Scientist: Given the human tendency to explore and colonize new areas, some people believe that the galaxy will event...

Christopher on September 14, 2016

Breaking my brain

I can normally get myself to the point that I see why the answer is what it is, but this one is stumping me. I don't feel as though any answer is more right than the correct answer, but maybe a walk through of the answers would help on this one.

1 Reply

Collin on September 7 at 03:48AM

Hi @Christopher,

Don't break your brain too much, it just isn't worth it!

This is a method of reasoning question where we're tasked with following how the author proceeds to support his argument. One might even go as far as to say this can be considered an error of reasoning question. Let's see why by starting with the stimulus. This is how I see it.

The stimulus starts by providing us with a hypothesis that some people hold: Some people believe that the galaxy will eventually be colonized by trillions of humans. The scientist then gives us a subsidiary conclusion saying that if this is so, a vast majority of humans ever to live would be alive during this period. The scientist goes on to erroneously include himself and the rest of us as people likely alive during this period because if most of the humans ever to live are alive during this period, we are likely to be included in "most", or the majority. The argument concludes by stating that the odds are slim that such colonization will ever happen, or that the hypothesis is false. Why? Because we are obviously not alive during this period where the galaxy is colonized by trillions of humans.

In other words, the scientist proceeds to conclude that the hypothesis (galaxy will likely be colonized by trillions of humans) is false because an event that is taken to be likely to occur if this hypothesis is true (we should be included in the "vast majority" alive during this time) has not occurred (we are not alive during this period).

Wow. I probably could have finished a practice section in the time it took me to put that into words. But you don't have to break your brain too much to know that something is fishy here. Answer choice D says exactly what we described.