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Re: Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
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jphan08 wrote:
mitrakaushi wrote:
AshutoshB wrote:
Anthropologist: Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. Some researchers have argued that such taboos originated solely for practical reasons, pointing out, for example, that in many cultures it is taboo to eat domestic animals that provide labor and that are therefore worth more alive than dead. But that conclusion is unwarranted; taboos against eating certain animals might instead have arisen for symbolic, ritualistic reasons, and the presence of the taboos might then have led people to find other uses for those animals.

In the argument, the anthropologist

(A) calls an explanation of a phenomenon into question by pointing out that observations cited as evidence supporting it are also compatible with an alternative explanation of the phenomenon

(B) establishes that an explanation of a phenomenon is false by demonstrating that the evidence that had been cited in support of that explanation was inadequate"

(C) rejects the reasoning used to justify a hypothesis about the origins of a phenomenon, on the grounds that there exists another, more plausible hypothesis about the origins of that phenomenon

(D) argues in support of one explanation of a phenomenon by citing evidence incompatible with a rival explanation

(E) describes a hypothesis about the sequence of events involved in the origins of a phenomenon, and then argues that those events occurred in a different sequence

LSAT


E fits as well. Here the reasoning is

Cause: Animals useful -> Effect: Taboos generated to protect them
Alternate reason given:
Cause: Taboos generated to protect animals -> Effect: People found other uses for animals considering they might as well since they cannot eat them.

Here the sequence reverses.

The first option is also legal, since the observation that in many cultures it is taboo to eat domestic animals that provide labor and that are therefore worth more alive than dead does indeed sit well with the other explanation.

We are splitting hairs here.


Originally I thought so too since I originally chose E. But after reviewing the passage and the answer choices, I now understand why E is wrong.

E states that the author referred to the hypothesis, in which he then re-ordered the sequence of events that seemed "more logically sound". But the hypothesis didn't mention anything about the religious context, it was the author who brought it up. Thus E is wrong.


Just to add one observation to this A vs E debate: Notice the the word "occurred" in option E

(E) describes a hypothesis about the sequence of events involved in the origins of a phenomenon, and then argues that those events occurred in a different sequence

This option, therefore, says that the author believes that the alternate explanation is the correct explanation. However, when we read the passage, we understand that the author merely says that an alternate explanation might be possible.

"taboos against eating certain animals might instead have arisen for symbolic, ritualistic reasons, and the presence of the taboos might then have led people to find other uses for those animals".

This is why, I believe, option E is wrong.
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Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
#officialexplanation ManhattanLSAT

Question Type:
Analyze Argument Structure (Procedure … describe how the argument gets to its conclusion)

Stimulus Breakdown:
Conclusion: It's unwarranted to conclude that taboos originated SOLELY for practical reasons, such as wanting to protect animals we use for labor.
Evidence: It's possible that the (impractical) symbolic reason came first and then people just figured out a practical use for these animals we weren't allowed to eat.

Answer Anticipation:
These questions typically want us to characterize the type of evidence or the type of move (f.e. counterexample, analogy, implications of logic, ruling out alternatives, considering alternative explanation/intepretation, define a term, clarify a distinction).

In this case, I would be expecting something like "the author questions the researchers' interpretation of why there are taboos against eating certain animals by pointing out that a different interpretation could explain both the taboos and the researchers' evidence".

Correct Answer:
A

Answer Choice Analysis:
(A) YES! This sounds pretty close to our prephrase. The conclusion DOES call an explanation into question ("that conc is unwarranted"), and the alternative explanation is saying observations of taboos against useful animals are compatible with "taboo is used to protect useful animals" or with "taboo started religious, but then people found a way to make taboo animals useful".

(B) Stop reading after "establishes that an explanation is false". The conclusion is only saying "an explanation is unwarranted". That means "unproven / unjustified / poorly supported". It doesn't mean false.

(C) The author isn't saying that her 2nd interpretation is MORE plausible. She's just saying it's plausible. Since multiple interpretations are plausible, the author is allowed to conclude that the researchers' overly confident hypothesis is unwarranted.

(D) "Incompatible" = contradicts. This is not too far off. We could say that the two explanations are incompatible. But the evidence was compatible with both explanations.

(E) Also very close. The author's explanation includes a separate event from the researchers' explanation. So it's not the author saying, "You've got the right ingredients, but the wrong order".

The researchers said: "Useful animal? Let's make it taboo to eat it."
The author said: "Symbolic/religious reason? Let's make this animal taboo. Now that it's taboo, let's make it useful."

The fact that the author thinks there IS a religious reason for the taboo and the researchers do not makes it impossible for the author to just be scrambling the order of the ingredients in the researchers' explanation.

Takeaway/Pattern: Tough answers! It's important to move beyond the overly blunt understanding of "the author disagrees with these researchers". It matters how much he disagrees ("unwarranted", not "false" conclusion). It matters in what way he disagrees ("this alternative explanation would agree with your evidence but contradict your conclusion").­
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Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
Option E uses very generalized words when it says the sequence of events is reversed. Instead, if you read the argument carefully you'll notice that actually the cause is different altogether in both events. In the first half, it is claimed that labor animals provided value so eating them was made a taboo in order to protect them. Whereas the author concludes that the cause might be ritualistic reasons to protect the animals from being devoured. So two different causes to the same conclusion. Hence choice A is apt.­
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Re: Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
Understanding the argument - ­
Anthropologist: Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. - Background info. 
Some researchers have argued that such taboos originated solely for practical reasons, pointing out, for example, that in many cultures it is taboo to eat domestic animals that provide labor and that are therefore worth more alive than dead. - Some researchers conclude that these Taboos originated from practical reasons. 
But that conclusion is unwarranted (unjustified); taboos against eating certain animals might instead have arisen for symbolic, ritualistic reasons, and the presence of the taboos might then have led people to find other uses for those animals. - Anthropologist's conclusion and supporting premise. Ritualistic reasons led to taboos, and when they couldn't kill these animals, they found some practical uses.

In the argument, the anthropologist

(A) calls an explanation (practical reasons) of a phenomenon (taboos) into question by pointing out that observations cited as evidence (provide labour) supporting it (the taboo phenomenon) are also compatible with an alternative explanation (Ritualistic reasons led to taboos, and when they couldn't kill these animals, they found some practical uses) of the phenomenon (taboos) - ok. 

(B) establishes that an explanation of a phenomenon is false by demonstrating that the evidence that had been cited in support of that explanation was inadequate - out of scope. 

(C) rejects the reasoning used to justify a hypothesis about the origins of a phenomenon, on the grounds that there exists another, more plausible hypothesis about the origins of that phenomenon - rejects nothing. Both explanations can co-exist. One leads to the other. 

(D) argues in support of one explanation of a phenomenon by citing evidence incompatible with a rival explanation - no incompatibility. Both explanations can co-exist. One leads to the other. 

(E) describes a hypothesis about the sequence of events involved in the origins of a phenomenon, and then argues that those events occurred in a different sequence - no sequence of hypothesis discussed. 
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Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
AshutoshB wrote:
Anthropologist: Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. Some researchers have argued that such taboos originated solely for practical reasons, pointing out, for example, that in many cultures it is taboo to eat domestic animals that provide labor and that are therefore worth more alive than dead. But that conclusion is unwarranted; taboos against eating certain animals might instead have arisen for symbolic, ritualistic reasons, and the presence of the taboos might then have led people to find other uses for those animals.

In the argument, the anthropologist

(A) calls an explanation of a phenomenon into question by pointing out that observations cited as evidence supporting it are also compatible with an alternative explanation of the phenomenon

(B) establishes that an explanation of a phenomenon is false by demonstrating that the evidence that had been cited in support of that explanation was inadequate"

(C) rejects the reasoning used to justify a hypothesis about the origins of a phenomenon, on the grounds that there exists another, more plausible hypothesis about the origins of that phenomenon

(D) argues in support of one explanation of a phenomenon by citing evidence incompatible with a rival explanation

(E) describes a hypothesis about the sequence of events involved in the origins of a phenomenon, and then argues that those events occurred in a different sequence

LSAT

­The correct answer is option A. At first, the anthropologist gives one reason. The author is skeptical and states another reason. We can say here that the author brings the phenomenon described by the anthropologist into question.
B - the author is not at all proving anthropologists' reason false.
C - the anthropologists' reason is not rejected, rather an alternative is suggested by the author.
D - there is alternate evidence provided, not incompatible ones.
E - the events are described, but no sequence is given.­­
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Every human culture has taboos against eating certain animals. [#permalink]
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