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Supporting ideas | Worked example

Video transcript

- [Instructor] All right, so the first thing I wanna do before I get to the passage or even start to look at any of the answer choices is read the stem. So, according to the passage, why do archaeologists believe that bitter manioc was used by precontact populations? All right, so we've got, we're looking for something about manioc and precontact populations and what archaeologists believe. So, we're looking for evidence that supports this claim. So, the use of bitter manioc, there we go. A starchy root, great, now we know what manioc is, if we didn't before. The use of bitter manioc by precontact populations in the Orinoco Valley is inferred from archaeological grater flakes. Okay, inferred by whom? I'm going to guess archaeologists, right. Is inferred from archaeological grater flakes, griddle fragments and topia, the ceramic stands that support a griddle over a fire. All of these artifacts are used by modern populations to process bitter manioc. Sweet manioc, okay, so there's sweet and bitter manioc. So this is, so we're talking about something as opposed to sweet. Sweet manioc tends to be ignored as a possibility, perhaps because there are no modern artifacts associated with its processing. And I think for a question like this, with content like this, you might be tempted to use your knowledge, if you have any, of manioc or of the Orinoco Valley. If you come from, if your family eats a lot of cassava or if you're of Venezuelan ancestry, this may be really tempting to say like, bringing outside knowledge in, and that's not what we wanna do. What we're trying to do, so put all of that from your mind. All the information that you need to answer this question is within this passage and within the stem. So, even before we look at any of these, I'm deliberately not looking at them. If you must, cover the screen with your hand. In our own words, why do we think that archaeologists believe that bitter manioc was used by precontact populations? What's the basis of this inference? Well, it looks like the use of bitter manioc, again, as opposed to sweet manioc is inferred, because they've got archaeological evidence, artifacts, call it tools frankly, right? Manioc is a root that must be grated, and then once grated, cooked on a griddle over a fire, and this is the crucial part, sweet manioc tends to be ignored, because there are no modern artifacts associated with its processing, right. All of these artifacts are used by modern populations. So even today, part of the process of making bitter manioc suitable for consumption involves grating it and then cooking it over fire. And again, you may be tempted to bring in your outside knowledge of manioc. Don't do it. Just everything that's going on within this passage, that's what we're working with. So, what most supports the fact that archaeologists believe that bitter manioc was used by precontact populations? Well, it's the fact that modern people eating bitter manioc have to process it with these pieces of technology. Whereas, sweet manioc doesn't seem to have modern artifacts associated with it. So, archaeologists are looking at how bitter manioc is used now, and it seems like because of the artifacts that they've found, because of these griddle fragments, grater flakes and topia, the griddle stands, that precontact peoples used similar technology. That's my rationale. So, the archaeologists, let me restate it, archaeologists believe that bitter manioc was used by precontact populations, because the tools that they used to process it are similar to the tools used to process bitter manioc today. And sweet manioc doesn't have similar modern artifacts associated with it. So, let's take a look at the answers. Do they sound like the reasoning that we've constructed? Answer A, it is not necessary to cook sweet manioc over a fire before eating it. We don't know whether or not that's true. There's no evidence for or against that assertion, but we're talking about bitter manioc not sweet. Option B, bitter manioc is more popular than sweet manioc in the Orinoco Valley today. Again, the passage does not give us this information, and it crucially doesn't have anything to do with the modern artifacts, right. So, we're looking for something that involves modern artifacts of manioc processing, specifically bitter manioc processing. So, I'm gonna cross that off. C, bitter manioc is used by modern populations living in the Orinoco Valley, however, nothing in this sentence indicates that modern populations live in the Orinoco Valley. It just says modern populations. And so, we have to be very careful not to infer information that isn't present in the passage. So, we don't have evidence for C. So, I'm gonna cross it off. Option D, items similar to those used today to process bitter manioc have been found at archaeological sites. Now that sounds like our reasoning, right? Items, which that's another, we can say an item is like an artifact, right. Similar to those used today, those used by modern populations to process bitter manioc have been found at archaeological sites. I think this is our answer. And finally, option E, griddles that stand on topia are used today to process a number of different foods. This may be true, but it doesn't match our reasoning, and that also wouldn't support the thesis. If anything, this would confuse it, right, by saying, if modern griddles that stand on topia are used to process a whole bunch of different things, that could suggest that ancient topia were not necessarily used for bitter manioc. So, that does not support the archaeologists' reasoning. And I should say importantly, it doesn't matter if the archaeologists' reasoning makes sense or turns out to be true. It's kind of strange that the archaeologists are ignoring sweet manioc. They're taking absence of evidence to mean evidence of absence, which is faulty logic. But our job is not to critique the logic, we're trying to answer the question of why do the archaeologists believe. What is their stated reasoning? And the passage gives us those reasons why. Right, this is information that is explicitly present in the passage that supports this thesis, basically. As you go through questions like these, when they ask for support from a passage, check to make sure when you're looking through your answer choices, whether or not the contents of the answer choice is explicitly mentioned in the passage. Like this popularity thing, that's not present in the passage. We can just say, nope. Bitter manioc is used by modern populations living in the Orinoco Valley. Well, that's kind of a weird one. We'd say, maybe, I don't know. They don't explicitly say. I don't know that I could rule it out. It's unclear whether or not it's necessary to cook sweet manioc over a fire before eating it. It may be, it may not be. But questions like these are testing your ability to find explicit support in the passage. And remember, everything you need is within the passage, even if the logic might feel wrong to you. Maybe you think the archaeologists are wrong about sweet manioc. It doesn't matter. We're trying to identify what's going on in their argument, not our own.