A recent poll of a large number of households found that 47 percent of those with a cat had at least one person with ...

shafieiava on June 8, 2020

B versus E

I understand why B is right here but had trouble eliminating E because it also seemed to apply as an error in the reasoning of the argument. Can someone explain why E is wrong,and why by extension the error in reasoning in the argument is not that of confusing correlation and causation? Thanks in advance.

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Annie on June 9, 2020

Hi @shafieiava,

Whenever you see a percentage on a logical reasoning question, it's important to check if the conclusion of the argument is about percents or amounts. Here, the numbers are all in percents, but the conclusion is about a total amount. Answer (B) points out this flaw and is therefore correct. If there are simply many more households with dogs, than it is possible that there are actually more university grads living with dogs then with cats.

Answer (E) is incorrect because the argument doesn't actually talk about causation. The argument simply states that people with university degrees are more likely to live with a cat than a dog. IF the argument said something like "people with cats are more likely to get a degree" that would be a causation argument. But, the argument steers clear of that and just talks about correlation. So, this flaw isn't present.

kens on January 13, 2021

I thought the passage was talking about the same poll? For instance, poll taken on 1000 households and comparing the percentage of those households with cat and dog ownership. Please help me understand this question.

Naryan-Shukle on March 27, 2022

Hi @kens,

Whether this was the same or a different poll isn't actually the problem. The big issue here is a percent vs amount flaw. You can check out this flaw type in the Errors in Reasoning lesson, under 33 Most Common LSAT Flaws. This author believes that because a higher percentage of cat households have degree holders, that MORE degree holders are in cat households. But what if there are a million dog houses and just two cat houses? You could have one million degree holders in dog houses. (50%) and two degree holders in cat houses. (100%). Hopefully this illustrates how there could be more degrees in dog houses, even though a higher percentage of cat houses are degree holding.

Hope this helps!

DevinFuller on September 15 at 08:47PM

I guess where I got tripped up is it said more likely - hinting at the idea of it being a percent number as well. More likely being, over 50%. How can I read that next time and not see it that way?

Does that make sense?

Emil-Kunkin on September 18 at 08:35PM

I think it's important to distinguish between the statements that "X is more likely to be true than Y" and "x is likely to be true." Here, we are taking about relative terms, so we have no idea if it's actually more likely to be true than not, we just know that one thing is more likely than another.