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In the past year, Harborville has had an unusually high rate

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In the past year, Harborville has had an unusually high rate

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In the past year, Harborville has had an unusually high rate of new cases of a certain disease. An investigation revealed that over the past five years Harborville’s public water supply has had a high level of pollutants. Medical researchers have hypothesized that Harborville’s water is reposnsible for the high rate of new cases of the disease.

Each of the following provides additional support for the researcher’s hypothesis EXCEPT:

A. Most of the people afflicted with new cases of the disease had regularly drunk larger quantities of Harborville’s water than had other Harborville residents.
B. The same types of pollutants that have been found in Harborville’s water have been independently linked to occurrences in other towns of the high rates of this disease.
C. Some of the people with newly diagnosed cases of this disease began to develop the disease before Harborville’s water became polluted.
D. The rate of new cases of diseases among Harborville’s residents who get their water from private sources is not unusually high.
E. Towns with geographic and demographic characteristics similar to those of Harborville, but without polluted water do not have a high rate of the disease.

OA C

Source: GMAT Prep

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What's the hypothesis here?
The Hypothesis is a high level of pollutants in public water, which people consume, is causing the voluminous cases of the new disease.

With the use of except the meaning changes and we need to find a weakener for the hypothesis.

Option A - Incorrect
This is a logical option but let's consider it strictly. If the people who got afflicted consumed the contaminated public water, there is a reason for suspicion.
Therefore, this option does not weaken the hypothesis

Option B - Incorrect
The disease exists wherever people are consuming similar type of pollutants through water. This gives strength to the statement rather than weaken it.

Option C - correct
This casts an iota of doubt on the hypothesis. If the disease started before the pollutants were even in the picture, there's definitely going to be an alternate cause for the outbreak. This statement definitely weakens the hypothesis. Thus, it is the correct option.

Option D - Incorrect
In line with folklore beliefs, private supplies are usually better or less worse than the public supplies. So, the private water sources contained less quantities of the contaminant. Therefore, the reduced cause is resulting in reduced effect. In other words, less pollutants are causing less number of cases. This strengthens with some trivial assumptions.

Option E - Incorrect
The major factors except contaminated water are constant, thereby making the contaminated water a prime suspect for the disease in Harborville. This strengthens the hypothesis; a great deal. This option is incorrect.

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