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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 52

In Brazil, side-by-side comparisons of Africanized honeybees and the native honeybees have shown that the Africanized bees are far superior honey producers. Therefore, there is no reason to fear that domestic commercial honey production will decline in the United States if local honeybees are displaced by Africanized honeybees.

Each of the following, if true, would weaken the argument EXCEPT:

[A]. The honeybees native to Brazil are not of the same variety as those most frequently used in the commercial beekeeping industry in the United States.
[B]. Commercial honey production is far more complicated and expensive with Africanized honeybees than it is with the more docile honeybees common in the United States.
[C]. If Africanized honeybees replace local honeybees, certain types of ornamental trees will be less effectively pollinated.
[D]. In the United States a significant proportion of the commercial honey supply comes from hobby beekeepers, many of whom are likely to abandon beekeeping with the influx of Africanized bees.
[E]. The area of Brazil where the comparative study was done is far better suited to the foraging habits of the Africanized honeybees than are most areas of the United States.
Answer: C

Since we’re asked to pick the one choice out of five that does NOT weaken the argument, we know that the argument will be pretty vulnerable to weakeners. There are a number of assumptions at work in this argument, many of which lead to the weakeners in the wrong choices, but choice (C) is correct because it’s totally irrelevant to the issue of honey production.

(A) weakens the argument by undermining the major assumption that what’s true of Brazil will be true of the U.S. If, as (A) claims, the native bees in Brazil are different from the ones here, then the comparison the author cites is irrelevant—maybe domestic U.S. bees produce more honey than both Brazilian and Africanized bees do.

(B) and (D) both undermine another one of the argument’s basic assumptions: that commercial honey production won’t decline for some other reason. If, as (B) says, it’s more costly and difficult to use Africanized bees, or if, as (D) says, a lot of the people now responsible for honey production would rather cease and desist than use Africanized bees, then it’s quite possible that commercial honey production will decline if these bees are introduced. In any case, the author can no longer conclude for sure that it won’t decline.

(E) If Africanized bees are better suited to Brazil, then the author can no longer assume that in America, they’ll produce more honey than American honeybees. Who knows, maybe they’ll all die off once they get here.

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