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Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by ann8839 Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:28 am

Conclusion: The Magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic pain in older dogs
Premise1) 76 percent of people who recieve Magno-blanket reduced pain after 3 weeks.
Premise2) Dogs and humans have similar physiology and the Magno-Blanket brings magnet into same proximity to the dog's joints as they were to humans.

At first, I thought there needs something shorten the gap between "applying to human was effective" to "applying to older dogs is also important."

However, there was no answer choice which seems to play that role.
After eliminating other 4 answers
(A) because cat and other pets are out of scopes
(B) Transimmission of nerve cell is also out of scope
(C), (D) out of scope,

I can reach to (E) , which seems strengthen the causal relationship between treatment with magnets and relieving pains.
By showing that when there is no cause, there is no effect, (E) tries to strengthen the argument.

However, I 'm still not clear how this causal relationship showed in (E) can contribute to the causal relationship between dog and magnet.

Is it because on stimulus, it says they have similar physiology that they can be causaly linked ?
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Re: Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by rinagoldfield Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:15 pm

This is a strengthen question, so let’s start with the argument core

Premise: People with joint pain who used magnets reported improvement
Premise: People and dogs are similar

Conclusion: Magnets will help dogs with joint pain

ann, you’re right that there are two potential flows here. We don’t know whether dogs and humans are similar enough to warrant extrapolating from humans with joint pain to dogs with joint pain. But we also don’t know how much the magnets even helped humans.

For example, we could do a study relating weight loss and exercise. We could say that "people who exercised daily reported weight loss." Does this mean that the exercise caused the weight loss? Not necessarily. Maybe these people also cut calories, and that caused the weight loss. However, we would improve our study with a control group: a group of similar people with similar caloric intakes who DIDN’T exercise every day. If the control group fails to lose weight, then we can more reliably connect exercise to weight loss.

(E) tells us that there was a control group who didn’t find much joint relief. This doesn’t strengthen the humans v. dogs gap, but is DOES strengthen the methodological gap in the study.

Remember: strengtheners needn’t solve EVERY problem in an argument.

(A) brings up other pets. Who cares.
(B) is irrelevant. Do the magnets help or not?
(C) is irrelevant. Will this particular method help?
(D) is tempting"”maybe the magnets are SUPER useful! But this is a premise booster. We already know those with severe joint pain felt better.

Hope this helps.
 
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Re: Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by wxpttbh Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:43 am

I understand why E is right. E choice acts as a Defender. However, I am still confused.
There is no comparison in the stimulus, and no mention about placebo. Even there is no indication that Magnet is the only therapy.
Can the exclusion of placebo strengthen the conclusion?
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Re: Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by ohthatpatrick Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:07 pm

The most important reasoning pattern in LR is correlation -> causality.

correlation evidence:
"most of the ppl (76%) that had magnet treatment had reduced pain"

author's causal assumption/explanation:
"the magnet treatment CAUSED the reduction in pain"

our 2-pronged prephrase (every time we see this pattern)
1. Is there some OTHER WAY to explain the evidence?
2. How plausible is the AUTHOR'S WAY of explaining it?

Most Weaken questions will hurt the argument by bringing up some OTHER WAY to explain the evidence:
- maybe it was the placebo effect
- maybe being wheeled to the magnet room was a bumpy ride that loosened the tension in their joints and caused the pain reduction
- maybe patients who signed up for magnets were also more likely to be signed up for acupuncture, which could be the real cause of pain relief

Correct answers to Strengthen can "Rule out an OTHER WAY".

Answers of the #2 variety usually come in the form of covariation, the idea of cause/effect appearing and disappearing in tandem.

Strengthen with more examples of
"ppl exposed to CAUSE also showed EFFECT" (cause, effect)
or with examples of
"ppl NOT exposed to CAUSE did NOT show EFFECT" (~cause, effect)

Weaken with examples of
"ppl exposed to CAUSE, but did NOT show EFFECT" (cause, ~effect)
or examples of
"ppl NOT exposed to CAUSE, are still showing EFFECT" (~cause, effect)

Any time you rule out an alternative explanation or increase the plausibility of the author's explanation, you have strengthened a causal argument.
 
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Re: Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by MingL143 Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:08 pm

ohthatpatrick wrote:The most important reasoning pattern in LR is correlation -> causality.

correlation evidence:
"most of the ppl (76%) that had magnet treatment had reduced pain"

author's causal assumption/explanation:
"the magnet treatment CAUSED the reduction in pain"

our 2-pronged prephrase (every time we see this pattern)
1. Is there some OTHER WAY to explain the evidence?
2. How plausible is the AUTHOR'S WAY of explaining it?

Most Weaken questions will hurt the argument by bringing up some OTHER WAY to explain the evidence:
- maybe it was the placebo effect
- maybe being wheeled to the magnet room was a bumpy ride that loosened the tension in their joints and caused the pain reduction
- maybe patients who signed up for magnets were also more likely to be signed up for acupuncture, which could be the real cause of pain relief

Correct answers to Strengthen can "Rule out an OTHER WAY".

Answers of the #2 variety usually come in the form of covariation, the idea of cause/effect appearing and disappearing in tandem.

Strengthen with more examples of
"ppl exposed to CAUSE also showed EFFECT" (cause, effect)
or with examples of
"ppl NOT exposed to CAUSE did NOT show EFFECT" (~cause, effect)

Weaken with examples of
"ppl exposed to CAUSE, but did NOT show EFFECT" (cause, ~effect)
or examples of
"ppl NOT exposed to CAUSE, are still showing EFFECT" (~cause, effect)

Any time you rule out an alternative explanation or increase the plausibility of the author's explanation, you have strengthened a causal argument.


But don’t you think choice E is a premesie booster?

If you compare the Q 7 (flaw), the similarity of both Q4 and Q 7 is that the correct answer choice has little to do with the conclusion.

For Q5, to strengthen “the medicine also works for older dogs”, you look for the connection between the medicine, people and the olde dog. But answer E doesn’t give that connection.
For Q7, the only two choice that has anything to do with the waste of taxpayers money” are B & C. The correct answer A doesn’t give the connection to the conclusion.
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Re: Q4 - the magno-blanket is probably able to relieve arthritic

by ohthatpatrick Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:27 pm

(Full disclosure, I don't really love or use the term 'Premise Booster', because I'm not sure I understand how to define it or use it consistently)

I've heard people describe what they think of as Premise Booster as "something that's trying to convince you of a premise".

(E) is useful, in that it persuades us to believe that magnets were the reason that some hospital patients felt reduced pain.

When we combine (E) with what we knew from the premise, we have:
76% of people WITH magnets had reduced pain
Less than 50% of people WITHOUT magnets had reduced pain


That asymmetry is highly suggestive of the idea that "magnets have an effect on pain reduction".

Did we already know from the premises that "magnets have an effect on pain reduction"?
Is this answer just trying to convince us of something we already knew?

No, we did not already know that. The author was assuming it.

GIVEN:
76% of the patients with magnets reported reduced pain

AUTHOR ASSUMED:
Magnets helped to reduce their pain

Is this assumption relevant to drawing the ultimate conclusion about whether the Magno-Blanket could relieve arthritic pain in older dogs?

It is, because if the author didn't think that magnets helped to reduce pain, she wouldn't have reason to believe in the Magno-Blanket's ability to relieve pain in dogs.

=====

The comments you're making about Q4 and 7 are just underscoring why it's so important to learn how to deal with Causal (and anti-causal) Arguments.

There are two different lines of objection we can make, and the one that is more commonly used has nothing to do with the conclusion!

CAUSAL ARGUMENTS present some Curious Fact as a premise. It is a correlation, or a statistical change, or puzzling phenomenon. It makes us inherently wonder "Why is that?"

The author then concludes a Causal Explanation, or the author's conclusion already assumes a Causal Explanation.

[premise] CURIOUS FACT: People who know Patrick are more likely to carefully choose their wording than are those who don't know him.

[conclusion] AUTHOR'S EXPLICIT CAUSAL EXPLANATION: So apparently Patrick's scrutiny puts pressure on the word choice of those around him.

[or a different conclusion] AUTHOR'S ASSUMED CAUSALITY: So apparently Patrick's relentless policing of everyone's language has made his friends afraid of him.


With assumed causality, there will be additional claims / term shifts to analyze in the conclusion.
Not only do we have to assume that Patrick caused his friends to choose their wording carefully, we also are assuming that this occurred through "relentless policing" (maybe it was gentle suggesting) and assuming that his friends are now "afraid" (as opposed to just careful in their wording).

In Magno-Blanket, IF you assumed that magnets were actually effective at reducing pain (in the human hospital study), you would still have a couple more gaps to worry about ...

Blanket-magnets vs. hospital magnets (same proximity, but anything else different?)
dogs vs. humans (similar physiology, but anything different affecting this plan?)

I can tell you that the vast majority of the time (I can't think of an exception, but there might be one), if there is a causal assumption being made, then LSAT is primarily testing that.

Remember when we read a causal argument, we need to do that two-pronged causal prephrase:
1. Is there some OTHER WAY to explain the curious fact?
2. How plausible is the AUTHOR'S WAY of explaining it?

Most correct answers to causal arguments are of the #1 style, thus they have nothing to do with the conclusion. If we had an argument that said, "Minglei is crying. So she must be cutting onions", then #1 style answers would be about other possible explanations for crying. They'd have nothing to do with cutting onions.

Strengthen answers are more likely to be #2 style, the most common being "control group" answers (no cause, no effect). You may also hear me refer to this type of answer as "Covariation" (whether cause and effect appear / disappear in tandem helps us judge whether they are causally connected)

Revisiting that earlier argument:
People who know Patrick are more likely than others to choose their words carefully. So, Patrick's scrutiny of language must be putting people on the defensive.

#1: "Is there some OTHER WAY to explain why people who know Patrick are more likely to choose their words carefully?"

Reverse Causality: Maybe Patrick chooses his friends and associates based on whether they are ALREADY people who choose their words carefully.

Third Factor: Patrick teaches LSAT, which trains people to choose their words carefully, and he has few friends other than his students.

#2: "How plausible is the AUTHOR'S STORY that Patrick's scrutiny is putting his friends on edge?"

"Control Group" Strengthener: During the year that Patrick spent abroad, cut off from his circle of associates, they loosened up their discourse considerably.


Anyhoo, the correct answer on Q4 is strengthening the plausibility of the AUTHOR'S causal assumption that "magnets caused the reported reductions in pain" (and it does so by using the classic Control Group form)

Q7 is an anti-causal argument. The author is making the anti-causal assumption that "bright warnings are NOT helping to discourage accidents", because more accidents occur at intersections with bright warnings. To argue the anti-conc, we have to think of a way to say that "these features are NOT a waste of money".

The author's interpretation of the story is:
1. we put up the bright warnings
2. tons of accidents happened anyway
3. thus, they did nothing to prevent accidents, so they were a waste of money.

The correct answer is saying the real sequence was:
1. This was the most dangerous intersection
2. We put up warning signs
3. Thus, these signs might help to lessen the danger at this intersection going forward, so they are not a waste of money.

We're essentially undermining this author's anti-causal explanation by doing a Reverse Causality reordering of the sequence of events.

Other classic anti-causal arguments sound like this:
Clearly, police do little to lower crime rates. After all, the cities with the most police also have the highest crime rates.

Clearly, doctors do nothing to help the spread of ebola. After all, the hospitals with the highest concentration of ebola doctors are in areas that have the highest rates of ebola.

The objection LSAT wants us to make is, "The police presence was a RESPONSE to the crime rate. The ebola doctors went there IN RESPONSE to the outbreaks of ebola."

The other way to go against an anti-causal argument involves Different Initial Reference Points

EXAMPLE:
Clearly, Patrick is no better at LSAT teaching than this 3 year old is. Both of their students ended up getting a 160 on the exam.

OBJECTION:
What if Patrick's student started at a 140 and the 3 year old's student started at a 159?


Your takeaway from Q4 is more about the fact that when there is a causal assumption being made, don't get distracted by the main conclusion that adds its own bits of fluff. Focus on whether we ever even established the causality that the main conclusion is built on.

Your takeaway from Q7 is that "when you're attacking an anti-causal conclusion, you should consider the alternative explanations of It's a Response, not a Preemptive Measure and What if They Started at Different Reference Points"