QUESTION TEXT: The current sharp decline in commercial…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Inbreeding is probably the real underling cause of the decline in bees populations.
REASONING: There has been more inbreeding, and bees now lack genetic diversity. In the short run, bees face threats from bacteria, viruses, pesticides and mites.
ANALYSIS: This may sound like a good argument already. If so, that’s because you’re making an outside assumption: genetic diversity is good. And this is a fairly valid assumption: we know inbreeding leads to birth defects and other problems.
But….can lack of genetic diversity cause massive population declines? That we don’t know. This is the missing assumption.
- This doesn’t say that inbreeding can cause massive population declines. We also don’t know whether wild honeybees have also been declining.
- This tells us that if inbreeding is a problem, it will be hard to fix. But we’re trying to prove that it’s a problem.
- This tells us that if lack of genetic diversity is a problem, then it’s getting worse. But we’re trying to prove that lack of genetic diversity is the cause.
- This weakens the argument, by showing that the mites and viruses could have destroyed even a diverse bee population.
- CORRECT. Without this, we have no reason to expect that loss of genetic diversity will lead to population declines.
Negation: Bees without genetic diversity are as resistant to adversity as genetically diverse bees are.
Note: You might have avoided picking this because it said “adverse conditions” instead of “viruses, bacteria, pesticides and mites”. But those are certainly adverse conditions!
Term switches aren’t a problem. It’s switches in concepts you have to watch out for.
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