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There is a widespread belief that people can predict

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There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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New post 19 Apr 2017, 18:04
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There is a widespread belief that people can predict impending earthquakes from unusual animal behavior. Skeptics claim that this belief is based on selective coincidence: people whose dogs behaved oddly just before an earthquake will be especially likely to remember that fact. At any given time, the skeptics say, some of the world’s dogs will be behaving oddly.

Clarification of which one of the following issues would be most important to an evaluation of the skeptics’ position?

(A) Which is larger, the number of skeptics or the number of people who believe that animal behavior can foreshadow earthquakes?

(B) Are there means other than the observation of animal behavior that non-scientists can use to predict earthquakes?

(C) Are there animals about whose behavior people know too little to be able to distinguish unusual from everyday behavior?

(D) Are the sorts of behavior supposedly predictive of earthquakes as pronounced in dogs as they are in other animals?

(E) Is the animal behavior supposedly predictive of earthquakes specific to impending earthquakes or can it be any kind of unusual behavior?

Source: LSAT
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by broall on 20 Sep 2017, 01:18, edited 1 time in total.
Reformatted question

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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2017, 13:04
Can someone explain in detail why the answer is E), not D)? Thanks!

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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2017, 23:45
annelena wrote:
Can someone explain in detail why the answer is E), not D)? Thanks!


There is a widespread belief that people can predict impending earthquakes from unusual animal behavior. Skeptics claim that this belief is based on selective coincidence: people whose dogs behaved oddly just before an earthquake will be especially likely to remember that fact. At any given time, the skeptics say, some of the world’s dogs will be behaving oddly.

Clarification of which one of the following issues would be most important to an evaluation of the skeptics’ position?

(A) Which is larger, the number of skeptics or the
number of people who believe that animal
behavior can foreshadow earthquakes?
(B) Are there means other than the observation of
animal behavior that non-scientists can use to
predict earthquakes?
(C) Are there animals about whose behavior people know too little to be able to distinguish
unusual from everyday behavior?
(D) Are the sorts of behavior supposedly
predictive of earthquakes as pronounced in
dogs as they are in other animals?
(E) Is the animal behavior supposedly predictive
of earthquakes specific to impending earthquakes or can it be any kind of unusual
behavior?

Skeptics position is that 'At any given time ,some of the world’s dogs will be behaving oddly and their behaviour is coincidental. '
We need to evaluate this position.

How can we weaken this position. If we can prove that the behaviour is not coincidental.
What if the animals behaved differently prior to an earthquake compared to when they normally behave oddly.
If yes then the conclusion is weakened. If no conclusion is falsified. This is stated in E.

As to D, even if they are as pronounced as in other animals how does this affect the skeptics conclusion. It doesn't.
This choice doesn't address the skeptics conclusion.Hence Wrong IMO.

hope Its clear.

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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2017, 12:46
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Good explanation by goforgmat!

The skeptics say that "at any given time... some of the world’s dogs will be behaving oddly." If dogs are behaving oddly at any given time and we base our earthquake predictions on the odd behavior of dogs, that would mean we would predict an impending earthquake at any given time; thus, according to the skeptics, the odd behavior of dogs cannot be used to predict earthquakes. But what if there was a specific type of odd behavior demonstrated by dogs just before earthquakes? For example, what if just before an earthquake, dogs tended to stand up on their hind legs and pace back and forth nervously? Even though some of the world's dogs may be behaving oddly at any given time, as stated by the skeptic, if we only see this specific type of odd behavior prior to earthquakes, then we could use this odd behavior to predict impending earthquakes.
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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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Pre-thinking helped me here. In evaluate question, identifying the assumption is the key. Here, the skeptics assume that the dogs usual odd behaviour is similar or comparable to the their behaviour just before an earthquake. Hence, E is the answer. Choice D is irrelevant to evaluate the given position.

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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2017, 07:14
There is a widespread belief that people can predict impending earthquakes from unusual animal behavior. Skeptics claim that this belief is based on selective coincidence: people whose dogs behaved oddly just before an earthquake will be especially likely to remember that fact. At any given time, the skeptics say, some of the world’s dogs will be behaving oddly.

The skeptics' position is that the belief that animal behavior can indicate an impending earthquake is erroneously based on selective coincidence: people are just more likely to remember their dogs' behavior if it happened right before an earthquake.

Well, okay, but is that behavior connected with earthquakes or not? In other words, is the dog behavior just the same old stuff the dogs would be doing normally, or is it something they only do when an earthquake is on its way?

Clarification of which one of the following issues would be most important to an evaluation of the skeptics’ position?

(A) Which is larger, the number of skeptics or the number of people who believe that animal behavior can foreshadow earthquakes? -- Out of scope

(B) Are there means other than the observation of animal behavior that non-scientists can use to predict earthquakes? -- Out of scope

(C) Are there animals about whose behavior people know too little to be able to distinguish unusual from everyday behavior? --doesn't help us evaluate the skeptics' position. Why? Because even if the answer is "yes," that still doesn't mean that there are no animals whose behavior we can accurately judge. In other words, maybe we can't distinguish unusual marmoset behavior from everyday marmoset behavior, but we can still distinguish normal and unusual dog behavior.

(D) Are the sorts of behavior supposedly predictive of earthquakes as pronounced in dogs as they are in other animals? -- Whether or not unusual behavior in more pronounced in other animals, the issue of selective memory remains. (D) can't be correct.


(E) Is the animal behavior supposedly predictive of earthquakes specific to impending earthquakes or can it be any kind of unusual behavior? -- Correct

Answer E
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Re: There is a widespread belief that people can predict   [#permalink] 12 Dec 2017, 07:14
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