Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Totally Killer CRs


2. Odysseus answered well when the priests showed him a picture of those who had honored the gods and then escaped shipwreck, and asked him whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods—"Yes," he asked, "but where are those pictured who were drowned after their prayers?" And such is the way of all superstitions; wherein humans, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.

Which one of the following contains the error of reasoning described by the author in the passage?

(A) I have discovered that Friday the 13th really is a day of misfortune. Just this past Friday, the 13th, I locked myself out of the house.
(B) Although Napoleon and Alexander the Great were short, Abraham Lincoln and Charles de Gaulle were tall. So short people seek leadership in order to overcome feelings of inferiority.
(C) Every semester for the past 15 years, an average of 10 percent of Ms. Elliot's history students have dropped her course before the exam. So, it seems likely that we can expect 10 percent to drop out this year.
(D) No reliable observer has ever actually seen a yeti. The strongest evidence seems to be some suspicious tracks. So I think this search for a yeti is probably a wild-goose chase.
(E) I cannot trust my lucky shirt any longer. I wore it to the game today and our team lost.

Ans: We know if A => B and not B => not A (contrapositive).

The logic in the stem -- if A leads to B, then B must lead to A.
If all the people survived have prayed, then praying must be sure to make you survive. This is logically WRONG. In fact, B (praying) may or may not lead to A (survive). It is the same with choice A. Friday the thirteen may or may not leads to unlucky events even if one unlucky event happened on Friday the thirteenth.

2. Press Secretary: Our critics claim that the President ' s recent highway project cancellations demonstrate a vindictive desire to punish legislative districts controlled by opposition parties. They offer as evidence the fact that 90 percent of the projects canceled were in such districts. But all of the canceled projects had been identified as wasteful in a report written by respected nonpartisan auditors. So the President ' s choice was clearly motivated by sound budgetary policy, not partisan politics.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the press secretary ' s argument depends?

A. Canceling highway projects was not the only way for the President to punish legislative districts controlled by opposition parties.
B. The scheduled highway projects identified as wasteful in the report were not mostly projects in districts controlled by the President ' s party.
C. The number of projects canceled was a significant proportion of all the highway projects that were to be undertaken by the government in the near future.
D. The highway projects canceled in districts controlled by the President ' s party were not generally more expensive than the projects canceled in districts controlled by opposition parties.
E. Reports by nonpartisan auditors are not generally regarded by the opposition parties as a source of objective assessments of government projects.


  1. With second question, actually I am not agree with the explanation provided. I did some research and found that correct explanation should be:-

    premise 1: Odysseus answered the priests well when they asked if he and the rest of the crew members were religious and prayed to the gods and therefore escaped the shipwreck.

    counter premise 2: Odysseus asks the priests what about the people who prayed and still drowned.

    The author then cuts in here and fills in the conclusion by saying:

    when an event goes their way, people are moved by prayers and other religious vanities, but if the event doesn't go their way, then its only due to their neglect and nothing else.

    So (A) basically describes another similar version of the conclusion described by the author.


  2. I was confused between A and E. The above explanation seemed really good to me. The fundamental behind contrapositive arguments fits well. I have posted about contrapositive arguments too in my blog. Check that too.