QUESTION TEXT: Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken – Exception
CONCLUSION: The theory that the paintings show the then current diet of the painters cannot be right.
REASONING: The painters must have had to eat the sea animals populating the waters north of Norway. But there are no paintings clearly depicting those animals.
ANALYSIS: The argument sounds good. Anyone going to those islands would have had to travel by sea and eat sea animals. Yet the paintings included no sea animals. Therefore they couldn’t have been paintings of the current diet of the painters.
But there are many possible flaws. I found it hard to think of them in advance. Instead, you should keep an open mind and consider whether each answer hurts the argument.
The right answer C does not weaken this argument. It just says that the paintings included land animals. This was already implied by the fact that the paintings included no sea animals.
- The theory is that the paintings showed the current diet of the painters. That would mean that if they only ate land animals once on the island then they would only paint land animals.
- This means that the paintings of sea animals could simply have disappeared.
- CORRECT. Diet is a comprehensive word. What the author really means is the diet should include sea animals. They don’t necessarily have to argue the diet is entirely sea animals. So, the presence of land animals is neither here nor there. The people who made the paintings may have eaten these land animals, they may not have. But regardless, this doesn’t undermine the author’s point that the diet also needed to include sea animals in order for these peoples to make the long sea journey.
- This would mean that the painters didn’t have to eat sea animals. They could have eaten the preserved meats on the journey instead.
- This means that the painters did not have to travel to and from the islands. They ate land animals instead of sea animals.
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Mr. Blake, your explanations reflect a gifted, trained mine.
I do however have concern about the explanation proffered for why “C” is the correct answer seems to be a misguided explanation, for why “C” is correct.
By the explanation of “C” saying that “these paintings could well have depicted the diet of the painters,” the argument be weakened, as the argument concludes the paintings could depict the painters’ diet.
Am I correct to think that this one explanation is not right? Most respectfully and humbly, Steve
FounderGraeme Blake says
Good catch. I should have said that the paintings partially depict the diet, in that they ate some land animals, but the argument could be correct that it isn’t the full diet, as they would need to eat sea animals too.
Hi Graeme, your explanation for 30.1.20 confused me. I don’t think it’s correct to think about the paintings as, ‘If there are no fish, there should be land animals. The paintings could have depicted the diets.’ In my opinion, (C) is correct, because the painters could have eaten land animals and could have depicted them in the paintings, and this fact does not necessarily affect the argument’s speculation that the painters should have been eating fish. (C) is neutral.