June 2007 LSAT, II, #18

For once, a well-reasoned argument. Question 18 in Section 2 of the June 2007 LSAT concludes "it is remarkable that very few researchers find evidence that global warming is unlikely."  Why is this remarkable?  Well, global warming is "widely accepted," and there are hundreds of researchers striving to break through, and nothing attracts recognition more than overthrowing conventional wisdom.  THEREFORE, it's remarkable that the researchers aren't finding anything.  This makes sense.

The question says "The information above provides the most support for which one of the following statements."  The LSAC, in its typically clunky way, calls this type of question "Identifying a Position that is Conclusively Proven by the Information Provided."  That's too much of a mouthful for me, so let's just call this question type "Must Be True."  I'm shocked that we've made it all the way to Question 18 in this section before seeing one of these, because they're extremely common.

This question type can be tricky when you first start studying for the LSAT, because you might be inclined to pass up answer choices that seem “too obvious.” Don't do that! Be open to the possibility that you're actually plenty smart enough to punch this test in the face. On a question of this type, all you're looking for is the one answer that has been proven by the speaker's statements (and nothing more than the speaker's statements--outside information is not allowed.) The correct answer does not have to be the speaker's main point, nor does the speaker's entire statement have to be related to the correct answer. If any part of the speaker's statement proves that an answer choice has to be true, then that's your answer. This question type is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

I can't predict the answer here, because there's no glaring flaw in the logic.  Rather, I just have to check out each answer choice and pick the one that, as conservatively as possible, has been proven by the information provided.  What I mean by "conservative" is that I'm going to avoid any answer choice that is even slightly speculative.  The correct answer is not something that is probably true, or something that I know to be true in real life--it's something that is true according to the facts on the page.

A)  I don't think we were told anything about the behavior of any of the scientists (let alone most scientists) who question global warming.  (All we know is there are a lot of them, and they haven't found much yet.  We have no idea if they're behaving or misbehaving.)  This answer is not supported by the given facts, so it's out.

B)  The "motive" that we were given is that 1) global warming is widely accepted and 2)  overturning the conventional wisdom leads to recognition.  I'm not 100% sure that "most researchers in climatology" have this motive, however.  I'd like this answer better if it said "some" instead of "most," because that's a much lower standard to prove.  Still, I can pick B if the rest of the answers suck.

C)  What?  No.  We know nothing about the evidence for global warming.  All we know is that there isn't much compelling evidence against it.

D)  Uh, I don't think so.  We were told that "very few researchers" have found evidence against global warming.  That doesn't mean there is zero evidence, and it certainly doesn't mean that there aren't any competing theories out there.

E)  We're told that recognition is one motive, but we're not told that it's the primary motive.  Other motives could be money, or altruism, or plain old nerdy love of learning.  The word "primary" disqualifies this answer choice instantly.  I didn't love B, but it's the least speculative of the answer choices.  So our answer is B.