Last winter was mild enough to allow most bird species to forage naturally, which explains why the proportion of bird...

on December 30 at 09:34PM

Help with C

I'm still unsure how answer C strengthens this argument. It seems that the premises present a correlation and the conclusion is causal, so we want to strengthen that causal explanation by eliminating all other explanations besides the mild winter. But the fact that predators are more likely to prey on birds when they are visiting feeders just gives an alternate cause for the birds' foraging. Doesn't that end up weakening the conclusion? (I'll re-read the argument because I might be misrepresenting it but that was my thought process when solving this question).

1 Reply

Shunhe on January 4 at 03:22PM

Hi @lklop,

Thanks for the question! So the argument is actually trying to make a causal argument, right? As opposed to just saying a mere correlation. So what are ways to strengthen causal arguments? Well, we can show directly some kind of causal effect, or we can rule out alternative causes.

Now take a look at (C), which tells us that birds eating at feeders are more vulnerable to predators than are birds foraging naturally. Well, if this is true, then mild winters would let birds forage naturally. And then they wouldn’t eat at bird feeders as much, since it’s safer to forage naturally. And so then there’d be fewer deaths, since fewer birds would get eaten by predators. So since this suggests a causal effect, (C) is correct.

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