Which one of the following best states the central idea of the passage?

Julie on August 26, 2019

Passage Breakdown and Answer Explanation

Hi LSAT Max I was wondering if someone could give a brief explanation of the passage structure and why (B) is correct. Thanks in advance!

3 Replies

Irina on August 26, 2019


The passage uses an example of cytology and biochemistry to illustrate the thesis -anthesis relationship common during the early stages of development in a scientific discipline. The author concludes that this relationship and associated competition is important and fuels scientific progress (lines 55-59). This central idea is expressed in the correct answer choice (B).

Let's look at the other choices:

(A) Antithetical disciplines can simulate and hinder one another's research in complex ways.

Nothing in the passage suggests that these disciplines hinder one another. Their differences in opinion merely resulted in a more comprehensive research of the cell from different angles.

(C) As disciplines such as cytology and biochemistry advance, their interaction necessarily leads to a synthesis of their approaches.

While a synthesis of molecular biology and cellular biology has eventually resulted in molecular genetics, we cannot infer that this interaction will always necessarily lead to a synthesis.

(D) Cell research in the late nineteenth century was plagued by disagreements between cytologists and biochemists.

The mere existence of disagreements is not enough to infer that cell research was plagued by them. On the contrary, these disagreements were beneficial and fueled progress.

(E) In the late nineteenth century, cytologists and biochemists made many valuable discoveries.

This statement is accurate per the information in the passage, but it fails to express the central idea of the passage which is to illustrate the ways antithetical disciplines interact with each other.

Does this make sense?

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Phung Ha on June 17, 2020

I got the passage clearer after reading your explanation. I still have a quick small question. You said the passage used an example of cytology and biochemistry to illustrate the thesis-antithesis relationship. So which one following thesis discipline and which one following antithesis discipline? Like the cytologists will follow the antithesis discipline, is that correct?

Jayla on January 13 at 04:18PM

so will central idea questions always be asking what the conclusion of a passage is?