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Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min

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Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 09 Oct 2018, 05:37
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  75% (hard)

Question Stats:

63% (01:51) correct 37% (01:53) wrong based on 183 sessions

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Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in minute quantities in most drinking water had an adverse effect on the human nervous system. Existing scientific theory held that no such effect was possible because there was no neural mechanism for bringing it about. Several papers by well-known scientists in the field followed, unanimously purporting to prove Professor Smith wrong. This clearly shows that the scientific establishment was threatened by Professor Smith’s work and conspired to discredit it.

Which one of the following is the central flaw in the argument given by the author of the passage?


(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.

(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory.

(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.

(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.

(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.

Originally posted by vaivish1723 on 22 Feb 2010, 10:51.
Last edited by Bunuel on 09 Oct 2018, 05:37, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2010, 17:45
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Hey All,

Though the correct answer has been distinguished and partially explained, I feel that there's room to look a bit deeper. And isn't that what we're all here to do?

Conclusion: Scientists were threatened and trying to discredit theory
Premise: Smith published paper that disagreed with other scientists, those scientists are trying to prove it wrong
Assumption: The scientists don't have any other reason to prove it wrong but to discredit it

Notice that this assumption falls into an "eliminate alternate paths" category. Basically, we're told that something is happening, and then directed towards the reason why. But there is no justification for that reason, so we would need an assumption that eliminates other possible reasons. The correct answer will inevitably take advantage of this.

(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
PROBLEM: What we care about is the intentions of the other scientists, not of Professor Smith himself.

(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory.
PROBLEM: Once again, the conclusion here relates to the OTHER scientists, not Smith himself. Whether or not Smith knew if his research was faulty or not doesn't affect the intentions of the other scientists.

(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
ANSWER: This establishes that the other scientists could have had some motive other than petty payback.

(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
PROBLEM: This is entirely out of scope. We don't need to know where the author comes into things.

(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.
PROBLEM: Out of scope again. We care about Smith and the other scientists, not the public.

Hope that helps!

-t
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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2010, 03:06
@Tommy

Sorry but I am going to probe this a little further since I am unable to comprehend the solution completely...

In the argument, the author states that the opposing scientists published several papers to prove the professors conclusion wrong.

If the above is true then how can we state that the author fails to show evidence that establishes the truth of the matter?

They have in fact published papers to prove the professor wrong.

Please correct me if I am wrong here..

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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2010, 21:44
IMO A.

(A) The author passes over the possibility that Professor Smith had much to gain should Professor Smith’s discovery have found general acceptance.
[Looks close contender. It is touching the threat to the scientists. Professor would be selected for patents, noble prize...]

(B) The author fails to mention whether or not Professor Smith knew that the existence of the alleged new effect was incompatible with established scientific theory. [Professor argued in his paper. So, this choice is ruled out]

(C) The author fails to show why the other scientists could not have been presenting evidence in order to establish the truth of the matter.
[I didnt find this choice convincing as no indication is given above on the truth of the matter. I second what Sidhus said. Other scientists did published papers to prove him wrong. Incorrect]

(D) The author neglects to clarify what his or her relationship to Professor Smith is.
[Out of scope]

(E) The author fails to indicate what, if any, effect the publication of Professor Smith’s paper had on the public’s confidence in the safety of most drinking water.
[This looks a SHELL GAME Fallacy. Out of scope]
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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2010, 13:08
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Hey Siddus,

The issue isn't that there isn't proof that they published papers against it. The conclusion is that the REASON they published those papers was because they were threatened and trying to discredit it. That's why the answer is C, which suggests that maybe they published the paper because they honestly disagreed, rather than because they had nefarious motives. : )

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Re: Chemical in drinking water  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2012, 03:30
Should be C

I find A,B,D, and E to be simply irrelevant to the argument - was the scientific establishment threatened by Professor Smith's work and so did it work to conspire against him?
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Re: Chemical in drinking water  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2012, 03:37
No doubt you scored a 780 on the real thing.
But can you explain what does the answer choice A actually means by saying "..passes over the possibility".

If somehow had an answer choice been something like this:
"Professor Smith will gain huge advantage if his paper were published", then could this have been the correct answer? I guess it explains why the other researchers and scientists should conspire against him.
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Re: Chemical in drinking water  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2012, 05:38
Marcab,

The question stem asks for the flaw in the argument given by the author. How does establishing that Smith had much to gain show that the others were not in fact conspiring to discredit him?

On the other hand, (C) presents an alternative explanation to why the other scientists acted the way that they did, and therefore presents a flaw in the author's argument. C it should be.
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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Oct 2018, 21:26
TommyWallach

My thinking was similar to you on this - but the convoluted wording of option C got me.

Could you please explain me the meaning of option C.
My thoughts were exactly the same as yours and I did choose option C , but I am still confused over the meaning of answer choice C


My understanding-
Option C- The author fails to show( author does not show)
why the other scientists( scientists who supposedly discredit work) could not have been presenting evidence( why they couldn't present evidence) in order to establish the truth of the matter.( This last part is what I couldn't understand) please explain.
Thank you

GMATNinja charles, your thoughts on this one would be bliss

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Re: Professor Smith published a paper arguing that a chemical found in min &nbs [#permalink] 14 Oct 2018, 21:26
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