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Odysseus-800 +

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Manager
Joined: 17 Jul 2008
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25 Jul 2009, 06:11
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Odysseus answered well when the priests showed him a picture of those who had honored the gods and then escaped shipwreck, and asked him whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods—"Yes," he asked, "but where are those pictured who were drowned after their prayers?" And such is the way of all superstitions; wherein humans, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.

Which one of the following contains the error of reasoning described by the author in the passage?

(A) I have discovered that Friday the 13th really is a day of misfortune. Just this past Friday, the 13th, I locked myself out of the house.
(B) Although Napoleon and Alexander the Great were short, Abraham Lincoln and Charles de Gaulle were tall. So short people seek leadership in order to overcome feelings of inferiority.
(C) Every semester for the past 15 years, an average of 10 percent of Ms. Elliot's history students have dropped her course before the exam. So, it seems likely that we can expect 10 percent to drop out this year.
(D) No reliable observer has ever actually seen a yeti. The strongest evidence seems to be some suspicious tracks. So I think this search for a yeti is probably a wild-goose chase.
(E) I cannot trust my lucky shirt any longer. I wore it to the game today and our team lost.

I did not understand a word of the above question. Please explain the reasoning for your answer.

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Director
Joined: 05 Jun 2009
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Re: Odysseus-800 +  [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2009, 07:59
I guess A...!!

what's the source of question?
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Re: Odysseus-800 +  [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2009, 00:45
Tough one to choose between A and E.
IMO on A.

what is the OA and please post the OE as well?
Manager
Joined: 15 May 2009
Posts: 164
Re: Odysseus-800 +  [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2009, 12:44
perfectstranger wrote:
Odysseus answered well when the priests showed him a picture of those who had honored the gods and then escaped shipwreck, and asked him whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods—"Yes," he asked, "but where are those pictured who were drowned after their prayers?" And such is the way of all superstitions; wherein humans, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.

Which one of the following contains the error of reasoning described by the author in the passage?

(A) I have discovered that Friday the 13th really is a day of misfortune. Just this past Friday, the 13th, I locked myself out of the house.
(B) Although Napoleon and Alexander the Great were short, Abraham Lincoln and Charles de Gaulle were tall. So short people seek leadership in order to overcome feelings of inferiority.
(C) Every semester for the past 15 years, an average of 10 percent of Ms. Elliot's history students have dropped her course before the exam. So, it seems likely that we can expect 10 percent to drop out this year.
(D) No reliable observer has ever actually seen a yeti. The strongest evidence seems to be some suspicious tracks. So I think this search for a yeti is probably a wild-goose chase.
(E) I cannot trust my lucky shirt any longer. I wore it to the game today and our team lost.

I did not understand a word of the above question. Please explain the reasoning for your answer.

Ok, here's a little explanation:

This is something like a parallel reasoning question.

The author of this excerpt attempts to point out the irrationality of superstition.

In the last sentence of the excerpt, he states that when the conditions of a superstition of some kind is fulfilled, people pay attention to such occurrences and start to believe in the superstition. By the same token, people tend to ignore instances when outcomes "predicted by" a superstition do not occur, even though such instances are much more frequent.

The author uses the example of offering prayers to the gods to avoid shipwrecks.

The question stem asks you to find another example of the faulty logic described above.

(A) is the correct answer IMHO. The logic in (A) attempts to confirm the truthfulness of a superstition (Fri. the 13th) by mentioning one instance where "misfortune" has occurred on one such day; it ignores all the other "Fridays the 13th", when nothing unusual occurred.

Here is why the other answers are wrong:

(B) is logically faulty, but it is not related to the irrationality of superstition, it merely speculates on human motivations based on physical characteristics.
(C) Again, this is not related to the logical fallacies of superstition, it is a premature (although logical) conclusion based on factual data.
(D) This is somewhat related to a "superstition", but this is more or less a logically sound statement based on factual evidence, therefore this choice cannot be parallel to the faulty reasoning that was originally described.
(E) This is the reverse of the correct answer. In this statement, the author is not confirming a superstition, but rather disproving it, although it is equally irrational.

--== Message from GMAT Club Team ==--

This is not a quality discussion. It has been retired.

If you would like to discuss this question please re-post it in the respective forum. Thank you!

To review the GMAT Club's Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow these links: Quantitative | Verbal Please note - we may remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines. Thank you.
Re: Odysseus-800 + &nbs [#permalink] 27 Jul 2009, 12:44
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