Columnist: Although much has been learned, we are still largely ignorant of the intricate interrelationships among s...

Halle on May 19, 2018


I don't understand what answer choice D is saying in this question, could you please clarify?

7 Replies

Mehran on May 20, 2018

Hi @hallerae, thanks for your post.

This is a principle question that asks you to select an answer that supports the argument in the stimulus.

Always be sure you're clear on the conclusion in the stimulus first. Here, the conclusion is: "we should try to preserve the maximum number of species if we have an interest in preserving any. . . ."

Why? The premise given in support of this conclusion is: "since allowing species toward which we are indifferent to perish might undermine the viability of other species," and the stimulus also tells you that "we are still largely ignorant of the intricate interrelationships among species of living organisms."

Answer choice (D) justifies the columnist's argument. It says that "we should not allow a change to occur" [here, allowing species to perish] unless we are assured that that change [i.e., the perishing of the species] will not jeopardize anything that is important to us [i.e., will not jeopardize the survival of other species we might care about]."

Does this help? Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Sean on June 9, 2018

I had it down to B and D, but I eliminated D because the passage didn't mention anything about "things being important" and I felt like I would be assuming too much if I selected D. Can you shed a little more light on this?

Christopher on June 10, 2018


You're right that the author never directly refers to many thing as being important, per se. However, there are a few things that suggest the author thinks preserving certain species are important to us. One is the phrase, "if we have an interest in...". Having an interest in something is to suggest that it is important to us. Second, the idea that the demise of species toward which we are indifferent "might undermine the viability of other species" suggests that we would not be indifferent toward some species, which would suggest that the survival of those species would also be important to us. Since the survival of some species may be important to us, and we don't know how the demise of one species may affect the survival of another, it is in our best interest to minimize changes occurring in the population of any species.

Also worth noting, (B) actually undermines the author's conclusion. The author is arguing that since we don't know everything "we should [actively] try to preserve the maximum number of species." However, (B) suggests that we should avoid action until we understand everything. If you are to avoid action until universal knowledge has been established, then the author's argument to act now is weakened rather than strengthened.

Does that help?

Cynthia on September 7, 2018

I still don't get this question, why can't E also justify the conclusion? Can you please elaborate it further, thanks

Shunhe on December 31, 2019

Hi @Cynthia-Lee,

The main problem with (E) is that in the stimulus, the author doesn't distinguish between short-term and long-term benefits, and so this distinction in (E) doesn't help us. Hope this helps!

on October 25 at 09:53PM

Why not A?

Ravi on February 5 at 12:32PM

@Augusto, A doesn't work because this isn't enough to make us work toward persevering the maximum number of species, so we can rid of this choice.