Columnist: Much of North America and western Europe is more heavily forested and has less acid rain and better air q...

thom on November 27, 2019


How would you recommend approach this question? Would diagramming be helpful in this kind of question? Thank you

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Irina on November 27, 2019


I do not recommend diagramming strengthen questions. Strengthen questions require us to find an answer choice that adds new information that supports the overall conclusion of the argument.

The argument tells that much of NA and WE is more heavily forested and has less acid rain and better air quality now compared to fifty years ago. This fact may be explained by environmental policies, but still lends credibility to people who reject imminent ecological doom predictions and argue against environmental policies that restrict the use of natural resources that may diminish the wealth. Which of the following strengthens the reasoning?

In other words, the question is asking us how can we strengthen the conclusion that environmental policies that excessively restrict the use of natural resources may diminish the wealth necessary to sustain ecological improvements.

Let's look at the answer choices:

(A) Nations sustain their wealth largely through industrial use of natural resources.

Correct. This fact strengthens the conclusion as it strengthens the link between the use of natural resources the nation's wealth. If this fact is true, it makes sense that excessive restrictions on the use of natural resources may diminish the wealth.

(B) The more advanced the technology used in a nation's industries, the greater is the nation's ability to devote a portion of its resources to social programs.

Incorrect. This fact has no impact on the conclusion. The argument is not talking about the role of technology.

(C) A majority of ecological disasters arise from causes that are beyond human control.

Incorrect. This fact has no impact on the conclusion, the argument is about the relationship between environmental policies and wealth, not the cause of ecological disasters.

(D) If a compromise between the proponents of economic growth and the environmentalists had been enacted rather than the current policies, the environment would have seen significantly less improvement.

Incorrect. This answer choice is attractive because it involves the same issues as the argument, but notice this fact actually weakens the argument. The argument does advocate for a compromise - and against excessively restrictive environmental policies - and argues that this approach allows to adopt and sustain policies that brought about the improvements, rather than saying that this approach would result in less improvements.

(E) The concern demonstrated by a nation for the health and integrity of its natural ecosystems leads to an increase in that nation's wealth.

Incorrect. This fact would weaken the argument as the argument is saying the opposite - excessive concern may diminish the wealth.

Let me know if you have any other questions.