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# Some legislators refuse to commit public funds for new scientific rese

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Re: Some legislators refuse to commit public funds for new scientific rese [#permalink]
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urvashis09 wrote:
Some legislators refuse to commit public funds for new scientific research if they cannot be assured that the research
will contribute to the public welfare. Such a position ignores the lessons of experience. Many important
contributions to the public welfare that resulted from scientific research were never predicted as potential outcomes
of that research. Suppose that a scientist in the early twentieth century had applied for public funds to study molds:
who would have predicted that such research would lead to the discovery of antibiotics—one of the greatest
contributions ever made to the public welfare?

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the argument?

(A) The committal of public funds for new scientific research will ensure that the public welfare will be enhanced.
(B) If it were possible to predict the general outcome of a new scientific research effort, then legislators would not
refuse to commit public funds for that effort.
(C) Scientific discoveries that have contributed to the public welfare would have occurred sooner if public funds
had been committed to the research that generated those discoveries.
(D) In order to ensure that scientific research is directed toward contributing to the public welfare, legislators must
commit public funds to new scientific research.
(E) Lack of guarantees that new scientific research will contribute to the public welfare is not sufficient reason for
legislators to refuse to commit public funds to new scientific research.

Source: LSAT

Please someone explain how is B wrong.
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Re: Some legislators refuse to commit public funds for new scientific rese [#permalink]
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The main point of an argument is not only a salient point, but one which draws on the rest of the argument for support. The primary purpose of an argument such as that in the passage on which this question is based is to convince the reader to accept the main point. The passage begins by stating the position that some legislators hold. These legislators “refuse to commit public funds for new scientific research if they cannot be assured that the research will contribute to the public welfare.”

Then a reason is given for rejecting this position. Many important contributions to the public welfare come from scientific research for which no assurance could be given of a contribution to public welfare. These contributions “that resulted from scientific research were never predicted as potential outcomes of that research.” Finally, this
reason is emphasized by giving an example. Clearly the purpose of this argument is to refute the position of the legislators mentioned. The main point is the denial of that position. Since response (E) most accurately expresses the denial of the legislators’ position, it is the correct answer.

Response (A) is incorrect because it expresses a point that the argument does not make. Nothing is expressed or implied about whether committing public funds for new scientific research ensures that public welfare will be enhanced. All that is said is that legislators ought not to insist on assurances of enhanced public welfare before committing public funds for new scientific research.

Response (B) is incorrect because it is a prediction of what legislators would do in cases where it is possible to predict the outcome of scientific research. The argument states what the legislators would not do if they cannot be assured that the research will contribute to the public welfare. Moreover, nothing is stated or implied about what
legislators would do, the issue is rather what legislators should do. (B) implies that if it is possible to predict a negative outcome of a new scientific research effort, then legislators would not refuse to commit public funds for that effort. Nothing in the argument suggests anything close to this.

Response (C) is incorrect because it speculates that scientific discoveries that have contributed to the public welfare would have occurred sooner if public funds had been committed to the underlying research. Response (C) takes the argument much further than it has committed itself—the issue of whether any discoveries may have occurred sooner is never addressed within the argument.

Response (D) is incorrect because it addresses an issue that is not discussed in the argument. The argument does not say that the existence of research contributing to the public’s welfare is conditional upon legislators committing public funds to that research.

OPTION: E
Re: Some legislators refuse to commit public funds for new scientific rese [#permalink]
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