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When a planetary system forms, the chances that a planet [#permalink]
01 Jul 2010, 11:53
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When a planetary system forms, the chances that a planet capable of supporting life will be formed are high. The chances that a large planet the size of Jupiter or Saturn will be formed, however, are low. Without Jupiter and Saturn, whose gravitational forces have prevented Earth from being frequently struck by large comets, intelligent life would never have arisen on Earth. Since planetary systems are unlikely to contain any large planets, the chances that intelligent life will emerge on a planet are, therefore, low. Knowing which one of the following would be most useful in evaluating the argument? (A) whether all planetary system are formed from similar amounts of matter (B) whether intelligent species would be likely to survive if a comet struck their planet (C) whether large comets could be deflected by only one large planet rather than be two (D) how high the chances are that planetary systems will contain many large comets (E) how likely it is that planetary systems containing large planets will also contain planets the size of Earth
I could easily eliminate A B and C..between D and E D is more appropriate because if the chances of comets are low, then intelligent life can survive without the existence of large planets because the latter are meant to deflect comets from striking the life-holding planet.
If you can have 1 planet vs 2 planets for life that makes a huge difference in the chances for life.
D is tricky and tempting, but the problem is it talks about how often a large comet are in a planetary system, but thats not the same as how often a planet is struck by a large comet. D doesnt tell you anything about that frequency at all. You cant make the assumption that because there are less large comets in a planetary system , there are less collision with planets that can support life.
You cant make the assumption that because there are less large comets in a planetary system , there are less collision with planets that can support life.
Well you certainly can't assume so, but if there are a lot of large comets, then the "chance" of a planet being hit can be "reasonably assumed" to be high. The question is not focussing on solely on whether the chances are HIGH; but on the chance itself - whether it is high or low. Given that it is known that 1) Life bearing planets can be hit by comets wouldn't it be "good" to evaluate the probability of finding the comets in the system - if high, then intelligent life cannot survive in the absence of the big planets meant to deflect the comets; if low, intelligent life could perhaps survive even in the absence of the large planets.
The answers C. I looked it up in my lsat book. Nob put the wrong answer up
The chances of planet being hit because there is alot of comets do not mean anything without context. Even if there are many comets, that does not tell us anything because the chances of life depend on a large planet to block those comets.
Its the chances of these planets being formed that matters.
C directly address that issues. If one planet is sufficient it makes a huge difference on the chance for life.
imagine if the chance of a large planet is 13%
the chances of two planets is .13(.13) which is alot lower. and it makes a huge impact on the arguement.