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# Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and

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Joined: 30 Jan 2016
Posts: 1095
Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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19 May 2019, 10:45
2
1
00:00

Difficulty:

65% (hard)

Question Stats:

52% (01:48) correct 48% (02:17) wrong based on 128 sessions

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Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and distorted evidence as that which you tried to pass off as a balanced study in the article “Speed Limits, Fatalities, and Public Policy.” The article states that areas with lower speed limits had lower vehicle-related fatality rates than other areas. However, that will not be true for long, since vehicle-related fatality rates are rising in the areas with lower speed limits. So the evidence actually supports the view that speed limits should be increased.

The reasoning in the letter writer’s argument is flawed because the argument

(A) bases its conclusion on findings from the same article that it is criticizing
(B) fails to consider the possibility that automobile accidents that occur at high speeds often result in fatalities
(C) fails to consider the possibility that not everyone wants to drive faster
(D) fails to consider the possibility that the vehiclerelated fatality rates in other areas are also rising
(E) does not present any claims as evidence against the opposing viewpoint

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Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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19 May 2019, 14:06
1
The question asks why the argument is flawed. So we need to look at the structure of the argument. Instead, answer "D" adds new information (a possibility..among many other possibilies that could be true or not). In conclusion, I don't see why D should be the right answer here...
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Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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19 May 2019, 19:17
Hi, Choices A,B & C can be omitted easily since they are out of scope with respect to current argument.
IMO, there is no evidence or facts presented by the writer against the evidence provided for low fatalities in low speed limit areas. Therefore, option E, IMO is the best choice.
I am sure I am missing something if OA to this question is D!!!
Can experts of the forum provide some insight on this????
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Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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19 May 2019, 21:50
1
1
Akela wrote:
Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and distorted evidence as that which you tried to pass off as a balanced study in the article “Speed Limits, Fatalities, and Public Policy.” The article states that areas with lower speed limits had lower vehicle-related fatality rates than other areas. However, that will not be true for long, since vehicle-related fatality rates are rising in the areas with lower speed limits. So the evidence actually supports the view that speed limits should be increased.

The reasoning in the letter writer’s argument is flawed because the argument

(A) bases its conclusion on findings from the same article that it is criticizing
(B) fails to consider the possibility that automobile accidents that occur at high speeds often result in fatalities
(C) fails to consider the possibility that not everyone wants to drive faster
(D) fails to consider the possibility that the vehiclerelated fatality rates in other areas are also rising
(E) does not present any claims as evidence against the opposing viewpoint

Article: areas with lower speed limits had lower vehicle-related fatality rates than other areas.
Author: That will not be true for long, since vehicle-related fatality rates are rising in the areas with lower speed limits.
Conclusion: So the evidence actually supports the view that speed limits should be increased.

The author does not consider whether vehicle related fatality rates in other areas are rising too. He is looking at lower speed limit areas and seeing their fatality rates rising. So he is assuming that their fatality rates will overtake fatality rates in higher speed limit areas.
But what if fatality rates are rising across the board? This is something the author fails to consider.

(D) fails to consider the possibility that the vehiclerelated fatality rates in other areas are also rising
Correct as discussed above.

(E) does not present any claims as evidence against the opposing viewpoint
Not correct. He does. He presents the "it won't be true for long... Fatality rates rising in lower speed limit areas..." claim. This is against the opposing viewpoint (the viewpoint of the article)

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Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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22 May 2019, 08:44
1
PowerScore Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (D)

This stimulus introduces a letter to the editor complaining of the reasoning in a recent article on
speed limits. In that article, it was noted that areas with lower speed limits had lower vehicle fatality
rates. But the letter writer concludes that it will not be that way for long, based on the fact that
vehicle-related fatalities are increasing in areas with lower speed limits.

The question stem asks why the reasoning in the letter writer’s argument is flawed. Whenever we
see simple numbers comparisons, we should be wary of the author’s tendency to draw unwarranted
conclusions. The problem here is that a simple increase in the number of vehicle related fatalities
does not provide sufficient evidence to logically draw any conclusions about whether these fatalities
are attributable to the lower speed limits. If we are seeking to determine whether or not safety is
increased by lower speed limits, a more relevant comparison would be between the respective
fatalities of high vs. low speed limit areas.

Answer choice (A): Reliance upon empirical evidence cited in the original article is not a fl aw in
the letter writer’s argument—it is quite common on the LSAT to see two different viewpoints or
interpretations based on the exact same evidence. The author of the letter is not refuting the evidence
provided by the original report, but rather the interpretation of that evidence, so this answer choice is
incorrect.

Answer choice (B): The term “often” is extremely vague, and provides no insight into the relative
likelihood of fatalities at high speeds vs. low speeds. The reason the conclusion in the stimulus
is fl awed is that it rests on a shaky premise, not that it fails to consider all outside evidence. This
answer choice does not provide an effective attack on the stimulus’ reasoning.

Answer choice (C): The fact that some drivers don’t want to drive any faster plays no role in the
editorialist’s argument, since an increased speed limit would not require anyone to drive faster. The
fact that some don’t wish to drive faster is irrelevant, and certainly does not represent a fl aw in the
author’s reasoning, so this answer choice should be eliminated.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. If vehicle fatality rates are increasing
everywhere, not just in the low speed limit areas, then we cannot logically draw any justifiable
conclusions about the increase in fatality rates that has taken place in the low speed limit areas, and
raising the speed limit based on these figures would not necessarily be advisable.

Answer choice (E): The letter writer does provide some evidence (though questionable) against the
opposing viewpoint—the evidence that the vehicle fatality rate is increasing in the low speed limit
areas. This evidence may be weak, but the claim is presented, so this answer choice is inaccurate and
incorrect.
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Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and  [#permalink]

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25 May 2019, 17:25
Thank you very much Akela & VeritasKarishma for the clear explanations!
Re: Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed reasoning and   [#permalink] 25 May 2019, 17:25
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