December 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm #931Mike KimKeymaster
Hey Manchas — here you go —
Real Time Thoughts:
Q Stem – Required Assumption
Argument – Yikes!
Author’s Point – Evidence for certain claim (many patients can predict sudden changes in medical status) is anecdotal (meaning just “rumor” and not scientifically proven) and not to be trusted.
Support – This situation is similar to a totally other one: There was a rumor that more babies are born during full moons. This is not true, but, once the rumor spread, nurses were just more likely to notice lots of births on full moons.
What’s wrong? – There is a huge gap between this evidence and the point, but the most glaring thing to me is that we have absolutely nothing that actually tells us these two situations are like one another in the ways the author claims.
But I honestly have no idea how an answer choice is going to help this situation — so, with a mind fuzzier than I’d like, I go into the answer choices to…
(A) The “empirically disproven” is very attractive, because it helps us connect the two situations, which we need to do — however, the “soon” is a dead giveaway that (A) is incorrect — we don’t need to know anything about the timeframe in order for this argument to work — so I cut it.
(B) is attractive, because what was happening in the babies example was that the count was off because nurses noticed births more during full moons (rather than there being more births) — this answer seems to say something similar to that about the medical patients — so I’ll keep it.
(C) is an easy cut — whether the patients were “serious” or not is of no consequence.
(D) made me think a bit to make sure I wasn’t turned around, but (D) does not need to be true in order for the argument to work — we just have to know that babies aren’t more likely to be born during full moons, and, besides, we seem to already have that info. So I cut it.
(E) is an easy cut — whether the belief is “widely held” or not is of no consequence to the reasoning in the argument.
So, (B) was the only answer I didn’t cut —
What (B) essentially tells us (in a roundabout way) that medical staff is more likely to remember patient predictions when they do actually occur with change — this is analogous to maternity staff being more likely to remember lots of babies being born if that happen to occur on a full moon.
Thus (B) provides something we needed in order to match up the reasoning to the conclusion, and (B) is correct.
You can confirm the necessity of (B) by negating it — a negation could be:
“Med staff is not less likely to remember predictions of change when the change doesn’t occur.” — that’s a whole lot of negatives, but what that means is that the med staff situation is not analogous to the babies one (in which the situation itself caused individuals to notice more/less) — and by showing that the two situations are not similar (remember the problem with the reasoning to begin with was that the author assumed the two situations were similar without giving us any evidence) the negation would destroy the argument. That means (B) must be correct.
Some points to consider after the fact:
1) This is a problem that really shows the importance of being able to zero in and focus on the argument — that’s as twisted a stimulus as you can find, and if you don’t focus in on the right things, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed.
2) This is a problem that also shows the importance of strong elimination skills. Of course, how easy or hard answers feel is based on your evaluation of the argument, but I would consider —
(A), (C), and (E) very easy “outs” (if you know what you are looking for — characteristics that make it so that the answer doesn’t fit the reasoning — and can focus on that) —
(D) takes just a bit more, but careful evaluation makes it clear that it’s a trap answer that relates to the reasoning but goes above and beyond in terms of what we need (or doesn’t exactly relate to what we need, depending on how you look at it) —
If you have trouble with the argument to begin with, (B) is a very tough answer to pick out as being correct, but, at the same time, it should also be a very tough answer to eliminate — so, if you have strong elimination skills and really rely on them, it could have helped a ton here.
In addition, in this case, the elimination process helped me confirm my understanding of the issue, because so many of the answers, mostly in incorrect ways, were trying to address the challenge of bridging the gap between the two situations (med issues/babies)
3) Lastly, here’s a simplified and cleared up breakdown of the argument reasoning and where the right answer fits:
Point: Evidence for claim that patients can predict when their bodies will change shouldn’t be trusted.
Support: Analogous to claim that full moons cause more babies to be born. In that situation, it turned out full moons did not cause more babies to be born. However, nurses simply noticed more births because they were looking out for them.
What (B) Provides: (B) tells us that medical staff are more likely to notice that patients had predicted if the patient does indeed change after that prediction.
We need to know this in order to know that the support the author provides can be used to completely justify the conclusion he reaches.
If (B) were not true, it would show that the two situations were not analogous.
Again, really hairy question — if you have any follow-up q’s, just let me know — Mike
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