Polling data reveal that an overwhelming majority of nine–year–olds can correctly identify the logos of major cigaret...

Christopher on March 4, 2019

Flawed Reasoning General Questions

Hi, for the Dolphin Answer---- how can we assume that 3 months is not enough for an analysis on the long term effects of mercury? Also- can we assume in these type questions, that the answers given are automatically flawed- or can they also have logical reasoning?

1 Reply

Ravi on March 11, 2019


Great question. The problem with the stimulus is that the argument
makes its conclusion on a poll that surveyed nine-year-old kids. The
reason this is a problem is because these kids' recognition of
cigarette brands could still have an effect on whether or not the
smoke, but it could simply be later. Maybe when they're teenagers, a
high percentage of them will smoke. The argument is therefore flawed
since it's failing to account for the future ramifications of these
kids being familiar with cigarette brands.

(A) says, "The concern about the long-term effect on dolphins of small
quantities of mercury in the ocean is unfounded. During a three-month
observation period, 1,000 dolphins were exposed to small quantities of
mercury in seawater, with no effect on the animals."

You asked how we can assume that 3 months is not enough for an
analysis of the long-term effects of mercury. The reason we can assume
this is because 3 months simply isn't a long period of time. Think
about the survey mentioned in the stimulus. The survey could have
asked the kids 3 months later and it's possible that all of the kids
could have still been 9 years old. Like the stimulus (A) is failing to
take into consideration future consequences. In (A)'s case, it's
failing to take into account that mercury might affect dolphins years
down the line. This is why (A) is the correct answer choice.

For these questions, it's best to make sure you know the flaw that's
going on in the stimulus first. Then, read each answer choice and
figure out what's going on. It's best not to assume anything. Just
read it carefully and then figure out if has a flaw. If it does,
figure out if the flaw matches the one you saw in the stimulus.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!