mshinners
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Q6 - Astronomer: This country's space agency

by mshinners Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:29 pm

Question Type:
Principle Strengthen

Stimulus Breakdown:
NASA has spent a lot on a telescope, and it's more than halfway done. Thus, they should keep going.

Answer Anticipation:
While this argument is falling into the sunk cost fallacy, we're trying to justify it. Thus, we want an answer that says falling for the sunk cost fallacy is good - if you've spent a lot on something and made a lot of progress, even if it's over budget, you should keep building. Note that saying, "A plan to stop Project X is mistaken" commits you to believing that Project X should continue.

Correct answer:
(B)

Answer choice analysis:
(A) Out of scope. We don't get information about the agency's budget, just the budget of this project.

(B) Bingo. We can infer that the project is over halfway done because the money already spent is more than the remaining cost, and this justifies the conclusion to keep building.

(C) Out of scope/opposite. The astronomer only states the project is over budget, but that's not enough to infer that the final cost will be double the budget. This answer would also only justify an argument in favor of cancelling the project; we need an answer that justifies continuing it.

(D) Opposite. This answer is stating that you shouldn't fall for the sunk cost fallacy; the astronomer shares no such concern.

(E) Out of scope. The likelihood of the telescope leading to discovering is never discussed, nor are other projects. Nor is it established that the government needs to decide between projects.

Takeaway/Pattern:
Make sure to translate the conclusion into easier language. Here, it's important to change "Doing X is mistaken" to "We shouldn't do X".

#officialexplanation
 
YuriJ257
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Re: Q6 - Astronomer: This country's space agency

by YuriJ257 Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:29 am

I'm just curious but... where does it say that the building the new space telescope is halfway done? I just tried to infer from "more than the additional cost required to complete the project" (whatever that means, please help) would equal "more than half of the total cost of a budget" (in AC B). Because additional cost must be over the budget already, and therefore, the total cost (which I'm assuming is the total budget) has already been exceeded, which means B is correct. I just don't get your version of the stimulus & connecting it to B. Please help.
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Re: Q6 - Astronomer: This country's space agency

by ohthatpatrick Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:49 pm

I think Matt was just being loose / informal with language.

The stimulus doesn't tell us that the project is more than halfway done, from a construction/time standpoint.

But it tells us that the project is more than halfway done, from an expenditure standpoint.

If we've already spent $1 million, then the remaining cost has to be less than $1 million.

Let's say it's $900,000 remaining.

The total cost would end up being $1,900,000.

At this point, has "more than half of the total cost already been spent"? Yes.

And any mathematical example we come up with will fit the same mold.
If we've already spent $10, then the remaining cost has to be less than $10, so the maximum total cost would be $19.99

If the total cost ended up being $19.99, and we've already spent $10, then has "more than half of the total cost already been spent"? Yes.

Hope this helps.