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Cytology (cell biology) vs. Biochemistry (LSAT)

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hoji Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Cytology (cell biology) vs. Biochemistry (LSAT)

Post Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:29 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    One scientific discipline, during its early stages of development, is often related to another as an antithesis to its thesis. The thesis discipline tend to concern itself with discovery and classification of phenomena, to offer holistic explanations emphasizing pattern and form, and to use existing theory to explain the widest possible range of phenomena. The paired or antidiscipline, on the other hand, can be characterized by a more focused approach, concentrating on the units of construction, and by a belief that the discipline can be reformulated in terms of the issues and explanations of the antidiscipline.
    The relationship of cytology (cell biology) to biochemistry in the late nineteenth century, when both disciplines were growing at a rapid pace, exemplifies such a pattern. Researchers in cell biology found mounting evidence of an intricate cell architecture. They also deduced the mysterious choreography of the chromosomes during cell division. Many biochemists, on the other hand, remained skeptical of the idea that so much structure existed, arguing that the chemical reactions that occur in cytological preparations might create the appearance of such structures. Also, they stood apart from the debate then raging over whether protoplasm, the complex of living material within a cell, is homogeneous, networklike, granular, or foamlike. Their interest lay in the core “fundamental” issues of the chemical nature of protoplasm, especially the newly formulated enzyme theory of life.
    In general, biochemists judged cytologists to be too ignorant of chemistry to grasp the basic processes, whereas cytologists considered the methods of biochemists inadequate to characterize the structures of the living cell. The renewal of Mendelian genetics and, later, progress in chromosome mapping did little at first to effect a synthesis.
    Both sides were essentially correct. Biochemistry has more than justified its extravagant early claims by explaining so much of the cellular machinery. But in achieving this feat (mostly since 1950) it has been partially transformed into the new discipline of molecular biology-biochemistry that deals with spatial arrangements and movements of large molecules. At the same time cytology has metamorphosed into modern cellular biology. Aided by electron microscopy, it has become more similar in language and outlook to molecular biology. The interaction of a discipline and its antidiscipline has moved both sciences toward a synthesis, namely molecular genetics.
    This interaction between paired disciplines can have important results. In the case of late nineteenth-century cell research, progress was fueled by competition among the various attitudes and issues derived from cell biology and biochemistry. Joseph Fruton, a biochemist, has suggested that such competition and the resulting tensions among researchers are a principal source of vitality and “are likely to lead to unexpected and exciting novelties in the future, as they have in the past.”

    15. Which one of the following statements about cells is most compatible with the views of late nineteenth-century biochemists as those views are described in the passage?
    (A) The secret of cell function resides in the structure of the cell.
    (B) Only by discovering the chemical composition of protoplasm can the processes of the cell be understood.
    (C) Scientific knowledge about the chemical composition of the cell can help to explain behavioral patterns in organisms.
    (D) The most important issue to be resolved with regard to the cell is determining the physical characteristics of protoplasm.
    (E) The methods of chemistry must be supplemented before a full account of the cell’s structures can be made.

    Why the correct answer is B, not C?

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    Post Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:13 am
    C is an answer choice that is totally correct with the exception of a couple of words. It is true that nineteenth century biochemists thought that learning about the chemical composition of the cell would help explain a lot! However, the passage only talks about how biochemists thought that this knowledge would shed light on cellular structures and processes, not "behavioral patterns in organisms". In fact, behavioral patterns / anything at the organismal level isn't mentioned at all in the passage.

    B refers to these lines:

    Quote:
    Their interest lay in the core “fundamental” issues of the chemical nature of protoplasm, especially the newly formulated enzyme theory of life.
    In general, biochemists judged cytologists to be too ignorant of chemistry to grasp the basic processes ...

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    hoji Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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    Post Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:50 am
    ErikaPrepScholar wrote:
    C is an answer choice that is totally correct with the exception of a couple of words. It is true that nineteenth century biochemists thought that learning about the chemical composition of the cell would help explain a lot! However, the passage only talks about how biochemists thought that this knowledge would shed light on cellular structures and processes, not "behavioral patterns in organisms". In fact, behavioral patterns / anything at the organismal level isn't mentioned at all in the passage.

    B refers to these lines:

    Quote:
    Their interest lay in the core “fundamental” issues of the chemical nature of protoplasm, especially the newly formulated enzyme theory of life.
    In general, biochemists judged cytologists to be too ignorant of chemistry to grasp the basic processes ...
    Thanks Erika.

    But isn't "only by" in choice B too strong and the passage does not support such a strong claim.?

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    Post Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:50 am
    That's a really good note, hoji - you're right that "extreme" language, like "only", "always", "never", or any words that are too emotionally-charged often signal an incorrect answer choice, and it's a good call to be skeptical of it.

    However, here, all of the other answer choices are definitively wrong for more important reasons: it isn't in the passage, it's the opposite of what the biochemists believed, etc. So we could choose B based on the fact that all of the answer choices are factually incorrect. In addition, while B does contend that the views of 19th century biochemists were fairly strong, even the passage describes their views as "extravagant early claims". So the passage itself supports the idea that 19th century biochemists had pretty extreme views.

    The takeaway here is that extreme language is often a good clue, but it doesn't always mean that an answer choice is wrong - you should rely on a careful reading of the answer choices and a solid understanding of the passage over fast tips and tricks.

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    hoji Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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    Post Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:53 pm
    got it
    thanks again

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