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# During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern

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During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 10:10
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During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A. Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B. Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C. Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D. Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E. Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

Awkward....
Chose C but was wrong....
Can someone explain the reasoning behind the OA?
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 11:10
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roygush wrote:
During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A.Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B.Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E.Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

Awkward....
Chose C but was wrong....
Can someone explain the reasoning behind the OA?

Hi roygush,

Lets first simplify the stimulus.

Premises:

250 people left for west and died before reaching west

225 of the Eastern citizens died

Conclusion: it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east. To put this into simple words, going to west was not a very dangerous act as compared to staying back in the east.

The argument makes a comparison between "all the 250 people who left and died" and "225 people out of the whole eastern population"

So, before even moving to the answer choices, the flaw which comes to mind is that equal quantities are not being compared. Only the totals; moreover, the stimulus clearly states that "based on these totals". The correct answer to this question would point out this flaw in reasoning.

C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process

The stimulus discusses about the number of deaths and makes an incorrect comparison between them. Even if we differentiate between the cause the argument still remains flawed. So, (C) does not clearly reveal the flaw in the argument.

D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group

(D) corrects the flaw in the argument by bringing in the death rates, which is exactly what we need. Per hundred or per thousand does not matter until it is some rate. Now if we see the rates

The death rate for people who left for west = 250/250 = 1, this means that one out of every one will die. i.e. anyone who leaves for west will die.

and the death rate for people who stay in the east = 225/ a number larger than 225 = less than one. Based on the population the number could be anything. So, the conclusion could be anything based on the death rates. Until we know the death rates for both these events we will not be able to determine which activity will be more perilous than the other.

Hope this helps,

Vercules
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 10:54
6
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roygush wrote:
NonYankee wrote:
From the problem: "it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous..."

When comparing the peril of staying in an eastern city vs departing westward, the absolute numbers of deaths in each case don't matter, nor do the causes of death (answer C concerns causes of death). For example, it's fallacious to separate out murders and accidents and whatnot, because those may or may not occur at a higher rate in the city.

What matters is the relative number of deaths, no matter the cause, also known as the death rate. It is (# of deaths) divided by (# of people matching the criteria in question). Put simply, answer choice D.

Thanks.
I wonder if this reasoning will be easier for me to understand with more practice.

Just one more thing: as I read the problem statement the first time, I was thinking, "250 died... out of how many?" and "225 died... out of how many?" I kept waiting for the total populations to be revealed. "Was it 250 out of 250? Was it 225 out of 10,000?" Without the "out of" number, I wasn't able to make a comparison (besides the relatively pedestrian conclusion that 25 more settlers died). So when I finished reading the problem statement and I still had not found the information I'd been waiting for, I knew exactly what to look for among the answer choices.
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 10:38
2
From the problem: "it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous..."

When comparing the peril of staying in an eastern city vs departing westward, the absolute numbers of deaths in each case don't matter, nor do the causes of death (answer C concerns causes of death). For example, it's fallacious to separate out murders and accidents and whatnot, because those may or may not occur at a higher rate in the city.

What matters is the relative number of deaths, no matter the cause, also known as the death rate. It is (# of deaths) divided by (# of people matching the criteria in question). Put simply, answer choice D.
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 10:46
1
NonYankee wrote:
From the problem: "it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous..."

When comparing the peril of staying in an eastern city vs departing westward, the absolute numbers of deaths in each case don't matter, nor do the causes of death (answer C concerns causes of death). For example, it's fallacious to separate out murders and accidents and whatnot, because those may or may not occur at a higher rate in the city.

What matters is the relative number of deaths, no matter the cause, also known as the death rate. It is (# of deaths) divided by (# of people matching the criteria in question). Put simply, answer choice D.

Thanks.
I wonder if this reasoning will be easier for me to understand with more practice.
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Joined: 01 Sep 2012
Posts: 113
Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2013, 11:52
Vercules wrote:
roygush wrote:
During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A.Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B.Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E.Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

Awkward....
Chose C but was wrong....
Can someone explain the reasoning behind the OA?

Hi roygush,

Lets first simplify the stimulus.

Premises:

250 people left for west and died before reaching west

225 of the Eastern citizens died

Conclusion: it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east. To put this into simple words, going to west was not a very dangerous act as compared to staying back in the east.

The argument makes a comparison between "all the 250 people who left and died" and "225 people out of the whole eastern population"

So, before even moving to the answer choices, the flaw which comes to mind is that equal quantities are not being compared. Only the totals; moreover, the stimulus clearly states that "based on these totals". The correct answer to this question would point out this flaw in reasoning.

C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process

The stimulus discusses about the number of deaths and makes an incorrect comparison between them. Even if we differentiate between the cause the argument still remains flawed. So, (C) does not clearly reveal the flaw in the argument.

D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group

(D) corrects the flaw in the argument by bringing in the death rates, which is exactly what we need. Per hundred or per thousand does not matter until it is some rate. Now if we see the rates

The death rate for people who left for west = 250/250 = 1, this means that one out of every one will die. i.e. anyone who leaves for west will die.

and the death rate for people who stay in the east = 225/ a number larger than 225 = less than one. Based on the population the number could be anything. So, the conclusion could be anything based on the death rates. Until we know the death rates for both these events we will not be able to determine which activity will be more perilous than the other.

Hope this helps,

Vercules

Thanks.
I should pay more attention to words and go to the extremes.
Thinking like you, 225 out of the whole eastern population.
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2014, 19:50
very good explanation. thanks vercules

Vercules wrote:
roygush wrote:
During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A.Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B.Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E.Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

Awkward....
Chose C but was wrong....
Can someone explain the reasoning behind the OA?

Hi roygush,

Lets first simplify the stimulus.

Premises:

250 people left for west and died before reaching west

225 of the Eastern citizens died

Conclusion: it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east. To put this into simple words, going to west was not a very dangerous act as compared to staying back in the east.

The argument makes a comparison between "all the 250 people who left and died" and "225 people out of the whole eastern population"

So, before even moving to the answer choices, the flaw which comes to mind is that equal quantities are not being compared. Only the totals; moreover, the stimulus clearly states that "based on these totals". The correct answer to this question would point out this flaw in reasoning.

C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process

The stimulus discusses about the number of deaths and makes an incorrect comparison between them. Even if we differentiate between the cause the argument still remains flawed. So, (C) does not clearly reveal the flaw in the argument.

D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group

(D) corrects the flaw in the argument by bringing in the death rates, which is exactly what we need. Per hundred or per thousand does not matter until it is some rate. Now if we see the rates

The death rate for people who left for west = 250/250 = 1, this means that one out of every one will die. i.e. anyone who leaves for west will die.

and the death rate for people who stay in the east = 225/ a number larger than 225 = less than one. Based on the population the number could be anything. So, the conclusion could be anything based on the death rates. Until we know the death rates for both these events we will not be able to determine which activity will be more perilous than the other.

Hope this helps,

Vercules
Manager
Joined: 10 Sep 2014
Posts: 60
Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2014, 19:50
very good explanation. thanks vercules

Vercules wrote:
roygush wrote:
During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A.Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B.Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E.Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

Awkward....
Chose C but was wrong....
Can someone explain the reasoning behind the OA?

Hi roygush,

Lets first simplify the stimulus.

Premises:

250 people left for west and died before reaching west

225 of the Eastern citizens died

Conclusion: it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east. To put this into simple words, going to west was not a very dangerous act as compared to staying back in the east.

The argument makes a comparison between "all the 250 people who left and died" and "225 people out of the whole eastern population"

So, before even moving to the answer choices, the flaw which comes to mind is that equal quantities are not being compared. Only the totals; moreover, the stimulus clearly states that "based on these totals". The correct answer to this question would point out this flaw in reasoning.

C.Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process

The stimulus discusses about the number of deaths and makes an incorrect comparison between them. Even if we differentiate between the cause the argument still remains flawed. So, (C) does not clearly reveal the flaw in the argument.

D.Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group

(D) corrects the flaw in the argument by bringing in the death rates, which is exactly what we need. Per hundred or per thousand does not matter until it is some rate. Now if we see the rates

The death rate for people who left for west = 250/250 = 1, this means that one out of every one will die. i.e. anyone who leaves for west will die.

and the death rate for people who stay in the east = 225/ a number larger than 225 = less than one. Based on the population the number could be anything. So, the conclusion could be anything based on the death rates. Until we know the death rates for both these events we will not be able to determine which activity will be more perilous than the other.

Hope this helps,

Vercules
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2015, 22:52
The flaw here is the fact that argument compares all 250 people left east then died to the population of all eastern cities whereas the population can be 100 000 people and only 225 among them died.
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Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern  [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2019, 07:12
Quote:
During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern U.S. saw about 250 of its citizens depart for the west, but perish before arriving in their destination cities. During the same time period, the city saw about 225 deaths of citizens who stayed in the city. Based on these totals, it can be concluded that it was not much more perilous to be a settler who left the eastern U.S. to settle the western U.S. than it was to be a citizen who remained in the east.

Which of the following tests would most clearly reveal the flaw in the conclusion drawn above?

A. Counting deaths among people who left to settle the west but returned to their cities of origination in addition to those who died during their trips westward
B. Calculating the difference between the number of deaths among westward settlers and the number of deaths among non-settlers, then expressing this number as a percentage of all deaths during the period
C. Differentiating between settlers' deaths by non-settlement-related causes and those caused by accidents, murders, and battles attributable to the settlement process
D. Comparing the death rates per hundred members of each group instead of comparing the numbers of deaths in each group
E. Comparing deaths due to natural causes in the city of origin to unnatural deaths of settlers who originated in those cities

KAPLAN OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Identify the Question Type:

This question is a Flaw question. It asks for the answer choice that would most clearly reveal the logical flaw in the conclusion.

Untangle the Stimulus:

The author concludes there was no increased risk in being a settler versus staying in the east.

As evidence, the author states that during the westward expansion, 250 people who left the east to settle in the west died before arriving at their destination; during the same period 225 people who choose to remain in the east also died.

In order for these statistics to be meaningful, the author must be assuming that the total number of people who stayed in the east was equivalent to the total number of people who went west to settle.

The correct answer choice will reveal something that is not comparable between these two groups. For instance, it might show that the number of people who stayed in the east was far greater than the number of people who attempted to settle in the west.

Eliminate the Wrong Answer Choices:

(D) matches the prediction; knowing the percentage of people in each group who died would much more clearly reveal the flaw in the argument than knowing the absolute number of deaths in each group.

(A) is incorrect because the argument is only concerned with people who died in transit from east to west as compared to those who stayed in the city. Furthermore, the right answer needs to compare those who left to those who stayed, and (A) doesn't give any information about people who stayed.

(B) is an irrelevant comparison; the right answer needs to compare the groups to each other

The cause of death is irrelevant the argument, which is about the number of deaths, so (C) and (E) are incorrect.

TAKEAWAY: This is a classic “numbers vs. percentage” flaw, a type that appears often in flawed GMAT arguments.
Re: During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern   [#permalink] 05 Dec 2019, 07:12

# During the American westward expansion, a certain city in the eastern

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