Lets begin by drawing a general/rough map of the what the sentence wants to communicate....It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have corroded the intellectual skills required and fostered by the literary media. But several centuries ago the complaint was that certain intellectual skills, such as the powerful memory and extemporaneous eloquence that were intrinsic to oral culture, were being destroyed by the spread of literacy. So, what awaits us is probably a mere alteration of the human mind rather than its devolution.
The author says, that its a common complaint that XYZ is corroding a particular skill that was fostered by EMB. Then he takes the argument back to several centuries ago, and says that there was another complain at that time, that ABC was corroding intellectual skills that were developed and perhaps necessary for oral culture...
He then goes on to conclude that, the complainants are probably over reacting and what we are seeing is not the elimination of a particular skill set/ capability but a mere adaptation, that is not uncommon with progress.
The conclusion here is very important to find the correct answer choice: What role can the second point (historic reference) play that more logically shores up the conclusion? Choice (C) claims that what happened in the past was not necessarily detrimental in the overall scheme of things. This is exactly what the author wants to show...like in the past, the current change is not necessarily detrimental but rather evolutionary. If C is assumed to be the purpose of the second claim (historic) then the conclusion makes perfect sense.
Whats wrong with B?
B states that :an illustration of the general hypothesis being
advanced that intellectual abilities are
inseparable from the means by which people
The second reference, is clearly a SPECIFIC reference to a particular change in society, that had an effect on the status quo. The historical change being reffered to is a specific one, that shows the reaction at that time to certain changes in society. It is far from being a GENERALIZATION or a general hypothesis. Based on this alone choice (B) can be eliminated.
D States that evidence that the claim that the intellectual skills required and fostered by the literary media are being lost is unwarranted
The Historical reference does not by itself 100% guarantee that opinion of the current generation, is WRONG. It merely points to the fact that similar changes have happened in the past, and opinions held by people of those times were not entirely correct. It does not go as far as to claim that because folks were wrong then, the people must be wrong in the present. The connection is not STRONG as the choice (D) implies, but is rather subtle, in that the author is trying to show to the reader, that people do have a tendency to confuse evolutionary change with a devolution or a loss of a particular capability....
The conclusion begins with " SO WHAT AWAITS US IS PROBABLY....."
This suggests that the author is using the historical information, and trying to assess whether the current beliefs are illfounded are not. By adding PROBABLY he is showing clearly that what he is concluding is an opinion, or a hypothesis, and that he has used the historical reference as a general guide, to predict....and not to totally rubbish the opinion held by the people...
Hope it helps!
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