Since there is no survival value in an animal's having an organ that is able to function when all its other organs ha...

Savannah on December 23, 2018

second example question

I understand what to look for within the argument, however my question is why would A not be better suited? my reasoning is that I believed that everything within the argument was attempting to give a reason why it was probably within the reach of human technology to make the climate of mars inhabitable... because even with several centuries passing cathedrals were built, research efforts were justified and backing this claim, etc.

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Ravi on December 24, 2018

@SavannahM,

Happy to help.

In questions that ask us to identify the main point, we're looking to find the claim that the rest of the stimulus supports. The main point is supported by everything but does not provide support for anything.

A good way to help compare two claims to see which of them is the main point is to extract them from the argument and pit them against each other. Which one supports the other? Whichever one is supported by the other is the main point.

Answer A says that it is probably within the reach of human technology to make the climate of Mars inhabitable. This claim is supported by the information in the second sentence (as you pointed out), but those two sentences are only part of the entire stimulus. It's important to note that in many LR questions, there are multiple conclusions, and for questions that ask us to find the main point, we need to make sure that we properly identify the overall conclusion of the argument.

The first sentence, plus the support from the last sentence and the "if there is even a chance of making" premise of the third sentence all support the assertion that research efforts are now justified. Therefore, we now know that the first sentence, while being a conclusion, is not the MAIN POINT of the argument. It's a subsidiary conclusion/major premise, and it supports the overall point that research efforts are now justified.

Answer D says that research efforts aimed at discovering how to change the climate of Mars are justified, and this is exactly what we're looking for.

As noted above, we can take the two claims from A and D and directly pit them against each other. We can then put a "because" in between them to imagine that the second claim is supporting the first. If this new sentence makes sense, then the claim we put before "because" is what is being supported by the other one. And, if this doesn't make sense, then we have our support backward.

Let's look at A being supported by D:

"It is probably technologically possible for humankind to alter the climate of Mars" because "research efforts aimed at discovering how to change the climate of Mars are justified." Does this make sense? Absolutely not. We have our support structure backward.

Now, let's look at D being supported by A:

"Research efforts aimed at discovering how to change the climate of Mars are justified" because "it is probably technologically possible for humankind to alter the climate of Mars." Does this make sense? Yes, it does. This helps show how A is supporting D within the question stimulus.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Savannah on December 29, 2018

That makes a lot of sense! I will start doing that with answer choices I am stuck between now. I'm doing the practice problems and am struggling only slightly at recognizing what is exactly the conclusion. I feel like I'm attempting to retrain how my brain looks at the passages and is comprehending what is being told to me almost

Ravi on January 2, 2019

@SavannahM, that's great to hear! I'm happy that it's making sense to you. Please keep us updated with how you progress in answering these types of questions—we're here to help you dominate this test! In the meantime, if you have any other questions, let us know!