not following the fact that we are ignoring the written evidence by the critic. In other words, "only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. " The critic is not only suggesting that the companies influence the kind of research but also suggesting that (he has used "AND" connector) the research is carried only at Large universities by companies. However, the pharma guy could say that it's not that we are influencing the decision to ONLY choose large universities but that only LARGE universities are equipped to do the kind of research that interests us. The argument is killed. Isn't it?

The big idea, once again --- not all evidence is created equal. Just because it's stated as evidence in the course of the argument absolutely does not make it automatically crucial for the argument. Everything on the GMAT CR is about reasoning in context. Why on earth would the pharmaceutical company's pouring money into large universities hurt human welfare more than if they invested the same amount across a number of small universities? If they dump, say, $5 billion into the university system to promote research that will enhance their own profits, does it really matter exactly where that $5 billion lands? Regardless of how it's distributed, that's $5 billion of resources & time & energy & brain-power devoted, ultimately, to making those companies more money -- and the critic would say, that hurts human welfare. The whole "large university" part of the argument is a distractor that is not really relevant to the thrust of the argument --- again, the exact opposite could be true, and that would not damage the argument --- it might even make the argument stronger! For example, the more spread out the money is, the more people are working to support the pharmaceutical companies aims, and their self-serving influence is that much more pervasive --- according to the critic, that would be just as bad for human welfare, if not worse!
voodoochild wrote:
For instance, Vietnamese guy could say that Bayer is not investing in stem cell research in Vietnam but investing in Princeton university (it's a random example). The Bayer guy will say that only Princeton is equipped to do the research. What do I do?

There's nothing to do. Princeton, a century-old bastion of privilege, has considerably greater resources than an country that is still struggling to recover from one of the most devastating internal wars in the modern era. The Vietnamese guy is right. The representative from Bayer is right. The rich get richer --- for better or worse, that's a familiar pattern in global capitalism.
voodoochild wrote:
The main conclusion is hinged on the an intermediate conclusion as an evidence.
HEre's the flow, as per me:
{#1: Intermediate conclusion (IC) : only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, +
#2 : Intermediate conclusion (IC): graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation.}
Main conclusion : Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare
Support for IC #1 = funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience.
Support for IC #2 = Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration,
As we can see that there two parallel threads going on in the argument. Both the threads are equally important. Both can equally destroy the argument.
thoughts?
Thanks

You are thinking dogmatically and formulaically about CR, and the GMAT viciously punishes that kind of approach. Once again, the GMAT CR is all about deeply contextual reasoning, reasoning that sifts through what is unique and particular about each new situation. That's what you'll need to sort out arguments in the business world, so that's what the GMAT CR addresses.
In my reading, the reference to larger universities just emphasizes, indirectly, the enormous amount of money in play in this situation. It is a somewhat unessential detail that is just the critic's way of saying, "We ain't talkin' peanuts here." Once again, it is absolutely nothing like an intermediate conclusion, because as I have said before, the exact opposite could be true and it still wouldn't weaken the argument --- if, instead of giving $1 billion to each of five large universities, the pharmaceutical companies give, say, $100 million to each of 50 smaller universities --- either way, that's $5 billion of resources in play, devoted to making profits for those companies, which, the critic feels, comes at the expense of human welfare. Where the money is spent is really beside the point entirely. It doesn't affect the conclusion at all.
If you cling to formulaic ideas like "The main conclusion is hinged on the intermediate conclusion as an evidence" that will inevitably mess you up when you come to particular questions that don't follow the pattern. If you try to force-fit CR arguments into preconceived molds, you will get one after another wrong. The GMAT excels at creating CR argument-situations that are irreducibly unique, in which the logical interrelationships avoid falling into any neat predictable pattern. No formulaic approach can substitute for flexible critical thinking about the ineluctably unique features of the situation.
Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2012, 09:08
mikemcgarry wrote:
voodoochild wrote:
Mike, Thanks for your detailed response. However, I am not following the fact that we are ignoring the written evidence by the critic. In other words, "only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. " The critic is not only suggesting that the companies influence the kind of research but also suggesting that (he has used "AND" connector) the research is carried only at Large universities by companies. However, the pharma guy could say that it's not that we are influencing the decision to ONLY choose large universities but that only LARGE universities are equipped to do the kind of research that interests us. The argument is killed. Isn't it?

The big idea, once again --- not all evidence is created equal. Just because it's stated as evidence in the course of the argument absolutely does not make it automatically crucial for the argument. Everything on the GMAT CR is about reasoning in context. Why on earth would the pharmaceutical company's pouring money into large universities hurt human welfare more than if they invested the same amount across a number of small universities? If they dump, say, $5 billion into the university system to promote research that will enhance their own profits, does it really matter exactly where that $5 billion lands? Regardless of how it's distributed, that's $5 billion of resources & time & energy & brain-power devoted, ultimately, to making those companies more money -- and the critic would say, that hurts human welfare. The whole "large university" part of the argument is a distractor that is not really relevant to the thrust of the argument --- again, the exact opposite could be true, and that would not damage the argument --- it might even make the argument stronger! For example, the more spread out the money is, the more people are working to support the pharmaceutical companies aims, and their self-serving influence is that much more pervasive --- according to the critic, that would be just as bad for human welfare, if not worse!
voodoochild wrote:
For instance, Vietnamese guy could say that Bayer is not investing in stem cell research in Vietnam but investing in Princeton university (it's a random example). The Bayer guy will say that only Princeton is equipped to do the research. What do I do?

There's nothing to do. Princeton, a century-old bastion of privilege, has considerably greater resources than an country that is still struggling to recover from one of the most devastating internal wars in the modern era. The Vietnamese guy is right. The representative from Bayer is right. The rich get richer --- for better or worse, that's a familiar pattern in global capitalism.
voodoochild wrote:
The main conclusion is hinged on the an intermediate conclusion as an evidence.
HEre's the flow, as per me:
{#1: Intermediate conclusion (IC) : only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, +
#2 : Intermediate conclusion (IC): graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation.}
Main conclusion : Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare
Support for IC #1 = funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience.
Support for IC #2 = Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration,
As we can see that there two parallel threads going on in the argument. Both the threads are equally important. Both can equally destroy the argument.
thoughts?
Thanks

You are thinking dogmatically and formulaically about CR, and the GMAT viciously punishes that kind of approach. Once again, the GMAT CR is all about deeply contextual reasoning, reasoning that sifts through what is unique and particular about each new situation. That's what you'll need to sort out arguments in the business world, so that's what the GMAT CR addresses.
In my reading, the reference to larger universities just emphasizes, indirectly, the enormous amount of money in play in this situation. It is a somewhat unessential detail that is just the critic's way of saying, "We ain't talkin' peanuts here." Once again, it is absolutely nothing like an intermediate conclusion, because as I have said before, the exact opposite could be true and it still wouldn't weaken the argument --- if, instead of giving $1 billion to each of five large universities, the pharmaceutical companies give, say, $100 million to each of 50 smaller universities --- either way, that's $5 billion of resources in play, devoted to making profits for those companies, which, the critic feels, comes at the expense of human welfare. Where the money is spent is really beside the point entirely. It doesn't affect the conclusion at all.
If you cling to formulaic ideas like "The main conclusion is hinged on the intermediate conclusion as an evidence" that will inevitably mess you up when you come to particular questions that don't follow the pattern. If you try to force-fit CR arguments into preconceived molds, you will get one after another wrong. The GMAT excels at creating CR argument-situations that are irreducibly unique, in which the logical interrelationships avoid falling into any neat predictable pattern. No formulaic approach can substitute for flexible critical thinking about the ineluctably unique features of the situation.
Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Mike,
Thanks for correcting me.

I have started reading like a debater after failing miserably on the CR. I am seeing some improvement by adopting strategies recommended by Powerscore LSAT book (The GMAT book is a mini version of the LSAT book - most of the chapters are the same). The books prescribes that the reader must read like a Phd Research Analyst or a lawyer. Every single word, thought, statement, inference counts. The book helps us to see the argument as composed of several layers of statements built on top of each other.

Do you know any specific real GMAT CR from OG12 that requires a real world logical thinking, and one would fail to solve the problem using logical reasoning skills? The book just recommends to keep an eye on evidences , hidden intermediate conclusions and hidden assumptions between statements. I used to depend on real-world reasoning, but I realized that I tend to miss crisp details in the argument.

I re-read the passage again. E) , in this case, is a strengthener. Here's why:

Evidence : Funding is usuallyawarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience.
Intermediate conclusion - only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities,

HEnce, E) actually supports critic's argument because the IC uses a specific word "only" to say that the company influences "only" large institution. "most" or "usually" funded institutions do not hold good for a good reason.

Please let me know a GMAT CR on which the above logical reasoning skills will fail. I am eager for your expert response and guidance.

Thoughts?
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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2012, 13:42
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voodoochild wrote:
I have started reading like a debater after failing miserably on the CR. I am seeing some improvement by adopting strategies recommended by Powerscore LSAT book (The GMAT book is a mini version of the LSAT book - most of the chapters are the same). The books prescribes that the reader must read like a Phd Research Analyst or a lawyer. Every single word, thought, statement, inference counts. The book helps us to see the argument as composed of several layers of statements built on top of each other.

Do you know any specific real GMAT CR from OG12 that requires a real world logical thinking, and one would fail to solve the problem using logical reasoning skills? The book just recommends to keep an eye on evidences , hidden intermediate conclusions and hidden assumptions between statements. I used to depend on real-world reasoning, but I realized that I tend to miss crisp details in the argument.


All of that sounds like good advice. Read every detail. What is stated vs. what is inferred. Think like a lawyer. All very good.

When you say: "I used to depend on real-world reasoning, but I realized that I tend to miss crisp details in the argument" --- right there, I realize I don't understand what you mean by "real-world reasoning." Do you mean, reasoning based on analogous situations in your own life, vs. close-reading of the text? It's absolutely true, throughout the GMAT Verbal section, close reading is crucial. It's also true that any experience you have had, that are different from the experiences that others have had, probably will not be a sound basis for deciphering GMAT CR questions.

Perhaps because don't understand that, I must say, I am having trouble understanding the distinction you are drawing . . .
(a) a real world logical thinking, vs.
(b) logical reasoning skills

Hmmm. Logic thinking vs. logical reasoning. That's not clear to me at all.

The distinction I drew in my previous post was
(c) abstract formulaic template thinking --- (i.e. every argument must have this piece that does this, then that piece that does that, etc.), a one-size-fits-all approach
vs.
(d) deeply contextual thinking about what is unique and particular to the situation; flexible critical thinking

If we look at the 110 CR questions in the OG, on which ones will (c) get you in trouble? All of them.
On which ones will (d) serve you well? All of them.
On which ones is close reading important? All of them.
Which ones are designed to elicit, from not-so-careful readers, assumptions and perspectives that will lead you astray? The vast majority of them.

Before I can tell you about OG problems that do or don't satisfy some kind of distinction, I need to understand, with tremendous precision, exactly what that distinction is. Explain it like a lawyer --- that will be good practice for you.

Mike :-)

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2012, 06:12
mikemcgarry wrote:
voodoochild wrote:
I have started reading like a debater after failing miserably on the CR. I am seeing some improvement by adopting strategies recommended by Powerscore LSAT book (The GMAT book is a mini version of the LSAT book - most of the chapters are the same). The books prescribes that the reader must read like a Phd Research Analyst or a lawyer. Every single word, thought, statement, inference counts. The book helps us to see the argument as composed of several layers of statements built on top of each other.

Do you know any specific real GMAT CR from OG12 that requires a real world logical thinking, and one would fail to solve the problem using logical reasoning skills? The book just recommends to keep an eye on evidences , hidden intermediate conclusions and hidden assumptions between statements. I used to depend on real-world reasoning, but I realized that I tend to miss crisp details in the argument.


All of that sounds like good advice. Read every detail. What is stated vs. what is inferred. Think like a lawyer. All very good.

When you say: "I used to depend on real-world reasoning, but I realized that I tend to miss crisp details in the argument" --- right there, I realize I don't understand what you mean by "real-world reasoning." Do you mean, reasoning based on analogous situations in your own life, vs. close-reading of the text? It's absolutely true, throughout the GMAT Verbal section, close reading is crucial. It's also true that any experience you have had, that are different from the experiences that others have had, probably will not be a sound basis for deciphering GMAT CR questions.

Perhaps because don't understand that, I must say, I am having trouble understanding the distinction you are drawing . . .
(a) a real world logical thinking, vs.
(b) logical reasoning skills

Hmmm. Logic thinking vs. logical reasoning. That's not clear to me at all.

The distinction I drew in my previous post was
(c) abstract formulaic template thinking --- (i.e. every argument must have this piece that does this, then that piece that does that, etc.), a one-size-fits-all approach
vs.
(d) deeply contextual thinking about what is unique and particular to the situation; flexible critical thinking

If we look at the 110 CR questions in the OG, on which ones will (c) get you in trouble? All of them.
On which ones will (d) serve you well? All of them.
On which ones is close reading important? All of them.
Which ones are designed to elicit, from not-so-careful readers, assumptions and perspectives that will lead you astray? The vast majority of them.

Before I can tell you about OG problems that do or don't satisfy some kind of distinction, I need to understand, with tremendous precision, exactly what that distinction is. Explain it like a lawyer --- that will be good practice for you.

Mike :-)


Mike,
When I say Real world reasoning, I meant something like an intuitive reasoning or a reasoning based on analogous situations in our own life. However, logical reasoning is different. There are many instances in which an answer may seem correct because we are molded in a real world reasoning. We don't think from Lawyer's perspective. The Powerscore book recommends that use a structure (opinion/claim/premise/facts) for reading the argument. Such an approach will help us to identify "hidden" assumptions. Every argument must have at least an evidence and a conclusion. The whole "CR world" revolves around these two words in an intricate way.

On a separate note, do you think that E) is a strengthener? I am not sure whether you saw my analysis above. Thoughts?


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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2012, 12:32
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voodoochild wrote:
Mike,
When I say Real world reasoning, I meant something like an intuitive reasoning or a reasoning based on analogous situations in our own life. However, logical reasoning is different. There are many instances in which an answer may seem correct because we are molded in a real world reasoning. We don't think from Lawyer's perspective. The Powerscore book recommends that use a structure (opinion/claim/premise/facts) for reading the argument. Such an approach will help us to identify "hidden" assumptions. Every argument must have at least an evidence and a conclusion. The whole "CR world" revolves around these two words in an intricate way.

On a separate note, do you think that E) is a strengthener? I am not sure whether you saw my analysis above. Thoughts?


First of all, given that definition of "real world reasoning", I would say: that is definitely a trap. In fact, that's a trap many of the CR are designed to exploit. It's natural to filter an argument through the lens of everything we have already heard about a topic. It's hard to stay crisp, looking at exactly what is said, and exactly what can be inferred, and not bring in anything else extraneous. Shunryu Suzuki said that Zen Mind was simply a "beginner's mind", the mind of someone who looks at everything fresh and new, with no preconceptions or expectations. In a way, that's an ideal for which to strive in approaching GMAT CR.

Similarly, I would say: start to let go of terms like "evidence", "conclusion", etc --- at some point, those labels are distractors. Yes, when I need to explain it to someone else, I will pull out those words for pedagogical purposes, but when I solve the question myself, those terms never enter my mind. It is analogous to someone learning a language --- when folks are in ESL 101, then they learn "The book" [noun] "is sitting" [verb, present progressive] "on the table" [prepositional phrase]. That's fine when one is in the early stages of learning, but at some point, one becomes fluent, and just says in a matter of fact manner, "The book is sitting on the table", without thinking consciously of any of the points of grammar. I would say: strive for fluency in CR. That's the goal. Lawyers don't need to think about the words "evidence" and "conclusion": they dissect arguments intuitively, without needing the word for the "grammar" of the argument. That's part of what it means to "think like a lawyer." Now that you have more experience with CR, start to let go of the words "evidence" and "conclusion" and throw yourself into the particularity of the situation described in the prompt. Does that make sense?

And yes, I didn't miss your question about "strengthener", but I chose to overlook it. Again, words, words, word. "The Way that can be put into words is not the true Way." At a certain point, it's not helpful to introduce more and more terms and abstract distinctions. It is a complete delusion to think that you keep improving your understanding purely because you keep learning more fancy words for it. In fact, those are labels that can distract you from the essential task. As far as the GMAT is concerned, I think the OG is an excellent benchmark. The term "strengthener" (in a CR question) does not appear in the OG, and my feeling is: if they don't feel the term is necessary, then we probably don't need it. Let's stick closer to the terminological limits implied by the OG. It's very easy to carry fascination with terms into the realm of the excessive, and at that point, the proliferation of terms hinders more than it helps. Does all this make sense?

Mike :-)

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 07:22
mikemcgarry wrote:
voodoochild wrote:
Mike,
When I say Real world reasoning, I meant something like an intuitive reasoning or a reasoning based on analogous situations in our own life. However, logical reasoning is different. There are many instances in which an answer may seem correct because we are molded in a real world reasoning. We don't think from Lawyer's perspective. The Powerscore book recommends that use a structure (opinion/claim/premise/facts) for reading the argument. Such an approach will help us to identify "hidden" assumptions. Every argument must have at least an evidence and a conclusion. The whole "CR world" revolves around these two words in an intricate way.

On a separate note, do you think that E) is a strengthener? I am not sure whether you saw my analysis above. Thoughts?


First of all, given that definition of "real world reasoning", I would say: that is definitely a trap. In fact, that's a trap many of the CR are designed to exploit. It's natural to filter an argument through the lens of everything we have already heard about a topic. It's hard to stay crisp, looking at exactly what is said, and exactly what can be inferred, and not bring in anything else extraneous. Shunryu Suzuki said that Zen Mind was simply a "beginner's mind", the mind of someone who looks at everything fresh and new, with no preconceptions or expectations. In a way, that's an ideal for which to strive in approaching GMAT CR.

Similarly, I would say: start to let go of terms like "evidence", "conclusion", etc --- at some point, those labels are distractors. Yes, when I need to explain it to someone else, I will pull out those words for pedagogical purposes, but when I solve the question myself, those terms never enter my mind. It is analogous to someone learning a language --- when folks are in ESL 101, then they learn "The book" [noun] "is sitting" [verb, present progressive] "on the table" [prepositional phrase]. That's fine when one is in the early stages of learning, but at some point, one becomes fluent, and just says in a matter of fact manner, "The book is sitting on the table", without thinking consciously of any of the points of grammar. I would say: strive for fluency in CR. That's the goal. Lawyers don't need to think about the words "evidence" and "conclusion": they dissect arguments intuitively, without needing the word for the "grammar" of the argument. That's part of what it means to "think like a lawyer." Now that you have more experience with CR, start to let go of the words "evidence" and "conclusion" and throw yourself into the particularity of the situation described in the prompt. Does that make sense?

And yes, I didn't miss your question about "strengthener", but I chose to overlook it. Again, words, words, word. "The Way that can be put into words is not the true Way." At a certain point, it's not helpful to introduce more and more terms and abstract distinctions. It is a complete delusion to think that you keep improving your understanding purely because you keep learning more fancy words for it. In fact, those are labels that can distract you from the essential task. As far as the GMAT is concerned, I think the OG is an excellent benchmark. The term "strengthener" (in a CR question) does not appear in the OG, and my feeling is: if they don't feel the term is necessary, then we probably don't need it. Let's stick closer to the terminological limits implied by the OG. It's very easy to carry fascination with terms into the realm of the excessive, and at that point, the proliferation of terms hinders more than it helps. Does all this make sense?

Mike :-)



Mike,
I agree 100% on what you said. I guess my question about "strengthener" was to know whether E) strengthens the argument. I wrote an analysis on why I think that E) is a strengthener. Can you please let me know whether my analysis is accurate?

Appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks
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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2013, 00:00
mikemcgarry wrote:
voodoochild wrote:
Through their selective funding of research projects, pharmaceutical companies exert too much influence upon medical research in universities. Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration, and funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience. As a result, only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare.

Which of the following reactions of a pharmaceutical company representative would provide the strongest rebuttal to the comments above?
(A) Many of the research projects funded by pharmaceutical companies do not end up being lucrative.
(B) Much of the funding provided by pharmaceutical companies goes to fellowships that help pay for the education of graduate students.
(C) If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.
(D) The committee members fail to discuss other methods of funding research projects.
(E) Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

Can you please explain why E) is incorrect? If ONLY large universities are equipped to do the research, pharma companies are not wrong in funding ONLY large univ. Correct?

The conclusion is : Research will continue to be conducted at the cost of human welfare. The author provides a bunch of evidences: only large universities will be able to conduct the research; students' research will conform to the expectations of the companies. However, if only large univ are the ones that CAN conduct the research, isn't the argument against companies weakened? Another point could be made that the author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare. However, both the statements will equally kill the argument. Thoughts?


I am responding to a pm from VoodooChild.

The critic making this argument is saying, essentially -- pharmaceutical companies only care about profits, not human welfare, so when they dump all this research money into the universities, they are essentially hijacking and manipulating the intellectual resources of that university for their own money-making schemes, again at the expense of human welfare. At an even more simplistic level, we could reduce the argument to: When universities receive research money from pharmaceutical companies, that's bad for human welfare. Fundamentally, that's what the critic is saying, between the lines.

Now, suppose the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (E): "Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies." Then, the critic is going to say --- Yes, larger universities are the only ones big enough to handle your giant money-making schemes! Only larger universities have the resources that will ultimately allow you to line your pockets with vast quantities of graft. Without your influence, those larger universities could be working on research that directly benefits human welfare, but instead, you have forced them to work on stuff that will just benefit your bottom line!

Answer (E) addresses the choice of larger universities, rather than all universities --- that was a point made in passing in the argument, but it is not essential to the argument. Theoretically, the pharmaceutical companies could fund research at every single university, public and private, in the whole country --- then everyone would be manipulated by their money, and (according to the critic) human welfare would be hurt even more. That would be even worse! The argument about where the research is happening is not essential to the main argument. The essential thing is --- what really benefits human welfare? (E) doesn't touch that, and as I tried to make clear, a persistent critic would not be satisfied if they gave (E) as an answer.

Not all evidence is equal. Here, the argument contains what ostensibly is a line of evidence: "...only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities ...", but even if this is completely cut out, denied, and the opposite is true --- every single university, big and small, gets pharmaceutical money ---- that would actually strengthen the argument, as far as the critic is concerned. If every single university, big and small, is under the profit-seeking influence of the pharmaceutical companies, then no one will do anything to benefit human welfare. It's not enough to attack what appears as evidence --- you have to think, contextually, about what it would mean for that piece of evidence to be false.

Meanwhile, if the the pharmaceutical company representative responds with (C):"If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all." If pharmaceutical companies don't invest, no research happens, no new cures or treatments for disease are developed, and human welfare is thereby hurt. The critic's argument, in its core form, is "Pharmaceutical money = bad", and this is the only answer choice that says anything like, ""Pharmaceutical money = good", which is what a rebuttal would have to say.

I totally agree with you --- this is, at best, a tepid rebuttal. The critic says to the pharmaceutical companies, "Your money makes the situation bad," and (C) is essentially saying, "Yes, but it would be even worse without our money." Yes, it's a kind of rebuttal, but hardly a ringing endorsement for the ethical standing of the pharmaceutical companies. A much more powerful rebuttal would be along the lines of what you suggested --- as you said, "author assumes that the expectations of the companies don't comply with human welfare", so something that attacks that assumption would be an excellent rebuttal. For example, the pharmaceutical company representative could have said, "The research from which we derive the greatest profits are profitable precisely because so many people benefit from the resultant breakthroughs." In other words, profits and human welfare are aligned, not at odds. That would be a powerful rebuttal (except that, in all likelihood, it's just corporate B.S that manipulates the facts and misrepresents the situation, but that's getting into second-order objections, much more complex than the GMAT CR involves).

Does all this make sense?

Mike :)


great Mike,

your summary of the argument is great. pls, help

but, Mike, I want you to use one of 10 frameworks in your CR course to solve this problem

please, show the following steps
- make questions to criticize the argument
- predict assumption and the weakener
- going to the answer choice for match.

we wish to see how you criticize the argument and prethink assumption/anwer. please, write down for us

thank you.

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If anyone in this gmat forum is in England,Britain, pls, email to me, (thanghnvn@gmail.com) . I have some questions and need your advise. Thank a lot.

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Re: CR - Weaken [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2013, 10:25
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vietmoi999 wrote:
great Mike,

your summary of the argument is great. pls, help

but, Mike, I want you to use one of 10 frameworks in your CR course to solve this problem

please, show the following steps
- make questions to criticize the argument
- predict assumption and the weakener
- going to the answer choice for match.

we wish to see how you criticize the argument and prethink assumption/anwer. please, write down for us

thank you.

Dear vietmoi999,
The "10 frameworks in [my] CR course" (???) --- the Magoosh course, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't have 10 frameworks.

To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of "frameworks" for the GMAT CR. The GMAT excels at creating arguments that are context-specific, to which the strengthener or weakener are irreducibly specific to the situation. I think frameworks are of limited use, at best. I think what the GMAT really demands is flexible critical thinking.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)

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Re: Through their selective funding of research projects, [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2013, 10:44
Why option A is not viable here!!
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Re: Through their selective funding of research projects, [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2013, 13:39
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soumyaranjandash wrote:
Why option A is not viable here!!

Here's the question again:
Through their selective funding of research projects, pharmaceutical companies exert too much influence upon medical research in universities. Only research proposals promising lucrative results are given serious consideration, and funding is usually awarded to scientists at large institutions who already have vast research experience. As a result, only larger universities will be able to continue developing adequate research facilities, and graduate students will learn that their future research must conform to the expectations of the corporation. Research will continue to be conducted at the expense of human welfare.

Which of the following reactions of a pharmaceutical company representative would provide the strongest rebuttal to the comments above?
(A) Many of the research projects funded by pharmaceutical companies do not end up being lucrative.
(B) Much of the funding provided by pharmaceutical companies goes to fellowships that help pay for the education of graduate students.
(C) If it were not for the funds which pharmaceutical companies provide, very little medical research could be conducted at all.
(D) The committee members fail to discuss other methods of funding research projects.
(E) Larger universities are the only ones equipped to conduct the kind of research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.


The argument says, essentially, that the pharmaceutical company are doing something wrong, something harmful for humans in general, by these investments. If they are also bad investments, as (A) suggests, that only makes them even worse! The pharmaceutical company representative is not going use as a defense something that make the company's actions look even worse!

In other words, if someone makes an argument that, by doing X, I am actually harming others in a criminal way, then if my defense is: "But I am not doing X particularly well!" --- that's hardly a defense that would hold up in court!!

That's the problem with (A). Does this make sense?
Mike :-)

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Re: Through their selective funding of research projects,   [#permalink] 10 Sep 2013, 13:39
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