PT 14 S2 #25 What's the flaw???

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PT 14 S2 #25 What's the flaw???

Postby beautyhide » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:40 pm

Although I have a pretty decent grasp of the LR section, this question came along yesterday
and totally confused me....can someone help me point out the flaw in this argument?

25. A letter submitted to the editor of a national newsmagazine was written and signed
by a Dr. Shirley Martin who, in the text of the letter, mentions being a professor at a major
North American medical school. Knowing that fewer than 5 percent of the professors at such
schools are women, the editor reasons that the chances are better than 19 to 1 that the
letter was written by a man.

This was a parallel reasoning question, and the correct answer was:

"Since more than 19 out of every 20 animals in the wildlife preserve are mammals and
fewer than 1 out of 20 are birds, there is a greater than 95 percent chance that the
animal Emily saw flying between two trees in the wildlife refuge yesterday morning
was a mammal."
Is the first argument flawed because the name of the professor (Dr. Shirley Martin) a reasonable
indicator of the professor's sex? (In this case the fact that the animal "flew" between the two
trees would be a decent indicator of it being a bird instead of a mammal, since more birds
can fly than mammals can)

Is this right or what?

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Re: PT 14 S2 #25 What's the flaw???

Postby Blindc1rca » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:50 pm

you nailed it. the psychomets are assuming that if a person has a good enough grasp of English to take the LSAT, they should know that Shirley is overwhelmingly a female name, just like flying is overwhelmingly a non-mammal attribute.

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