In an effort to reduce underage drinking, the Department of Health has been encouraging adolescents to take a pledge ...

Kenji on August 2 at 07:35AM

June 2013 LSAT 24

Can someone please explain why E is incorrect? Thanks in advance!

2 Replies

Kenji on August 2 at 08:08AM

confuses the claim that many adolescents who do not drink report having taken the pledge with the claim that many who report having taken the pledge do not drink

Skylar on August 3 at 01:10AM

@kenken, happy to help!

The passage tells us that encouraging adolescents to take a pledge not to drink alcohol until they reach the legal age has been successful in reducing underage drinking. What support does the passage offer for this? A survey of 17-year-olds found that many of those who do not drink report having taken the pledge, whereas almost all of those who do drink report not having taken the pledge. We are asked to identify why this argument is vulnerable to criticism.

(E) "confuses the claim that many adolescents who do not drink report having taken the pledge with the claim that many who report having taken the pledge do not drink"

This is incorrect. If the passage said "a survey of 17-year-olds has found that many of those who report having taken the pledge do not drink and many of those who report not having taken the pledge do drink," the argument would still be flawed. All this statement does- whether reversed or not- is show that some 17-year-olds who don't drink took the pledge (AKA some who took the pledge don't drink) and that some 17-year-olds who do drink didn't take the pledge (AKA some who didn't take the pledge do drink). This shows correlation, not causation. How do we know that taking the pledge led the 17-year-olds not to drink? We don't. What if already not drinking caused them to take the pledge? Recognizing this flaw brings us to the correct answer choice, (C).

(C) "infers from an association between pledging not to drink and refraining from drinking that the pledging was the cause of refraining from drinking"

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