Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Data recently transmitted by a spacecraft strongl...

Meredith on October 18, 2019

D v B

Why is D incorrect? I was debating between D and B as the answer choice.

1 Reply

Skylar on October 20, 2019

@Meredith Happy to help!

(B) is correct because it identifies the passage's flaw of treating the presence of liquid water as more of a sufficient variable than a necessary variable. The passage states that "life as we know it could evolve only in the presence of liquid water." Therefore, we know that liquid water is necessary for life as we know it. However, we do not know if liquid water is ALL that is necessary for life as we know it and we cannot assume life likely exists just because water does. Perhaps life also requires another variable, such as oxygen. Therefore, (B) is correct in claiming that the passage "fails to address adequately the possibility that there are conditions necessary for the evolution of life in addition to the presence of liquid water."

(D) is tempting because of the phrase "life as we know it." However, the conclusion of the science journalist's argument only refers to "primitive life," which is a form of life that we are familiar with. Therefore, (D)'s claim that the passage "overlooks the possibility that there could be unfamiliar forms of life that have evolved without the presence of water" is irrelevant because we are not considering any unfamiliar forms of life. Even if we were, this claim does not weaken the idea that life likely exists on Europa. In fact, it eliminates one of the requirements for life to exist, arguably making it even more likely that life does exist.

Does this make sense? Please let us know if you have any other questions!