Journalist: A recent study showed that people who drink three cups of decaffeinated coffee per day are twice as likel...

DavidW on April 2, 2020

A vs C

Hi! Could someone please elaborate on why answer choice A was wrong, and answer choice C was correct? Thank you!

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shunhe on April 3, 2020

Hi @DavidW,

Thanks for the question! The argument tells us that people who drink decaffeinated coffee get arthritis more quickly than people who drink regular coffee, and concludes that decaffeinated coffee has to have some magic mojo that damages connective tissue that isn’t present in regular coffee. Now we need to find an answer choice that would help us evaluate the journalist’s argument.

Taking a look at (A), we see that it introduces the idea of exercising regularly into the mix. Normally, this wouldn’t be the worst idea, but recall that on the LSAT, we need to find the best answer, not just adequate ones. (A) relies on a lot more assumptions than (C) does. For example, let’s say that the answer is yes, there actually is a difference. Then it requires us to assume that there’s some kind of link between exercising regularly and arthritis-inflammation of joints or damage to connective tissue. In addition, (A) only would give us information about people who exercise regularly and their drinking of decaffeinated beverages, but doesn’t tell us anything about their drinking of caffeinated beverages, giving us an incomplete picture.

(C), on the other hand, helps us directly evaluate the journalist’s arguments without relying on as many assumptions. If the answer to (C) is yes, then it would directly provide an alternate explanation to the author’s conclusion: that instead of something in decaffeinated coffee damaging joints, it’s actually caffeine that is helping preserve joints. If the answer is no, then it would help strengthen the conclusion that the author makes by eliminating an alternate explanation.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.

DavidW on May 11, 2020

Thanks Shunhe! That definitely helps clear it up.