Student: The publications of Professor Vallejo on the origins of glassblowing have reopened the debate among historia...

Ava on January 23, 2020

B versus E

Can someone explain the difference between answer choices B and E? It seems like they are both speaking about the truth/strength of truth of the professor's claims, so what makes E the correct answer choice over B?

2 Replies

on January 24, 2020

Hello @shafieiava,

There are a couple of really important things to learn from this question.

First, the absence of evidence for a hypothesis is not the same as evidence against that hypothesis. Assuming that these are the same is a common flaw that you will continue to see. For example:

Premise: We have not found evidence of alien life.
Conclusion: Therefore, we are alone in the universe.

This is flawed. Just because there is no evidence of aliens, this is not enough to conclude that there are no aliens. The student in this stimulus makes the same basic mistake. Professor Vallejo says that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that glassblowing began in Egypt. Therefore, it did not begin in Egypt. This is why E is the correct answer.

Second, notice that this is a conditional conclusion. The student includes a very important sentence: "If Professor Vallejo is correct." The conclusion is based on the possibility that Vallejo is correct. The student never says that the professor is certainly correct. Sometimes, an answer choice will introduce a possible flaw that sounds reasonable, but the author has already accounted for it. This is one such example.

Ava on January 29, 2020

Thank you, Sam! This was very helpful!