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A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that

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A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that professional basketball players today lack 'team skill,' which the book defines as the ability to play unselfishly and cohesively within their team. The book claims that 'team skill' was overwhelmingly more predominant among basketball players 30 years ago than it is today. A book reviewer noted, 'In this the book must be right, since its analysis of 50 basketball players, 25 current and 25 retired, demonstrates convincingly that none of the current players have as much team skill as do the retired players.'

Which of the following points to the most serious logical flaw in the book reviewer's argument?

A. The players chosen by the book's author for analysis could be those who most support the book's thesis.

B. There could be criteria other than 'team skill' by which to evaluate a player.

C. The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book's thesis prior to even reading the players' analysis that supports it.

D. The particular manner in which professional basketball is played today could require less team skill than that which was required 30 years ago.

E. A reader of the book who was not familiar with professional basketball may not be convinced by the book's analysis of the 50 players.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2016, 10:33
emmafoster wrote:
A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that professional basketball players today lack 'team skill,' which the book defines as the ability to play unselfishly and cohesively within their team. The book claims that 'team skill' was overwhelmingly more predominant among basketball players 30 years ago than it is today. A book reviewer noted, 'In this the book must be right, since its analysis of 50 basketball players, 25 current and 25 retired, demonstrates convincingly that none of the current players have as much team skill as do the retired players.'

Which of the following points to the most serious logical flaw in the book reviewer's argument?

A. The players chosen by the book's author for analysis could be those who most support the book's thesis.

B. There could be criteria other than 'team skill' by which to evaluate a player.

C. The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book's thesis prior to even reading the players' analysis that supports it.

D. The particular manner in which professional basketball is played today could require less team skill than that which was required 30 years ago.

E. A reader of the book who was not familiar with professional basketball may not be convinced by the book's analysis of the 50 players.


Main Idea : Team skills ( 30 Yrs ago) > Team skills ( Now )
Supported by : Analysis of 25 Current + 25 retired Players.

Thus the 25 retired players play the role of a control group ( with whom the current set of players are compared )


(A) States the option of choosing a biased group , which can play a role in the analysis of the situation.

(B) , (C) & (E) will be out of scope...

(D) To me can be a contender which can be negated as it weakens/deviated from the topic, if the manner of game has changed then the entire reasoning/purpose of arguement fails...

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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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A small addition:

Option D: The conclusion is that nowadays players have less team skill than they used to have before. So if the requirement of team skill has reduced then that reduction justifies why the players nowadays might have less team skill. This option in a way supports the conclusion. Hence D is not the correct choice.

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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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emmafoster wrote:
A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that professional basketball players today lack 'team skill,' which the book defines as the ability to play unselfishly and cohesively within their team. The book claims that 'team skill' was overwhelmingly more predominant among basketball players 30 years ago than it is today. A book reviewer noted, 'In this the book must be right, since its analysis of 50 basketball players, 25 current and 25 retired, demonstrates convincingly that none of the current players have as much team skill as do the retired players.'

Which of the following points to the most serious logical flaw in the book reviewer's argument?

A. The players chosen by the book's author for analysis could be those who most support the book's thesis.

B. There could be criteria other than 'team skill' by which to evaluate a player.

C. The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book's thesis prior to even reading the players' analysis that supports it.

D. The particular manner in which professional basketball is played today could require less team skill than that which was required 30 years ago.

E. A reader of the book who was not familiar with professional basketball may not be convinced by the book's analysis of the 50 players.

Dear emmafoster,

I'm happy to respond. :-) This is a tricky CR question, another good one from Veritas.

The book says that current players lack "team skill." They don't have it at all, or they have it to a much lesser extent, than did the players 30 years ago who clearly had it. Then the reviewer says that the book's argument is solid, but his evidence for why the book's argument is solid comes from the book itself. This should make us very suspicious. If I read a book and everything the book says seems to make sense and is internally coherent, that's a start, but the real support for the ideas of a book comes if I see external evidence, independent from the book, that corroborates the book's ideas. Using what's in the book to justify the book is shaky.

The prompt question wants "the most serious logical flaw in the book reviewer's argument." Very specifically, we are concerned with problems with the reviewer's reasoning.

A. The players chosen by the book's author for analysis could be those who most support the book's thesis.
If the author's choices were biased by his own concerns, then this bias would undermine the credibility of the evidence he presents. This gets at something deep about the reviewer's argument. The reviewer is NOT looking at anything outside of the book. The reviewer is simply looking at the players selected by the book's author, as analyzed in the book, so any systematic bias on the part of the author would evade the researcher.
Now, admittedly, this is a hard one to pick because we don't know that the author was biased. The statement of this choice uses the hypothetical "could," so we are not guaranteed that this bias happened. We'll say that this is promising, but perhaps we will find an even stronger and more certain answer choice.

B. There could be criteria other than 'team skill' by which to evaluate a player.
This may be true, but it's irrelevant. The argument is not a wide-open argument about how players 30 years ago were "better." The entire discussion focuses on the presence or absence of this one skill, and how this skill might compare to other skills is outside the scope of the argument. This is incorrect.

C. The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book's thesis prior to even reading the players' analysis that supports it.
We don't care about what general uneducated readers might think. We are very specifically concerned with the reviewer of the book. Presumably this is a person who works in some capacity as a reviewer, so he is not going to be duped by a title the way a naive person might be. This is incorrect.

D. The particular manner in which professional basketball is played today could require less team skill than that which was required 30 years ago.
This is an intriguing choice. It could be argued that, if the modern game doesn't require much team skill, then players might really have this skill but it might not be observable in the course of play because they are not relying on it. That might be an avenue for developing a weakener, having the skill vs. being able to see the skill in play, but the reviewer says quite clearly that the author "demonstrates convincingly that none of the current players have as much team skill as do the retired players." That's evidence in this prompt, so we have to accept this much at face value. We don't know how the author demonstrated the lack of team skill "convincingly," but presumably, it's a much stronger argument than simple, "I don't see any team skill when they play." That's NOT a very convincing argument. It's hard to say what the author did to construct convincing argument--perhaps 1-on-1 with players or their coaches. Nevertheless, if the author made a convincing argument about this lack in current players, then how the game is played today is irrelevant. This is incorrect.

E. A reader of the book who was not familiar with professional basketball may not be convinced by the book's analysis of the 50 players.
This is irrelevant. We are concerned with the argument of the reviewer, who seems to know something about basketball. How a reader unfamiliar with the the sport would respond is not relevant to the reviewer's analysis. This is incorrect.

Well, (A) made us a bit reluctant, because it is not certain: it only presents a possible objection. We could eliminate the other four answers, so even with its inherent uncertainty, (A) is the most powerful objection here. It's the only one that points a spotlight on the reviewer's primary logical flaw.

Here is a blog you may find helpful:
How to Weaken an Argument in GMAT Critical Reasoning

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2017, 06:04
emmafoster wrote:
A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that professional basketball players today lack 'team skill,' which the book defines as the ability to play unselfishly and cohesively within their team. The book claims that 'team skill' was overwhelmingly more predominant among basketball players 30 years ago than it is today. A book reviewer noted, 'In this the book must be right, since its analysis of 50 basketball players, 25 current and 25 retired, demonstrates convincingly that none of the current players have as much team skill as do the retired players.'

Which of the following points to the most serious logical flaw in the book reviewer's argument?

A. The players chosen by the book's author for analysis could be those who most support the book's thesis.

B. There could be criteria other than 'team skill' by which to evaluate a player.

C. The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book's thesis prior to even reading the players' analysis that supports it.

D. The particular manner in which professional basketball is played today could require less team skill than that which was required 30 years ago.

E. A reader of the book who was not familiar with professional basketball may not be convinced by the book's analysis of the 50 players.



IMO A.

B, C, E are not promising and are out of scope.

D is very tempting answer choice as it uses the exact phrases used in argument, but it does not harm the reviewer's argument.

Reviewer says that out of compared 50 players (25 current and 25 retired) analysed, current players does not show as much team skills as retired players had shown.
Option D just says that the format of the game has changed so that the need of team skill is reduced. This does not harm the reviewer's argument. At the most, it can support reviewer's claim.

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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2017, 05:13
sayantanc2k wrote:
A small addition:

Option D: The conclusion is that nowadays players have less team skill than they used to have before. So if the requirement of team skill has reduced then that reduction justifies why the players nowadays might have less team skill. This option in a way supports the conclusion. Hence D is not the correct choice.



Also i believe, option D gives us the reason why the team may have less team skill. So this doesnt weaken the conclusion. It just gives us details. Am i right ?
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Re: A recent book entitled The Decline of Team Sports argues that   [#permalink] 01 Aug 2017, 05:13
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