QUESTION TEXT: A large survey of scientists found that…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Most of the scientists think the Minsk Hypothesis is wrong.
REASONING: Almost all of the scientists think Wang’s Law is true, and also all of them know the results of the Brown-Eisler experiment. Wang + Brown-Eisler show that Minsk hypothesis is wrong.
ANALYSIS: This argument mixes up two things. There’s knowing something, and there’s knowing what your belief implies.
For instance, someone may know that wearing unfashionable clothing makes them look silly. And, that same person may know that they are wearing sandals and socks.
But, that person may not be aware that wearing sandals and socks is generally considered unfashionable. So, even though they know two relevant facts which can be combined together, this unfashionable person may not realize that this is the case. Likewise, the scientists may not realize that their combined beliefs mean that the Minsk hypothesis is wrong.
- CORRECT. If this isn’t true, then why would the scientists reject the Minsk hypothesis?
Negation: The scientists didn’t realize that Wang + Brown-Eisler means the Minsk hypothesis is wrong.
- “Almost all” is a large number, perhaps 95%. So, this answer is saying “95% of scientists accept Wang’s law, and those exact same 95% know the result of Brown Eisler”
That doesn’t matter. The conclusion only said that “most” scientists reject the Minsk hypothesis. If you combine two groups of 95%, you are going to have large overlap of beliefs. Imagine if 95% of your friends liked the Simpsons and 95% liked Seinfeld. You’d expect most of your friends would like both, right?
It’s very rare a question would require an exact overlap between two “almost all” groups.
- It doesn’t matter how the results were obtained. It only matters whether the scientists know about them.
- This doesn’t matter. The conclusion was only about what the scientists in the survey believed. It’s not about the whole field.
- This seems relevant, but it isn’t. The survey is about what scientists believe. Their beliefs may not necessarily be accurate.
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