Mark: The decongestant drug Zokaz was discontinued by its manufacturer because long-term studies revealed that it inc...

Ryan on October 7, 2019

Why is E correct? Why is D incorrect?


1 Reply

Andrea on October 17, 2019

Hi @Ryan-Mahabir,

In this stimulus, Mark makes an argument by analogy. I’ll paraphrase it like this:

Zokaz has shown to increase risk of heart attack. Qualzan, which works in a similar way, therefore probably also increases risk of heart attack.

Everywhere on the LSAT, your job is to be critical. When I first read this, my gut told me to attack his argument. My first point of criticism was:

Okay, so they both have the same phsyiological function. But with if what increases the risk of heart attack in Zokaz isn’t the psychological function, but rather one of the ingredients? What if Zokaz has some bad ingredient (say trace amounts of lead, ammonia, formaldehyde…you name it! Just imagining here) that is causing the increased risk of heart attack?

…And what if Qualzan, even though it works the same way, doesn’t have that bad ingredient?

Kathy jumps in to point out that even though the drugs work the same way, they are different chemically and probably have different side effects.

I certainly wasn’t a pre-med major, but I know there are a lot of different pharmaceuticals to choose from out there that accomplish the same process with different formulas (think how Advil and Aspirin both do the same thing in a very similar way, but are different chemically)

Though Kathy’s argument was not quite the same idea that I had, the criticisms are similar. We both pointed out that even though Zokaz and Qualzan are similar in one way, that doesn’t mean they are similar in other ways and this conclusion could be faulty if those differences are relevant. A bad argument by analogy will compare two things that are similar in one way, but potentially very dissimilar in some other critical ways.

D) We aren’t given a fundamental principal of medicine to hold anything up against.
E) Bingo! Like what we said above, Kathy is pointing out that the dissimilarities could make all the difference.

Hope this helps!