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Author Topic: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00  (Read 1034 times)

big east boy

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pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« on: August 14, 2008, 10:26:47 PM »
expert witness:
ten times, and in controlled circumstances, a single drop of the defendants blood was allowed to fall onto the fabric. And  in all ten cases the stained area was much less than the expected 9.5cm.  In fact the stained area was always between 4.5 adn 4.8 cm.  I conclude that a single drop of the defendants blood stains much less than 9.5cm of the fabric.

Which one of the following, if true, most undermines the value of the evidence for the expert witness's conclusion?

C: In an eleventh test drop of the defendants blood, the area stained was also less than 9.5cm-this time staining 9.3cm

B: Expert witnesses have sometimes been known to fudge their data to accord with the prosecution's case.

Since B is wrong I believe that it is do to its use of "sometimes", which would not necesarily indicate this witness.  However, C doesn't really appear to undermine the conclusion either.  All it states is that the blood stained more, which is great, but still doesn't change the fact that the conclusion is about staining much less than 9.5.  Although 9.3 is certianly more than 4.8cm it could still be considered "much less" with the definition of "much less" being undefined.

My apologies if my logic isn't clear, anyways, anyone got any ideas?

blueskies6

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 10:41:37 PM »
tag...I had the same problem with this one too!  Sorry I can't help, but I'd like to know the reasoning as well
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Lindbergh

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 11:52:36 PM »
expert witness:
ten times, and in controlled circumstances, a single drop of the defendants blood was allowed to fall onto the fabric. And  in all ten cases the stained area was much less than the expected 9.5cm.  In fact the stained area was always between 4.5 adn 4.8 cm.  I conclude that a single drop of the defendants blood stains much less than 9.5cm of the fabric.

Which one of the following, if true, most undermines the value of the evidence for the expert witness's conclusion?

C: In an eleventh test drop of the defendants blood, the area stained was also less than 9.5cm-this time staining 9.3cm

B: Expert witnesses have sometimes been known to fudge their data to accord with the prosecution's case.

Since B is wrong I believe that it is do to its use of "sometimes", which would not necesarily indicate this witness.  However, C doesn't really appear to undermine the conclusion either.  All it states is that the blood stained more, which is great, but still doesn't change the fact that the conclusion is about staining much less than 9.5.  Although 9.3 is certianly more than 4.8cm it could still be considered "much less" with the definition of "much less" being undefined.

My apologies if my logic isn't clear, anyways, anyone got any ideas?

B is wrong because

1)"Sometimes" may only be like 1% of the time.  No way to know if it's occuring here.

2) Even more importantly, we don't even know if the smaller staining diameter helps or hurts the prosecution's case.  It may hurt it.  So there's no evidence whatsoever that the staining discrepancy was rigged, even if some tests are.

C is the best answer because under any reasonable definition, .02 centimeters is not "much less", especially since the "much less" is concluded based on a difference of 4 full centimeters. 

One could quibble about the definition of "much less", but the weakness in choice B is far more glaring, and we're just looking for what MOST weakens the argument, not what conclusively destroys it.  The idea that the half-size stains prove the defendant's blood always stains "much less" becomes significantly less supported once we see his blood staining almost a full-size stain.


curseofthebambino

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2008, 02:03:14 AM »
you both missed B in relation to the stimulus.

the expert witness supports the defendant's case (the blood stained much less than the expected amount).

B says expert witnesses fudge for the prosecution. this isn't an issue. the evidence presented doesn't further the prosecution's case. this is an opposite answer.

Lindbergh

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2008, 02:40:01 AM »
you both missed B in relation to the stimulus.

the expert witness supports the defendant's case (the blood stained much less than the expected amount).


How do you know this supports the defendant's case?  It's ambiguous, as noted, which is one reason why it's not a good weakener.  But I'm not sure how we can conclusively interpret it one way or another.

ssilver0210

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2008, 01:29:29 PM »
I agree with the fact that 9.3cm isn't as clearly "much less" than 9.5cm.

An alternative explanation for why choice C most weakens the conclusion might be that the conclusion states that the defendant's blood stains much less than 9.5 cm, and that conclusion is based solely on the evidence that in the first ten attempts, the blood stained only 4.8 cm.  If in the eleventh attempt, the blood stain jumped up to 9.5cm, that calls into question whether the first ten attempts provided for an accurate indication of the higher limits of the stain the defendant's blood could have caused.  In other words, that eleventh attempt calls into question the only evidence used to support the conclusion, and therefore calls into question the conclusion as well.
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ssilver0210

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 02:04:40 PM »
Correction: Stain jumped up to 9.3, not 9.5.

Sorry.  :-\
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big east boy

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 02:40:28 PM »
Thanks to all for the insight.  It seems that here choice C is right because none of the others are any good.  I still have a problem with the idea that something that is still less (like the 11th blood stain) is considered to weaken the arg.  I feel that in a test built around precise language, a better/less questionable answer choice should have been supplied.  Nothing I can do about it though; just venting.  Thanks again for the help.

Lindbergh

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 08:29:20 PM »
I agree with the fact that 9.3cm isn't as clearly "much less" than 9.5cm.

I think you mean "idea", not "fact."  By any reasonable standard defintion, 9.3 cm is not "much less" than 9.5 cm.  So this is in fact one of the reasons choice C is a good weakener.


An alternative explanation for why choice C most weakens the conclusion might be that the conclusion states that the defendant's blood stains much less than 9.5 cm, and that conclusion is based solely on the evidence that in the first ten attempts, the blood stained only 4.8 cm.  If in the eleventh attempt, the blood stain jumped up to 9.5cm, that calls into question whether the first ten attempts provided for an accurate indication of the higher limits of the stain the defendant's blood could have caused.  In other words, that eleventh attempt calls into question the only evidence used to support the conclusion, and therefore calls into question the conclusion as well.

This is another reason why C is a good weakener.  It's also always a good idea to look precisely at how the QStem is worded, as that can help you answer the question.  Here, it asks what most "undermines the value of the evidence".  That could be interpreted as supporting the interpretation above.  Especially since the last measure wasn't much less than the standard diameter.

Lindbergh

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Re: pt 33 lr 1, #17 dec. 00
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2008, 08:38:10 PM »
Thanks to all for the insight.  It seems that here choice C is right because none of the others are any good.  I still have a problem with the idea that something that is still less (like the 11th blood stain) is considered to weaken the arg.  I feel that in a test built around precise language, a better/less questionable answer choice should have been supplied.  Nothing I can do about it though; just venting.  Thanks again for the help.

Think about what the QStem is really asking.  Does the new measure call into question the value of the evidenced relied on in the argument?  I'd say yes, because the new measure indicates that the previous measures may not consistently predict all (or even most) future measures.  Since the new measure is almost as large as the standard measure, future measures may well be even more than standard measures.  Either way, we can't really conclusively conclude that the defendant's bloodstains will consistently be "much less" than a standard bloodstain.

Also note the absolute tone of the conclusion:  "I conclude that a single drop of the defendants blood stains much less than 9.5cm of the fabric."  This means that a single drop must ALWAYS stain much less than 9.5 cm of the fabric.  The most recent test clearly appears to call this into question, especially since it's so close.

Again, I know that some could argue that "much less" is very vague, and could still somehow cover .02cm.  However, a common-sense interpretation would say this does not constitute "much less", and without any supporting evidence to support an alternative interpretation, I think we have to go with the common-sense one.