QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Apples probably weren’t cultivated in the region 5,000 years ago.
REASONING: Wild apples are smaller than the apples we grow today. 5,000 years ago, when people first started cultivating fruit, the only apples found in the region from that time were the size of wild apples.
ANALYSIS: As with question 19, outside knowledge helps you answer this question. You may know that cultivation changes foods over time. Early cultivated fruits came from wild fruits, so they would have been the same size. Then slowly over the years fruit farmers would have selected larger apples to grow.
So it wouldn’t be surprising if early cultivated apples were small. There simply hadn’t been enough time for them to grow.
- The conclusion was about what was true in this region. Other regions don’t matter.
- CORRECT. This is a very valid criticism. Cultivation can only change fruits over a long period of time. Every scientist and horticulturist knows this. The argument should have eliminated this possibility.
- The argument didn’t say that there are no medium sizes apples (e.g. maybe the apples fed to animals?). An answer can’t be a flaw if it didn’t happen.
- This answer describes an argument that contradicts itself. That didn’t happen in the stimulus.
Example of flaw: John won’t take the LSAT, therefore he won’t be stressed, therefore he’ll score well on the LSAT, because stress is bad for LSAT scores.
(John can’t both take and not take the LSAT)
- This describes circular reasoning. This didn’t happen in the argument.
Example of flaw: This apple will be small because apples are small.
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