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rss GMAT Practice Question (One of Hundreds)
Wine Company Representative: The corks of red wine bottles pose a threat to the environment because they are treated with chemicals that are especially toxic in landfills. However, the new cork that our company developed, which will be adopted by the entire red wine industry, represents a solution. Since the new cork is natural and not treated with chemicals, when the industry completes its transition to the new cork, there will no longer be any threat to landfills from red wine corks.
Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument above?
Correct Answer: B
The representative's argument is that when the proposed solution is adopted, there will no longer be any threat.

The conclusion to the argument is that "when the industry completes its transition to the new cork, there will no longer be any threat to landfills from red wine corks." The conclusion omits an important fact: even after manufacturers stop making the old wine corks, there will still be thousands of old bottles in circulation. Individuals who purchased red wine bottles years ago will consume them and discard the old corks in landfills, thereby continuing to pollute landfills. Consequently, we cannot conclude that "there will no longer be any threat to landfills from red wine corks."

To further see that this is the conclusion, consider the points of the argument and which points support a conclusion versus which point is a conclusion supported by other points. The points of the argument are:
(1) red wine corks pose a threat to the environment
(2) a solution has been found
(3) when the industry adopts the solution, the threat will be gone

Notice that it makes no sense to say that since (3) is true, therefore (1) must be true, as would be the case if (3) were a premise and (1) were a conclusion. Instead, it makes sense to say that since (1) and (2) are true, therefore we conclude (3). Now the task at hand is to see how even though (3) is the conclusion, it is not an extremely sound conclusion.

  1. The timing of the industry's transition is irrelevant due to the qualifier in the conclusion: "when the industry completes its transition to the new cork."
  2. This statement properly identifies a weakness in the conclusion.
  3. The time taken to produce a cork does not impact matters of pollution.
  4. At first glance, this answer has some appeal. However, the conclusion relates to pollution in a landfill--not fumes omitted into the air during production.
  5. The cost to produce the new cork is not pertinent in a consideration of landfill pollution.