LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

bp shinners
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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:47 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Your first part is irrelevant because this questions isn't about flaws in reason but parallel reasoning and the answer doesn't require the same assumption that the person is giving all evidence. That right there makes it unparallel.


His first part was dealing with my contention that the argument in the stimulus is flawed, a view that I still hold. Though I agree with this statement, and it's a line of reasoning I hadn't thought of.

It's a shitty question that could be easily fixed by adding "only."


Yep.

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guano
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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby guano » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:57 pm

bp shinners wrote:
WilliamDeWrites wrote:For BP Shinners:

In response to your first point, I don't think it is so important that it is a journalist in particular, just that it be someone unlikely to be ignoring germane evidence.


Ignoring the other points (because DF hit some of them the same way I would, and others are things on which we just inherently disagree), which people are unlikely to ignore germane evidence, and why are journalists a part of this group? I'm not saying that I disagree with it the case of journalists (though I do). But without knowing whose view I can trust and whose view I can't, each time a question is framed in this way, I have a dilemma. Can I trust the city councilperson? The concerned citizen? The Mayor? Zach? People are going to disagree over groups that are trustworthy, and so it makes these questions rely on you having a viewpoint that aligns with that of the LSAC, not a viewpoint that aligns with logic.

You're overthinking it

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby magickware » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:17 pm

guano wrote:So, you're basically creating an issue where there isn't one
Got it


We are meant to take that the first sentence of the premise states facts. The union members WILL strike. We are then meant to compare this to the first sentence of the answer. Lopez WILL run in the marathon. Both of these establish the facts that effectively set the rest into motion.

I think this is rather nit-picky stuff, but it is a valid point (and for prospective lawyers nit-picky stuff is good, no?). Because the first sentence of the journalist's statement can be disputed. "Planning to" is not the same thing as "Will". For people who work on parallel reasoning with a rock-solid ideology that everything will match more or less perfectly (which, incidentally, is their entire point and as such what you should be looking for...) will probably get confused by this.

Then there's the issue that the entire passage is ... iffy. Previous parallel reasoning questions were "tight", in that they didn't rely on assumptions. At least, I don't remember ever seeing a parallel reasoning question that relied on assumptions. But I may have forgotten.

On the other hand, there are occasional parallel flaw questions that rely on incorrect assumptions. This looks like one of them. This is a parallel reasoning question only because it says its a parallel reasoning question, and because the answer choice itself is solid.

But make the answer choice more like the stimulus and you got yourself a parallel flaw.


Anyways, I just wanted to say you're wrong.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby LMD » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:38 pm

Union members will strike on Thursday absent a change in circumstances.

Shooting all the workers will prevent the strike but only if there are other workers who can fill in.

Since we know from experience that there are few available workers in this area, it is unlikely the strike will be prevented.

Pretty terrible argument. What about arbitration? Government interference? Threats? Co-opting union leadership, or changes in leadership brought about by internal dissent?

They need to establish that only arbitration (here, shooting theworkers) is likely to stop a strike and they do not do that.

The journalist thing from LSAC is a red herring and misses the point.

Guano's contribution in this thread is awful. Blind authoritarianism and lack of reading comprehension. Plus a verifiably inaccurate statement about thinking inside the box. Considering aliens will get you to a lot of correct LR answers.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby hockeymonster » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:53 pm

This has no bearing on the validity of the question, but I would have to say that ALL of the other answer choices weren't even close to following the pattern of reasoning. When in doubt, use POE.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:38 am

bp shinners wrote:
WilliamDeWrites wrote:For BP Shinners:

In response to your first point, I don't think it is so important that it is a journalist in particular, just that it be someone unlikely to be ignoring germane evidence.


Ignoring the other points (because DF hit some of them the same way I would, and others are things on which we just inherently disagree), which people are unlikely to ignore germane evidence, and why are journalists a part of this group? I'm not saying that I disagree with it the case of journalists (though I do). But without knowing whose view I can trust and whose view I can't, each time a question is framed in this way, I have a dilemma. Can I trust the city councilperson? The concerned citizen? The Mayor? Zach? People are going to disagree over groups that are trustworthy, and so it makes these questions rely on you having a viewpoint that aligns with that of the LSAC, not a viewpoint that aligns with logic.


This is my biggest concern. I personally have a very low threshold of trust for journalists, unless I'm familiar with their work and have evidence they will report the full picture.

It's a common joke in most academic fields that the press will mangle any stories that cover their subject matter.

Not saying this is the correct view of journalists, but I don't think it's a given that all people trust journalists. The LSAC appears to be referring to an ideal of journalists. Specifically, an American ideal of journalists, circa 1945-1990.

I once worked for an archives in Canada, repairing old newspapers. For most of 1921-1948 in Canada, we had the same, Liberal prime minister, William Lyon MacKenzie King.

I was repairing a conservative newspaper. From 1921-1939 (until the war), they did not mention the Prime Minister once in their reporting. They would instead discuss the plans of the opposition leader, or sometimes refer to specific government ministers. It was like they thought mentioning him would make him stick around longer.

This was pretty typical at the time, from what I gathered. The newspaper wasn't unhinged in its covereage, just different from what we would expect.

""Journalism" in the sense the LSAC describes it is a post-war phenomenon, and pretty specific to America, actually.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:41 am

hockeymonster wrote:This has no bearing on the validity of the question, but I would have to say that ALL of the other answer choices weren't even close to following the pattern of reasoning. When in doubt, use POE.


Yeah, I don't think this question is actually that difficult to answer. It was only when trying to explain it to a student that I noticed the subtleties we're discussing. This question is interesting for what it says about the LSAT, but on a practical level it's not that problematic.

However, there might be a harder, subtle question where choosing the right answer depends on making this kind of assumption, and it could throw people.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby WilliamDeWrites » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:13 am

I think everyone is too hung up about trusting journalists. I still maintain the reason the journalist's argument is not flawed is because (1) a reason is given why a strike is likely beyond the fact that arbitration is unlikely (strike is planned, need to avert). If a strike is likely, that is not undermined by the mere possibility that a strike might be averted in another way. It is perfectly consistent with a strike being likely for there to be possible ways to avert it. (Thus, this is not an example that would fit a "fails to consider flaw", as some said.) This is not a deductive argument. What the argument does is show that arbitration, which would be sufficient to avert the strike, would not occur. Thus, the previously established likelihood of the strike still holds. For it not to hold one would have to have good reason to think that one of these other conditions that could avert the strike is not merely possible, it is likely. This is just a fact about likelihood arguments. It seems to me that the real point about the journalist and the "principle of charity" is not to establish that journalists are inherently trustworthy, but to point out that there is no good reason to think that any other way of averting the strike is likely. Nothing is explicitly stated and you have no reason from the context (argument by journalist) to think that. So, the likelihood of a strike is a reasonable inference. Of course, as LSAC mentions, it isn't a deductive inference. The argument is about likelihood, not truth or certainty. But it sure seem to me, by ordinary standards, a reasonable one--at least reasonable enough that it isn't flawed in any significant way. If I read that argument in the paper I wouldn't leap up and say "Aha, an LSAT flaw!" As with all nondeductive arguments, you can present further evidence against the conclusion, but that doesn't make the argument flawed.

So I still think that all the kerfluffle here is because we're trying to see this as a simple deductive argument pattern when, as LSAC points out, it is not. And as everyone else is also pointing out, it's not hard to see or defend the right answer. It's just that the original argument isn't a '"logic textbook" type.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:47 pm

WilliamDeWrites wrote:This is just a fact about likelihood arguments. It seems to me that the real point about the journalist and the "principle of charity" is not to establish that journalists are inherently trustworthy, but to point out that there is no good reason to think that any other way of averting the strike is likely.


And that's my problem. I find it troubling that the journalist and the principle of charity are being used to establish a fact that's not in evidence.

What if the journalist had said, "The union is planning to go on strike. A meteor strike would avert the strike, but only if the meteor hits North America. However, based on past experience, this meteor strike is quite unlikely. Therefore, the strike is likely." If the journalist mentioned something outlandish like that, I don't think people would be arguing that he had hit the only way to resolve the strike, or even the most likely way to avert the strike (though if you think this argument is valid, then we're just going to have to disagree on this one). So it has to be something more than just what is written on the page that's validating the conclusion, and that's an issue for me.

If, on the other hand, you accept the assumption that a journalist will mention all likely ways to avert the strike, or solely mention the most likely way to resolve the strike, then yes, I agree the argument is valid. But it's definitely an assumption, and if the LSAT is going to start using tricks like that, I'd like to know so I can teach it to my students.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby WilliamDeWrites » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:15 pm

I guess I understand your concern, and this one would be hard to teach merely using the standard technique of negating the consequent, although that is the crux of the similarity. But it is a good example of why we should pay close attention to the language.

Also, what we are asked to presume is not a positive fact, but that there is no information readily available that something that would counter the argument is likely. And that's a presumption we often have to make in inductive and nondeductive arguments, or else we would be doomed to be sceptics. It's the "all things being equal" presumption.

Your example made me think of another example that shows that the journalist's argument is not really flawed.

Scientist: Each day the sun rises and we plan our days expecting that the world will continue as we know it. If a major comet crashed into the earth, the world would change dramatically and no longer continue as we know it. But astronomers reassure us that there is no comet near us that is likely to crash into the earth and none that we know of appear on a track to do so. So, it is likely that in the foreseeable future the sun will continue to rise and the world as we know it will continue each day. (Maybe I should offer that as a potential key?)

I think this is a valid argument that mirrors the journalist's argument and I think it is more intuitive. It offers (obliquely) nondeductive evidence that the sun will continue to rise and the world as we know it will continue. It rules out a sufficient condition for this not happening and concludes that it is (still) likely that the world will continue as we know it. Of course there are other possibilities that would be sufficient to destroy the world as we know it--massive earthquakes and tsumanis, huge volcanic eruptions, a nuclear holocost, encountering a black hole, etc. But we have no evidence that these are likely, and have some reason to think that, had the scientist thought them likely, being a scientist she would have mentioned it. So, while these "sufficient conditions" are possible, they do not undermine the reassuring evidence provided by our experience that it is less than likely that the world as we know it will continue in the foreseeable future. Of course we all "know" (or think we do) that tomorrow the world will continue as we know it. But our belief is based on certain evidence and commonsense assumptions. It is less intuitive that a strike is likely, and journalists are perhaps less well-regarded than scientists (but what about the leaks surveillance?), but the same kind of reasoning is going on.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby WilliamDeWrites » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:51 pm

Sorry about the typo: "less than likely" at the end should be "likely". Fingers moved faster than mind.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:06 pm

WilliamDeWrites wrote:Scientist: Each day the sun rises and we plan our days expecting that the world will continue as we know it. If a major comet crashed into the earth, the world would change dramatically and no longer continue as we know it. But astronomers reassure us that there is no comet near us that is likely to crash into the earth and none that we know of appear on a track to do so. So, it is likely that in the foreseeable future the sun will continue to rise and the world as we know it will continue each day. (Maybe I should offer that as a potential key?)

I think this is a valid argument that mirrors the journalist's argument and I think it is more intuitive.


I disagree - I think it's likely a true argument, but I don't think it's valid. Again, for the same reasons - I don't know the likelihood of something else happening that would change the world as we know it. Nuclear war, political revolution, massive flu/plague - all of these things are possibilities that would have a similar impact as the comet crash. Without knowing that the comet crash is the only, or the only likely, means through which the sun would stop rising and the world as we know it ending, I am not guaranteed that the status quo will likely continue into the foreseeable future because maybe one of these other things is likely. I have no support that they're likely, but I have the possibility that they're likely. And that possibility is all I need to render the argument invalid.

And that's my issue here - that we're not guaranteed the outcome is likely. There's some support for it being likely, but I'm not guaranteed that it's likely. And that's really what the LSAT is about for their arguments, for the most part. The one exception would be Soft Must Be True questions ("most strongly supported"); if we're moving Parallel questions in that direction, it's important to note that.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby guano » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:56 pm

Graeme (Hacking the LSAT) wrote:
hockeymonster wrote:This has no bearing on the validity of the question, but I would have to say that ALL of the other answer choices weren't even close to following the pattern of reasoning. When in doubt, use POE.


Yeah, I don't think this question is actually that difficult to answer. It was only when trying to explain it to a student that I noticed the subtleties we're discussing. This question is interesting for what it says about the LSAT, but on a practical level it's not that problematic.

However, there might be a harder, subtle question where choosing the right answer depends on making this kind of assumption, and it could throw people.

And this is why your entire argument is the result of over thinking things. The question asked which answer's logic is most similar. The correct answer is pretty darn close.

Edit: this thread has basically been focussing on a rather insignificant nitpicky little difference, whereas the question requires focussing on the similarities. It's not asking for a 100% match, it's asking for the answer that is closest

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby LMD » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:09 pm

guano wrote:
Graeme (Hacking the LSAT) wrote:
hockeymonster wrote:This has no bearing on the validity of the question, but I would have to say that ALL of the other answer choices weren't even close to following the pattern of reasoning. When in doubt, use POE.


Yeah, I don't think this question is actually that difficult to answer. It was only when trying to explain it to a student that I noticed the subtleties we're discussing. This question is interesting for what it says about the LSAT, but on a practical level it's not that problematic.

However, there might be a harder, subtle question where choosing the right answer depends on making this kind of assumption, and it could throw people.

And this is why your entire argument is the result of over thinking things. The question asked which answer's logic is most similar. The correct answer is pretty darn close.

Edit: this thread has basically been focussing on a rather insignificant nitpicky little difference, whereas the question requires focussing on the similarities. It's not asking for a 100% match, it's asking for the answer that is closest


I am not appalled by the question. It is different than anything we've seen before in a parallel reasoning question, but I agree with you that the answer is still obvious and given the "most similar" criterion in the stem, one cannot really argue with the answer to this question. That in itself does not make the arguments parallel.

This looks like an error by the LSAC as they have never done something like this before and allowed it to stand. If they had said, yes, we see your concern, but the other choices were horrible, so this is still the correct answer, so be it. That would be a tacit admission that they were sloppy but not sloppy enough to invalidate the question.

However, that's not what they did. The letter they sent in response is poor, imo. The reasoning in the stimulus is not valid and their case for making it so is suspect. In a nutshell, their case is that the word "only" is implied because a journalist was talking. Really? That's a pretty gutless way to respond when a question is demonstrated to be poor.

The LSAC is really good at what they do. You don't see these kinds of threads every day, especially with the high-powered LSAT minds participating here. Of course we're nitpicking, but the LSAT is a nitpicking test. When I'm talking to people in real life, I can mix up sufficient and necessary in ways where everybody knows what I mean. But I can't do that on the test, and there's a reason for that. This is sloppy work and the LSAC should own up to it. They could respond by acknowledging that this question is not great but that the legitimate criticism is not enough to invalidate the answer and everyone would be happy.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby magickware » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:41 am

guano wrote:And this is why your entire argument is the result of over thinking things. The question asked which answer's logic is most similar. The correct answer is pretty darn close.

Edit: this thread has basically been focussing on a rather insignificant nitpicky little difference, whereas the question requires focussing on the similarities. It's not asking for a 100% match, it's asking for the answer that is closest


Everyone agrees that this is the closest match. That you're incapable of understanding what we're nitpicking about, or dismissing it as a non-issue however, is bad. Keep in mind that you are on a forum dedicated to people who want the best possible score on a test that is entirely about logic. It is bad form to not be critical...

And realize that parallel reasoning questions must be exact. Pretty darn close doesn't cut it. That is the entire point of this question type. Write down the logic shown in every parallel reasoning you've seen. They will match perfectly. And they will have to make sense logically; otherwise it would be a parallel flaw because the stimulus itself is flawed.

Anyways, what you are ignoring is that parallel support questions were always definite. They were never ambiguous; otherwise it would probably be a parallel flaw question. This one is. That is a big deal. It could mean that LSAC has changed the way they choose to write parallel reasoning, or that this is just a poor parallel reasoning question. Folks like BP Shinners are focusing on this because he's in the business of teaching the LSAT, and any potential new information about LSAC and their approach to the test is relevant to him.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:27 am

magickware wrote:Anyways, what you are ignoring is that parallel support questions were always definite. They were never ambiguous; otherwise it would probably be a parallel flaw question.


I agree with everything you said except this. They sometimes (though not usually) put a flaw in a Parallel question. That doesn't change it to a Parallel Flaw question - it just means that your Parallel question must have an answer choice with a flaw ON TOP OF all the other logical elements matching. If it was a Parallel Flaw question, the other elements don't need to match unless they directly impact upon which flaw is being committed.
Last edited by bp shinners on Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby Reframe » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:45 am

bp shinners wrote:
magickware wrote:Anyways, what you are ignoring is that parallel support questions were always definite. They were never ambiguous; otherwise it would probably be a parallel flaw question.


I agree with everything you said except this. They often (though not usually) put a flaw in a Parallel question. That doesn't change it to a Parallel Flaw question - it just means that your Parallel question must have an answer choice with a flaw ON TOP OF all the other logical elements matching. If it was a Parallel Flaw question, the other elements don't need to match unless they directly impact upon which flaw is being committed.


Can you point to any other examples of this? I don't think I've ever seen this happen, to be honest.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby magickware » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:51 am

Huh.

I don't recall seeing that either. Could be because I'm just worried about seeing the similarities, but I was under the impression that parallel reasoning are supposed to be logically correct? I mean, what difference would there be between a parallel reasoning question that is logically flawed and a parallel flaw question? Both questions ask you to find similarities between the stimulus and the answer, but the parallel reasoning one has correct logic while the flaw one doesn't.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:49 pm

magickware wrote:Huh.

I don't recall seeing that either. Could be because I'm just worried about seeing the similarities, but I was under the impression that parallel reasoning are supposed to be logically correct? I mean, what difference would there be between a parallel reasoning question that is logically flawed and a parallel flaw question? Both questions ask you to find similarities between the stimulus and the answer, but the parallel reasoning one has correct logic while the flaw one doesn't.


I'll take a look through my books later and post an example. Though I'd argue that the question at issue here is a great example ;-)

The difference is in what they're asking you to do. A Parallel question with a flaw has to mirror the original argument in all ways, including in how it's flawed (though it would be difficult to do the latter without the former; it's more useful to note because you can throw out any argument that you read and know is valid). A Parallel Flaw question can differ in the elements involved in the reasoning as long as they use the same flaw. A good example of this is a conditional argument that contains a conjunction. A Parallel question needs that conjunction; a Parallel Flaw question only needs it if the conjunction plays a role in the flaw.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby Reframe » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:00 pm

bp shinners wrote:
magickware wrote:Huh.

I don't recall seeing that either. Could be because I'm just worried about seeing the similarities, but I was under the impression that parallel reasoning are supposed to be logically correct? I mean, what difference would there be between a parallel reasoning question that is logically flawed and a parallel flaw question? Both questions ask you to find similarities between the stimulus and the answer, but the parallel reasoning one has correct logic while the flaw one doesn't.


I'll take a look through my books later and post an example. Though I'd argue that the question at issue here is a great example ;-)

The difference is in what they're asking you to do. A Parallel question with a flaw has to mirror the original argument in all ways, including in how it's flawed (though it would be difficult to do the latter without the former; it's more useful to note because you can throw out any argument that you read and know is valid). A Parallel Flaw question can differ in the elements involved in the reasoning as long as they use the same flaw. A good example of this is a conditional argument that contains a conjunction. A Parallel question needs that conjunction; a Parallel Flaw question only needs it if the conjunction plays a role in the flaw.


I'm eager to see the examples - my guess is we'll disagree about those as well.

It's true that looking for the same flaw is a good method for answering parallel flaw questions. But I'm not sure that in practice you frequently see parallel flaw questions with things like conjunctions missing. I'd be eager to see examples of those too.

It's important to note that both question types are what you earlier called "soft" - they're both asking for the most similarity.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:34 am

Reframe wrote:I'm eager to see the examples - my guess is we'll disagree about those as well.


I'll get to it eventually :) Like I said, not really common, so I'll have to dig a bit. But they do exist.

It's true that looking for the same flaw is a good method for answering parallel flaw questions. But I'm not sure that in practice you frequently see parallel flaw questions with things like conjunctions missing. I'd be eager to see examples of those too.


PT 47, Oct. 2005, Sec. 1, #21. (I teach this one for the reason, so I had the cite handy.)

It's important to note these because students often want to throw answer choices out in Parallel Flaw questions because the reasoning is slightly different. However, the flaw is exactly the same, and that's what's important.

It's important to note that both question types are what you earlier called "soft" - they're both asking for the most similarity.


Thing is, the LSAT hasn't really treated them as "soft". The Parallel/Parallel Flaw questions have been pretty air-tight, no matter what they're actually asking for. I'm not arguing that the question doesn't literally say we're looking for the "most similar" answer choice. I'm arguing that, in practice, the correct answer has followed the same reasoning.

Same principle of the instructions for each section - they ask you to find the answer that best addresses the prompt. The phrasing makes it seem like there might be 2 correct answers, but one is more right. Literally, the instructions leave open the room for two correct answers. In practice, there's always only one.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby Reframe » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:12 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Reframe wrote:I'm eager to see the examples - my guess is we'll disagree about those as well.


I'll get to it eventually :) Like I said, not really common, so I'll have to dig a bit. But they do exist.

It's true that looking for the same flaw is a good method for answering parallel flaw questions. But I'm not sure that in practice you frequently see parallel flaw questions with things like conjunctions missing. I'd be eager to see examples of those too.


PT 47, Oct. 2005, Sec. 1, #21. (I teach this one for the reason, so I had the cite handy.)

It's important to note these because students often want to throw answer choices out in Parallel Flaw questions because the reasoning is slightly different. However, the flaw is exactly the same, and that's what's important.

It's important to note that both question types are what you earlier called "soft" - they're both asking for the most similarity.


Thing is, the LSAT hasn't really treated them as "soft". The Parallel/Parallel Flaw questions have been pretty air-tight, no matter what they're actually asking for. I'm not arguing that the question doesn't literally say we're looking for the "most similar" answer choice. I'm arguing that, in practice, the correct answer has followed the same reasoning.

Same principle of the instructions for each section - they ask you to find the answer that best addresses the prompt. The phrasing makes it seem like there might be 2 correct answers, but one is more right. Literally, the instructions leave open the room for two correct answers. In practice, there's always only one.


There's a little bit open to interpretation in terms of how you might formalize PT47.1#21, but I see what you're getting at. Still interested to see a flawed "pure parallel" prompt.

The question of "softness" isn't a question of whether there's more than one right answer; there never is - it's a question of whether (a) the answer meets some kind of criterion in a complete, 100% kind of way, like a sufficient assumption question, or (b) the answer meets some kind of criterion only to a certain extent, like a strengthen question or a weaken question. To put it less confusingly: The issue isn't whether there are other right answers among the choices given, but whether, in principle, an answer choice could be more right than the correct answer of the choices given. You can't be more right than the credited must be true response; you can't be more right than the credited sufficient assumption response; but you can be more right than the credited response for strengthen, weaken, and, I think, parallel and parallel-flaw questions - like this one, and arguably like the one in the OP.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:26 pm

Reframe wrote:The question of "softness" isn't a question of whether there's more than one right answer; there never is.


Didn't say there was :) I said it's the same principle in that, sometimes, the LSAT says stuff that it doesn't mean, or at least it could say in a more precise manner.

And I agree with everything you said except for your classification of Parallel and Parallel Flaw questions - the correct answer choices match up with the structure/flaw in question, and any other answer choice that would be correct would, at most, be as correct as the credited response.

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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:42 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Reframe wrote:The question of "softness" isn't a question of whether there's more than one right answer; there never is.


Didn't say there was :) I said it's the same principle in that, sometimes, the LSAT says stuff that it doesn't mean, or at least it could say in a more precise manner.

And I agree with everything you said except for your classification of Parallel and Parallel Flaw questions - the correct answer choices match up with the structure/flaw in question, and any other answer choice that would be correct would, at most, be as correct as the credited response.


Thinking about it more, I'm not sure I fully agree with you for Strengthen and Weaken questions either, and thinking about that while walking my dog has led me to, what I believe, is the most problematic issue with this question.

For a Strengthen/Weaken question, when I come to an answer that strengthens or weakens the argument, I know none of the other answer choices are going to do so. Sure, there might be a possible answer choice that strengthens the argument in the stimulus more, but I can say, with 100% certainty, that it won't be an option. Because then there would be two answers that strengthen the argument, and the LSAT hasn't asked you to make that call. I can deal with each answer choice on its own terms; I don't have to compare it to others to get my correct answer.

Same with traditional Parallel and Parallel Flaw questions - I could read an answer choice and either eliminate it or circle it on its own terms. I didn't have to read the others, because each answer was either Parallel to the argument, or it featured the same flaw, and was correct; or it didn't, and was incorrect. There was no need to look at multiple answers to see which one was closer.

This question is the flipside of that - I don't have 2 answers that I'm deciding between. I have 0 answers that I'm deciding between, because I would have eliminated the correct answer here because even the LSAC admits it isn't completely parallel. That's never happened before. So now, this question is no longer asking me to positively identify something that is parallel, but rather it's asking me to look at each answer choice and find the one that is the least non-parallel. I can't deal with each AC on its own terms because, in doing so, I don't get the correct answer here.

That's, I think, my issue with this question.

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Micdiddy
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Re: LSAC responded to my claim that a question was flawed.

Postby Micdiddy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:50 pm

bp shinners wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
Reframe wrote:The question of "softness" isn't a question of whether there's more than one right answer; there never is.


Didn't say there was :) I said it's the same principle in that, sometimes, the LSAT says stuff that it doesn't mean, or at least it could say in a more precise manner.

And I agree with everything you said except for your classification of Parallel and Parallel Flaw questions - the correct answer choices match up with the structure/flaw in question, and any other answer choice that would be correct would, at most, be as correct as the credited response.


Thinking about it more, I'm not sure I fully agree with you for Strengthen and Weaken questions either, and thinking about that while walking my dog has led me to, what I believe, is the most problematic issue with this question.

For a Strengthen/Weaken question, when I come to an answer that strengthens or weakens the argument, I know none of the other answer choices are going to do so. Sure, there might be a possible answer choice that strengthens the argument in the stimulus more, but I can say, with 100% certainty, that it won't be an option. Because then there would be two answers that strengthen the argument, and the LSAT hasn't asked you to make that call. I can deal with each answer choice on its own terms; I don't have to compare it to others to get my correct answer.

Same with traditional Parallel and Parallel Flaw questions - I could read an answer choice and either eliminate it or circle it on its own terms. I didn't have to read the others, because each answer was either Parallel to the argument, or it featured the same flaw, and was correct; or it didn't, and was incorrect. There was no need to look at multiple answers to see which one was closer.

This question is the flipside of that - I don't have 2 answers that I'm deciding between. I have 0 answers that I'm deciding between, because I would have eliminated the correct answer here because even the LSAC admits it isn't completely parallel. That's never happened before. So now, this question is no longer asking me to positively identify something that is parallel, but rather it's asking me to look at each answer choice and find the one that is the least non-parallel. I can't deal with each AC on its own terms because, in doing so, I don't get the correct answer here.

That's, I think, my issue with this question.


I like this analysis.




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