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# Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...

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Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2016, 11:49
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95% (hard)

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34% (01:12) correct 66% (01:22) wrong based on 174 sessions

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Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims she saw a flying saucer the other night. But since she is a sociologist rather than a physicist, she cannot possibly be acquainted with the most recent writings of our finest scientists that tend to discount such sightings, so we can conclude that her report is unreliable.

Which of the following would be the most appropriate criticism of the author's analysis?

A) The author makes an irrelevant attack on Professor Branch's credentials.
B) The author may not be a physicist, and may therefore not be acquainted with the writings cited.
C) Even the US Air Force cannot explain all of the sightings of UFOs which are reported to it each year.
D) A sociologist is sufficiently well educated to read and understand scientific literature in a field other than her own.
E) It is impossible to get complete agreement on matters such as the possibility of life on other planets.

Could you please discuss in detail why should I choose or discard options A and D?
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Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 15 Jul 2016, 18:07
Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims she saw a flying saucer the other night. But since she is a sociologist rather than a physicist, she cannot possibly be acquainted with the most recent writings of our finest scientists that tend to discount such sightings, so we can conclude that her report is unreliable.

Which of the following would be the most appropriate criticism of the author's analysis?

The argument concluded that Branch's report is unreliable since the finest physicist have recently discounted such sightings through their recent writings. Any point that would affect the claim that recent writings of the finest scientists could be wrong should be the answer i.e. the most valid criticism.

A) The author makes an irrelevant attack on Professor Branch's credentials. --> No irrelevant claims are made. She's chair of sociology dept, there's nothing to refute that.
B) The author may not be a physicist, and may therefore not be acquainted with the writings cited. ---> irrelevant.
C) Even the US Air Force cannot explain all of the sightings of UFOs which are reported to it each year. ----> irrelevant.
D) A sociologist is sufficiently well educated to read and understand scientific literature in a field other than her own. ---> While true, but it could be possible that despite being sufficiently educated enough, professor branch was still not acquainted with most 'recent' writings. Hence, not a weakener.
E) It is impossible to get complete agreement on matters such as the possibility of life on other planets. ---> Should be correct. Since, the basis of conclusion is that the finest scientists tend to discount such sightings, implying that UFO's don't exist, if scientists themselves were wrong, then professor brach's report could be reliable.

IMHO correct answer should be E.

Please give kudos if this helps!

Originally posted by RaghavSingla on 15 Jul 2016, 14:59.
Last edited by RaghavSingla on 15 Jul 2016, 18:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2016, 16:57
Hmmm...I am not sure I agree with Raghav's analysis for answer choice E. The prompt says scientists TEND to disagree, so even if there was some debate among scientists as to whether aliens exist or not, the consensus is thst flying saucers are not real. We would also have to assume ALL flying saucers are piloted by alien life. I think it makes no difference whether COMPLETE agreement can be reached, as that is very extreme- is there anything in existence that is completely 100% agreed upon? People go into crazy debates over the color of a dress. Plus, even if alien life was debatable, physicists could still write conclusive articles showing that there's no way for alien life to reach us. I would lean towards answer choice A. First of all, he claims she is not a physicist, but these writings are written by scientists, that's quite a jump. The attack on Branch for being a sociologist therefore seems pretty irrelevant. What does her occupational difference from physicists have to do with familiarity with scientific publications?

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Re: Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2016, 17:47
I think that Option D seems to narrow the scope since it focuses only on the sociologists. Option A on the other hand captures the general tone of the flaw of the argument.
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Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2016, 08:53
EBITDA wrote:
Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims she saw a flying saucer the other night. But since she is a sociologist rather than a physicist, she cannot possibly be acquainted with the most recent writings of our finest scientists that tend to discount such sightings, so we can conclude that her report is unreliable.

Which of the following would be the most appropriate criticism of the author's analysis?

A) The author makes an irrelevant attack on Professor Branch's credentials.
B) The author may not be a physicist, and may therefore not be acquainted with the writings cited.
C) Even the US Air Force cannot explain all of the sightings of UFOs which are reported to it each year.
D) A sociologist is sufficiently well educated to read and understand scientific literature in a field other than her own.
E) It is impossible to get complete agreement on matters such as the possibility of life on other planets.

Could you please discuss in detail why should I choose or discard options A and D?

Ahaha! after a long time I see a pure fallacy based question. Feeling very happy since it gives me a chance to brush off my philosophy knowledge !!

The fallacy in question is A fallacy of relevance more properly known into philosophical world as "Ad-hominem abusive" {Latin for attack the person}
This fallacy is categorised by the fact the attacker does not address the argument at all but rather attacks the characters, knowledge, credential of the other person. There is no sense in this fallacy. The attacker generally says things to make the other person look either stupid, or characterless or dumb or not enough qualified.

This is what is happening in this argument. Rather than addressing the issue at hand of UFO's, author is maligning Prof. Branch as just a sociologist who are not as good or intelligent as physicist. He further degrades her by saying she cannot possibly know about recent physics journals which confirms UFO doesnt exist. In short he is just making the Professor look like some dumb hippy who is ignorant of science .

A) The author makes an irrelevant attack on Professor Branch's credentials.

THUS A IS THE CORRECT ANSWER

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Re: Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims...  [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2017, 22:56
I didn't get....How option C is irrelevant ?
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Re: Professor Branch, who is chair of the sociology department, claims... &nbs [#permalink] 01 Apr 2017, 22:56
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