WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

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RhymesLikeDimes
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WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

Postby RhymesLikeDimes » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:57 pm

How the hell does the fact that there are only two actuaries weaken the argument? The argument is that an actuary was likely responsible for the embezzlement. What possible relevance could the number of actuaries have on the argument?

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Jeffort
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Re: WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

Postby Jeffort » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:10 pm

Combined with the other information that the company employs eight accountants, it is relevant to weaken the argument due to mathematical probability. Since there are four times as many accountants as actuaries working for the company, plus the premise presuming that the embezzler worked for the company as either an accountant or an actuary, you have four times as many suspects that could have done it working in the accounting department as you do working as actuaries, thus making it more likely that it was an accountant than an actuary based purely on numerical possibilities. Eight possible suspects in accounting vs. two possible suspects in actuary numerically says the odds are better that the culprit is an accountant (8 tenths chance vs. 2 tenths chance).

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RhymesLikeDimes
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Re: WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

Postby RhymesLikeDimes » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:02 pm

But the problem also wrote off the accountants as unlikely due to certain factors. That fact doesn't change, whether there are 100 actuaries or just one. The conclusion also qualifies itself with "likely", so I still don't accept that the ratio makes any difference. The argument is about the likelihood that certain GROUPS were responsible for the embezzlement. As long as there is at least one actuary to put into that group, the argument is fine.

Trajectory
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Re: WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

Postby Trajectory » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:39 pm

I think that we shouldnt get confused with a possible weaken answer choice completely having to demolish the argument. I dont think C destroys the argument but it does weaken, at least a little, it because of the use of "probably" in the stimulus when the author described the accountants. I think its saying they probably wont make that mistake but theres a small chance, small. So by having 4 times more accountants on there it increases the chance of that mistake happening from the accountants. This would would make it LESS "likely" that an actuary did it thereby weakening it even if its just a little bit. I mean at the end of the day "probably" and "likely" are being played by this answer, IMO. Regardless of other things.

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Jeffort
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Re: WTF? LR Question: PT32 - S1 - Q17

Postby Jeffort » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:36 am

Rhymes,

I understand your frustration, I've had many students express frustration about this answer choice before for the same reasons as you. The answer choice is hard to see as weakening since you are still left with the accountants being unlikely to make the type of error involved in the theft, thus still leaving them unlikely to have committed the theft as the conclusion implies.

However, since there are significantly more accountants than actuaries, a fact not taken into account before, it does make it slightly more likely it could have been an accountant since more of them means more of a chance of having an error prone one, maybe a newer accountant, in order to get around the premise that points away from them with an exception that is left open to possibility. Even if it only makes it, say 5% more likely it was an accountant, thus lessening the chance it was an actuary, it could still be leaving it so overall it is still likely an actuary did it (the conclusion) while also weakening the argument because it did make the likelihood of it being an actuary go down, even if just a little bit that is not enough to make it overall not likely an actuary did it. Say it was a 75% chance an actuary did it and that answer choice (C) lowers it to a 70% chance that an actuary did it, the argument is weakened because of the downward change in probability.

It's a crappy answer choice but squeaks by by weakening just a bare minimum little tiny bit. If this wasn't an except question and they put (C) as the correct AC it would have been a much harder question IMO since (C) only very slightly weakens, has a premise working directly against it, and is not one that jumps off the page at you saying 'pick me!'. This question is better answered by seeing that (D) is clearly irrelevant to the subject matter of the argument (the theft) since it occurred before, and trusting that (C) does weaken even if you don't understand how. It's much easier to clearly and confidently see that (D) is irrelevant than it is to see how and accept that (C) does weaken.




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