GMAT CR Reverse Causation

GMAT CR Reverse Causation

In our last Article, we discussed the cause and effect model of CR Argument and one of the three assumptions viz, ‘There is no Alternate Cause’ underlying it. Today, our discussion will shift to the second assumption namely, ‘Reverse Causation is not possible’ underlying that model.

Let’s revisit the cause and effect model of GMAT Critical Reasoning Argument before we get ahead with this discussion. In the Cause and effect model, Two events, say X and Y, happen simultaneously and the author of the argument establishes a causation between the two events by stating that X causes Y assuming that there is no other cause for the event Y to occur other than X.

For the sake of understanding the perspective of the author let’s go with his assumption that there is no alternate cause for the event Y. Then for the author  X remains the sole cause of Y.This assumption is taken by him because he observes that the events X and Y have happened simultaneously. But can’t it be so that the causation is in the reverse direction I,e  Y causing X? In the author’s mind, this is not a possibility. This kind of thinking of the author gives rise to the assumption which can be simply stated as ‘ Reverse causation is not possible.’

I will Illustrate my point with the help of an example. In a study, Blood tests of 100 patients, who had developed yellowish coloration in their eyes, revealed inordinately high Bilirubin content in those patients. The scientist conducting this study came to the conclusion that yellowish coloration of eyes leads to high Bilirubin content. To anyone who has even a rudimentary knowledge of pathology this argument will sound ridiculous. Yellow coloration of eyes indicates the presence of the disease Jaundice which is caused by high Bilirubin content in Blood and not the other way round.

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