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# Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the

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Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the [#permalink]  26 Oct 2009, 20:59
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Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the same number of tomato plants. Magnesium salts were added to the first plot but not to the second. The first plot produced 20 pounds of tomatoes and the second plot produced 10 pounds. Since nothing else but water was added to either plot, the higher yields in the first plot must have been due to the magnesium salts.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?
(A) A small amount of the magnesium salts from the first plot leached into the second plot.
(B) Tomato plants in a third experimental plot, to which a high-nitrogen fertilizer was added, but no magnesium salts, produced 15 pounds of tomatoes.
(C) Four different types of tomatoes were grown in equal proportions in each of the plots.
(D) Some weeds that compete with tomatoes cannot tolerate high amounts of magnesium salts in the soil.
(E) The two experimental plots differed from each other with respect to soil texture and exposure to sunlight.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  26 Oct 2009, 23:03
I guess clearly E is the answer.

If the soil used in eighter of the gardens was different, we can't be sure that ONLY magnesium salts were responsible for increased yeild.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 07:09
I was wondering "what if the better performing plot was worse off with respect to sunlight and soil?"
I am torn between D & E
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 09:28
E it is right away
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 09:39
E.

1st premise: The pot with Magnesium salts produced a higher yield.
2nd premise: nothing but water was added to the soil.
The conlusion: Magnesium salt must be responsible for the higher yield.

The key here is "must be." E undermines the conlusion becuase it introduces factors other than magnesium salts that could be reponsible for the higher yield. If the soil texture and sunlight exposure are different, they may have caused the yield to be different and undermine the conclusion that Magnesium salt was the sole cause.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 09:52
Option E.........
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 09:54
I agree that the answer is E.

I want to offer what I see as the distinction between D and E.

In D, the answer appears to offer an alternative explanation for the difference in production of crops. In stating that weeds were the cause, the answer also states that the reason the weeds could not compete in plot 1 was due to the salts in Plot 1 and not in Plot 2. This is still a cause and effect where the salts are the cause. It adds in an extra step....1) Salts prevent weeds from growing 2) lack of weeds allows crops to produce more CONCLUDE that salts helped in producing more tomatoes.

In E, the answer offers alternatives completely separate from the salts in Plot 1. There is no connection between the reason offered in E and the salts, but in D there is a connection to the reason offered (weeds) and the salts.

So E is the answer, and D seems close, but still supports the connection of salts to production.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 10:10
I think D is a trap answer. It actually supports the argument.

The premise actually says mag salt increased yield, it doesn't say mag salt caused the tomato plant to produce more. So whether the salt increased yield because it was conductive for the growth of tomato or damaging to the growth of weeds, which is detrimental to tomato, is not relevant.
choice D states that mag salt helped kill the weeds, leading to higher yield, Which is precisely the original conclusion that we seek to weaken--mag salt leads to higher yield.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 10:11
agree with clear E.
The conclusion of the stimulus is that 'the higher yields in the first plot must have been due to the magnesium salts.'
Cause( magnesium) - Effect(higher yields)
E is saying magnesium is not a cause of higher yields, reveals other reasons such as soil texture and exposure to sunlight. So it weakens the conclusion.
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  27 Oct 2009, 11:04

I like this question, it did not make me go dizzy as many others do.
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Re: Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the [#permalink]  30 Mar 2012, 22:59
E provides an alternate explanation for why we have different yields.
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Re: Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the [#permalink]  31 Mar 2012, 04:56
speeddeamon wrote:
Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the same number of tomato plants. Magnesium salts were added to the first plot but not to the second. The first plot produced 20 pounds of tomatoes and the second plot produced 10 pounds. Since nothing else but water was added to either plot, the higher yields in the first plot must have been due to the magnesium salts.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?
(A) A small amount of the magnesium salts from the first plot leached into the second plot.
(B) Tomato plants in a third experimental plot, to which a high-nitrogen fertilizer was added, but no magnesium salts, produced 15 pounds of tomatoes.
(C) Four different types of tomatoes were grown in equal proportions in each of the plots.
(D) Some weeds that compete with tomatoes cannot tolerate high amounts of magnesium salts in the soil.
(E) The two experimental plots differed from each other with respect to soil texture and exposure to sunlight.

I go with E too
A: it kind of supports the argument...
B: out of Range
C: Out of Range
D: It kind of Supports the argument
E: This alone weakens as it talks about other parameters that might have affected the yields in both
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Re: Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the [#permalink]  31 Mar 2012, 07:32
+1 E

That option mentions other possible explanations.
Thats's the key in weaken questions which show causal relationships.
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Re: Two experimental garden plots were each planted with the [#permalink]  02 Apr 2012, 03:22
Its E all the way... Evrything else is irrelevant... E brings in the alternate cause for the increase in the tomato.. Thus casting doubt on the conclusion...
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Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield [#permalink]  22 May 2013, 21:50
speeddeamon wrote:
I was wondering "what if the better performing plot was worse off with respect to sunlight and soil?"
I am torn between D & E

Conclusion: The higher yields in the first plot must have been due to the magnesium salts.

D) Some weeds that compete with tomatoes cannot tolerate high amounts of magnesium salts in the soil. strengthen the argument.

E)The two experimental plots differed from each other with respect to soil texture and exposure to sunlight. weakens the conclusion since it says that the quality of the soil of the second plot was not good and the second plot did no get sufficient sunlight.
Re: Magnesium salts and tomato yield   [#permalink] 22 May 2013, 21:50
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