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It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have

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It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 26 Nov 2012, 06:33
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E

Difficulty:

  65% (hard)

Question Stats:

54% (02:42) correct 46% (01:53) wrong based on 193 sessions
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 reference to the complaint of several centuries ago that powerful memory and extemporaneous eloquence were being destroyed plays which one of the following
roles in the argument?
(A) evidence supporting the claim that the intellectual skills fostered by the literary media are being destroyed by the electronic media
(B) an illustration of the general hypothesis being advanced that intellectual abilities are inseparable from the means by which people communicate
(C) an example of a cultural change that did not necessarily have a detrimental effect on the human mind overall
(D) evidence that the claim that the intellectual skills required and fostered by the literary media are being lost is unwarranted
(E) possible evidence, mentioned and then dismissed, that might be cited by supporters of the hypothesis being criticized
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by fameatop on 21 Aug 2013, 22:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Senior Manager
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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 22:44
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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
communicate


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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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2012, 09:54
Expert's post
The stimulus says that there are complains that electronic media is detrimental to intellectual skills. Then the stimulus tells us that the same thing was said for literary media.
So a conclusion is made that "what awaits us is probably a mere alteration of the human mind rather than its devolution".

"Rather than devolution" implies that author confirms that devolution has not taken place, but what has taken place is mere a change.

C confirms this.
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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 22:24
Can anyone explain how C is better than D in this question.

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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 22 Aug 2013, 04:45
Thank you for the reply. C mentions cultural change which actually cannot be implied. Its more of a generalisation than implication of whats mentioned in the text. Whereas D mentions claim is unwarranted. Unwarranted in itself is not a strong word. It merely states that the claim is unjustified. Plz share ur thoughts where my line of thinking is going wrong.

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Senior Manager
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Joined: 03 Sep 2012
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Location: United States
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Kudos [?]: 75 [0], given: 31

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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have [#permalink] New post 22 Aug 2013, 04:57
(D) refers to the historical reference being evidence that the particular opinion is unwarranted. By itself the historical reference does not really indicate anything about the validity of the currently held beliefs, therefore it is not used in this context for the sake of providing evidence, but more as an example that goes out and shows that there is a possibility that the current generation is not understanding the evolutionary change that is taking place...The author attempts to connect the historical misjudgement with that of the current generation, and as such argues that there is a possibility that the current generation is making the same error of judgement as done in the past, when another cultural change was being resisted.
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Re: It is now a common complaint that the electronic media have   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2013, 04:57
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