peg_city
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Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by peg_city Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:44 pm

Why is C wrong?

The Stimulus doesn't distinguish between the use of the spacecraft to help understand and reverse damage and the goal of preventing (factory) harmful effects. It compares the two and doesn't bring to light the main difference between them.

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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by giladedelman Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:53 pm

Thanks for posting!

Let's break down the environmentalists' argument. The conclusion is that the spacecraft trip was unjustifiable. Why? Because it did as much harm to the ozone layer as a year's worth of pollution from the average factory, which is unjustifiable.

So our assumption is that if one thing is not okay, something else that does the same amount of damage to the ozone layer is also not okay.

That might seem logical enough, but what if there are other important effects than the immediate damage to the ozone layer? Specifically, what if the spacecraft trip helps scientists eventually repair the damage to the ozone layer? Then its effects wouldn't really be comparable to the effects of factory pollution, which only harm and don't help.

That's why (A) is correct. The argument treats the space flight and a factory as the same, ignoring the critical difference that the space flight is aimed at the goal of undoing ozone damage.

(B) is incorrect because the argument is limited to discussing this single incident.

(C) is incorrect because the distinction between undoing and reversing harmful effects is not relevant to this argument. The issue is, is the space flight unjustified because it pollutes as much as a factory? Remember, the factory is just an example of something that causes ozone damage -- nowhere does the argument discuss preventing that kind of damage. Be careful not to add any outside ideas to the argument.

(D) is too broad: it's not that the two things are not comparable in any way, rather that there is one key difference.

(E) is also too extreme. The premise is that the space flight did damage; there's no need to assume that all experiments are harmful.

Does that clear this one up for you?
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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by WaltGrace1983 Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:04 pm

I am a little bit confused by (C), though I got (A) as the correct answer. Here is my thought process:

A single trip by a spacecraft did as much harm to the ozone layer as a year's pollution by the average factory
+
Latter (the factory's pollution) was unjustifiable
-->
The former (the spacecraft's trip) is unjustifiable

Now the main distinction here is that there is an intrinsic difference between the spacecraft and the pollution (hence, why I chose A). While the factory just spills pollution into the air and ONLY causes harm, the spacecraft - while definitely causing some harm - also provides the opportunity to HELP. What if the spacecraft's trip is necessary to reversing the ozone layer's damage? The point is that the spacecraft doesn't just harm the ozone. At the bare minimum, it should at least provide a little more insight that could help scientists.

(E) is much too strong. The argument simply does not presuppose this. It just talks about this specific "experiment" (if you can really even call the trip to the ozone layer an 'experiment' but that is a whole other thing)

(D) Quantities is not the word I am looking for. I would say if the word was qualities it would be fine though and certainly a reasonable correct answer - the quality of just providing harm is not the same kind as the quality of providing a possible avenue to help

(B) the argument is talking about very specific instances. It would be different if the conclusion said something like "everything that does any harm to the ozone layer should be criticized"

Now we get to (C).

(C) says that the argument fails to distinguish between reversing and preventing. Now the thing that really gets me fishy about this answer choice is that it is not really a part of the core. It is more about the background information. The background information says that scientists want to "reverse" damage. Is this enough to eliminate the answer choice altogether? If it is not, I will continue with my analysis.

So we have the goal of reversing and we are talking about how the spacecraft is causing harmful effects. Could it be that the environmentalists are misunderstanding the point of the experiment? The environmentalists combat an opportunity to reverse the harmful effects with a claim about how the effects of the "experiment" make it intrinsically unjustified. If this answer choice were correct, how would the stimulus differ? The only way I can refute this answer choice is by saying that (1) A is a much better answer choice and (2) C is really getting at something that isn't a part of the core.
 
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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by michaelwcarper Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:33 pm

WaltGrace1983 wrote:I am a little bit confused by (C), though I got (A) as the correct answer. Here is my thought process:

A single trip by a spacecraft did as much harm to the ozone layer as a year's pollution by the average factory
+
Latter (the factory's pollution) was unjustifiable
-->
The former (the spacecraft's trip) is unjustifiable

Now the main distinction here is that there is an intrinsic difference between the spacecraft and the pollution (hence, why I chose A). While the factory just spills pollution into the air and ONLY causes harm, the spacecraft - while definitely causing some harm - also provides the opportunity to HELP. What if the spacecraft's trip is necessary to reversing the ozone layer's damage? The point is that the spacecraft doesn't just harm the ozone. At the bare minimum, it should at least provide a little more insight that could help scientists.

(E) is much too strong. The argument simply does not presuppose this. It just talks about this specific "experiment" (if you can really even call the trip to the ozone layer an 'experiment' but that is a whole other thing)

(D) Quantities is not the word I am looking for. I would say if the word was qualities it would be fine though and certainly a reasonable correct answer - the quality of just providing harm is not the same kind as the quality of providing a possible avenue to help

(B) the argument is talking about very specific instances. It would be different if the conclusion said something like "everything that does any harm to the ozone layer should be criticized"

Now we get to (C).

(C) says that the argument fails to distinguish between reversing and preventing. Now the thing that really gets me fishy about this answer choice is that it is not really a part of the core. It is more about the background information. The background information says that scientists want to "reverse" damage. Is this enough to eliminate the answer choice altogether? If it is not, I will continue with my analysis.

So we have the goal of reversing and we are talking about how the spacecraft is causing harmful effects. Could it be that the environmentalists are misunderstanding the point of the experiment? The environmentalists combat an opportunity to reverse the harmful effects with a claim about how the effects of the "experiment" make it intrinsically unjustified. If this answer choice were correct, how would the stimulus differ? The only way I can refute this answer choice is by saying that (1) A is a much better answer choice and (2) C is really getting at something that isn't a part of the core.


The key, I think, is that the environmentalists argument doesn't leave room for reversing vs. preventing. They don't care about the goal. Maybe they should. But the fact that they don't isn't a reasoning error.

Their complaint starts with, "factory-level damage is unjustifiable", assumes that any equivalent level of damage is also unjustifiable, and concludes that the spaceship trip is unjustifiable. The argument hinges on equivocating different kinds of damage, as long as they're the same amount.

A factory owner could produce solar panels, but in doing so, produce pollution. Clarifying its intentions to the environmentalists would be pointless, since the judgment of pollution as unjustifiable only heeds the amount.

Similarly, the scientists could fail in their pursuits.

In order for a goal distinction to be a reasoning error, C would have needed to tie the goals to what is an unjustified amount. ie, "fails to distinguish the goal of reversing harmful effects from the goal of preventing those harmful effects as relevant to a justifiable amount of pollution.
 
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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by 513852276 Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:35 pm

Rather than "failing to distinguish two goals", the author seems to put priority of two goals in a wrong way, as he/she is always thinking preventing > reversing.
 
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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by obobob Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:56 pm

Hi, I am actually thinking about the answer choice (C) that "the goal of preventing those harmful effects" as the environmentalists' goal to prevent any kind of damage could be done to the fragile ozone layer and that the same or similar goal can be the scientists' "goal of reversing harmful effects."

So, if that's the case, then the goal of the two parties are pretty much similar (i.e. save the ozone layer) but their approaches to the goal is different, I think.

With all of my hypothetical/possibility tone that I am adopting in my explanation above, the answer choice (C) is hardly going to be a good answer for a flaw question (especially since we have (A) which is a good solid answer.), because the answer leaves many possibilities in interpreting the answer choice.

Also, even if my understanding/interpretation of the answer choice (C) is correct, (C) isn't going to be a good answer since: 1) first of all, the author does not distinguish different goals from different sides, and 2) it isn't really necessary to distinguish the goals since it seems like the goals seem to be pretty similar for the both parties.

I am sharing my thinking process in hopes of hearing others' thoughts about it as I am unsure if my explanation is also a valid way of thinking. After reading all the previous comments on this question's posting, I disagree with the explanation saying that the stimulus isn't really about reversing & preventing ("undoing") as, to me, it seems like the environmentalists want to prevent harming ozone layers by disagreeing about the scientists' approach of using a spacecraft. I agree with the previous comments saying that the real issue in the argument is about whether the spacecraft flight is unjustified, because it pollutes as much as factories do, but I just feel like a partial explanation isn't really convincing me that much.

Can anyone please help me with my confusion?
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Re: Q15 - Scientists hoping to understand

by ohthatpatrick Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:34 pm

By saying that the argument is flawed because it FAILED to do something, we’re saying that the author SHOULD have done the thing we’re saying he failed to do.

(C), then, is saying “the author SHOULD have distinguished between reversing ozone damage and preventing ozone damage (but he didn’t, he treated them interchangeably).”

What he treated interchangeably was ozone damage from a factory and ozone damage from a scientist’s spacecraft.

Those ARE interchangeable in that they both cause ozone damage, but aren’t interchangeable in that only the latter might lead to eventually reversing ozone damage.

So we would like (C) if it said, “fails to distinguish between two types of damage caused to the ozone”.
One type, the damage caused by the factory, is unjustifiable.
But the other type, the damage caused by the spacecraft, might be justifiable if we think about the ultimate good it could do.

But that doesn’t mean the author was equating reversing damage with preventing damage.

We might like (C) if it said, “fails to distinguish between the initial effects of an action and the eventual effects of an action” (the knowledge we gain from the spacecraft might eventually lead to reversing more damage than we caused)

Or we might like (C) if it said, “fails to recognize that the goal of preventing damage might sometimes be suspended in order to pursue the goal of reversing damage”.

Hope this helps.