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# Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,

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BSchool Forum Moderator
Status: Valar Dohaeris
Joined: 31 Aug 2016
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GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V37
Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Oct 2019, 07:33
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Question 3
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Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting, or even if fatal, seldom follow a strictly downward spiral. In each case, intervention can appear to be quite efficacious. This becomes all the more patent if you assume the point of view of a knowing practitioner of fraudulent medicine.

To take advantage of the natural ups and downs of any disease (as well as of any placebo effect), it‘s best to begin your treatment when the patient is getting worse. In this way, anything that happens can more easily be attributed to your wonderful and probably expensive intervention. If the patient improves, you take credit; if he remains stable, your treatment stopped his downward course. On the other hand, if the patient worsens, the dosage or intensity of the treatment was not great enough; if he dies, he delayed too long in coming to you.

In any case, the few instances in which your intervention is successful will likely be remembered (not so few, if the disease in question is self- limiting), while the vast majority of failures will be forgotten and buried. Chance provides more than enough variation to account for the sprinkling of successes that will occur with almost any treatment; indeed, it would be a miracle if there weren‘t any “miracle cures”.

Even in outlandish cases, it‘s often difficult to refute conclusively some proposed cure or procedure. Consider a diet doctor who directs his patients to consume two whole pizzas, four birch beers, and two pieces of cheesecake for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and an entire box of fig bars with a quart of milk for a bedtime snack, claiming that other people have lost six pounds a week on such a regimen. When several patients follow his instructions for three weeks, they find they‘ve gained about seven pounds each. Have the doctor‘s claims been refuted?

Not necessarily, since he might respond that a whole host of auxiliary understandings weren‘t met: the pizzas had too much sauce, or the dieters slept sixteen hours a day, or the birch beer wasn‘t the rightbrand. Number and probability do, however, provide the basis for statistics, which, together with logic, constitutes the foundation of the scientific method, which will eventually sort matters out if anything can. However, just as the existence of pink does not undermine the distinction between red and white, and dawn doesn‘t indicate that day and night are really the same, this problematic fringe area doesn‘t negate the fundamental differences between science and its impostors.

The philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine ventures even further and maintains that experience never forces one to reject any particular belief. He views science as an integrated web of interconnecting hypotheses, procedures, and formalisms, and argues that any impact of the world on the web can be distributed in many different ways. If we‘re willing to make drastic enough changes in the rest of the web of our beliefs, the argument goes, we can hold to our belief in the efficacy of the above diet, or indeed in the validity of any pseudoscience.

1. In the context of the passage, its discussion of various medical conditions, and the particulars of those conditions, the term self-limiting (lines 15-16) refers to medical conditions that:

A. run a definite course that does not result in the patient‘s death.
B. impair the patient‘s ability to engage in everyday activities.
C. have a very high rate of mortality.
D. never shows improvement.
E. cannot be cured by medicine

2. According to the passage, which of the following is most likely to be the best way to determine whether a practitioner‘s intervention is worthwhile or not?

A. Keep a record of the time it takes for a patient to respond to the practitioner‘s treatment
B. Keep a record of the number of patients the practitioner has treated successfully
C. Keep a record of the dosage that the practitioner employs in his treatment
D. Keep a record of both the successes and failures of the practitioner
E. Keep a record of the different claims made by the practitioner

3. Based on the information in the passage, which of the following opinions could most reasonably be ascribed to the author?

A. Too often nothing truly effective can be done to ameliorate the illness of a patient.
B. There is no way that pseudoscience will ever be eliminated.
C. Beliefs can be maintained even in the absence of strong supporting evidence.
D. Experience never forces one to reject any particular belief.
E. Quack doctors should be banned

_________________

Originally posted by LordStark on 04 Sep 2018, 02:44.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 21 Oct 2019, 07:33, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (1082).
Manager
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Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2018, 12:04
OEs..
1) Research the text in the passage. The author uses the term to discuss diseases that more or less keep themselves in check. (A) matches perfectly.

(B): Distortion. This answer choice simply misinterprets what the ―self‖ is (it is the disease, not the patient).

(C): Opposite. If the disease ends with the patient‘s death, it‘s not doing much selflimiting!

(D): Distortion. If the disease is self-limiting, the author says, any treatment will likely seem to be successful, which means that there must be natural improvement.

(E): Incorrect, as explained above
Manager
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Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2018, 12:05

2) What does the author say is needed to evaluate scientific claims? ―Statistics...with logic.‖ Combine this with the author‘s argument that people usually only remember successes to zero in on the answer. (D) catches it all.
(A): Out of Scope. Measuring time of response does nothing to distinguish between treatments that work and those that don‘t.

(B): Distortion. The author argues that people only remember the successes. Therefore, the failures must be recorded as well for accuracy

(C): Out of Scope. Dosages have no necessary link to success, particularly if the success has nothing to do with the treatment!

(E): Keeping a record of the claims will not help in any way.
Manager
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GMAT 1: 650 Q42 V37
GPA: 4
Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2018, 12:06
1
3) An inference question: jump to the answer choices. While each of the wrong answer choices can be knocked out quickly as not necessarily following from what the author is arguing, (C) is essentially a paraphrase of the argument made in ¶5.

(A): Distortion. Though quackery might not be effective, that doesn‘t mean that as a general rule nothing can be done.

(B): Distortion. While Quine argues this in ¶6, it‘s not the view of the author. Note that at the beginning of ¶6 the author points out that Quine goes ―even farther‖ than he.

(D): Distortion. Quine again. It‘s crucial to distinguish between what Quine believes and what the author does.

(E): ‗Banned‘ is extreme language and the author never states this.

Strategy point:

Always be sure to distinguish the author's own opinion from opinions of other people to whom the author refers
Intern
Joined: 01 Nov 2018
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Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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08 Nov 2018, 09:33
Can you please explain question 3
The option C is a view of the philosopher mentioned in the last paragraph rather than that of author himself
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Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2019, 05:07
Can you please explain question 3
The option C is a view of the philosopher mentioned in the last paragraph rather than that of author himself

I have the same doubt. The answers provided above are simply copied from the book RC 99. Help?
Re: Most diseases or conditions improve by themselves, are self-limiting,   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2019, 05:07
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