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Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended

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Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended on irrigation to sustain the agriculture that fed their civilization. But eventually irrigation built up in the soil toxic levels of the salts and other impurities left behind when water evaporates. When its soil became unable to support agriculture , Sumerian civilization collapsed. A similar fate is thus likely to befall modern civilizations that continue to rely heavily on irrigation for agriculture.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the archaeologist's argument above?

A. Most modern civilizations could not feed themselves through agriculture without relying heavily on irrigation.
B. Factors unrelated to the use of irrigation would probably have caused Sumerian civilization to collapse sooner or later.
C. Many modern farmers use irrigation techniques that avoid the buildup of salts and other toxic impurities in the soil.
D. Many modern civilizations don't rely to any significant extent on irrigation for agriculture.
E. The soil of ancient Sumerian already contained some toxic salts and other impurities before the Sumerians started using irrigation for agriculture.
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 11:59
the assumption made is that if civilizations rely heavily on irrigation then they are bound to collapse. Answer choice B says that whether or not they had relied on irrigation, the particular civilization was going to collapse. This dismantles the assumption, weakening the argument. Answer choice C however, only touches the surface of the argument. So why is the answer C?
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 13:12
sdahal wrote:
the assumption made is that if civilizations rely heavily on irrigation then they are bound to collapse. Answer choice B says that whether or not they had relied on irrigation, the particular civilization was going to collapse. This dismantles the assumption, weakening the argument. Answer choice C however, only touches the surface of the argument. So why is the answer C?


This doesn't really relate to whether modern civilizations will collapse as a result of irrigation practices, since it refers to other reasons Sumerian civilization would have collapsed if not for the toxic salt buildup. If anything, it's pushing us in the wrong direction by providing more reasons that a civilization might collapse - it certainly doesn't weaken the argument.
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 21:29
Raksat wrote:
sdahal wrote:
the assumption made is that if civilizations rely heavily on irrigation then they are bound to collapse. Answer choice B says that whether or not they had relied on irrigation, the particular civilization was going to collapse. This dismantles the assumption, weakening the argument. Answer choice C however, only touches the surface of the argument. So why is the answer C?


This doesn't really relate to whether modern civilizations will collapse as a result of irrigation practices, since it refers to other reasons Sumerian civilization would have collapsed if not for the toxic salt buildup. If anything, it's pushing us in the wrong direction by providing more reasons that a civilization might collapse - it certainly doesn't weaken the argument.

Thanks Raksat for the reply!

Yes, the author says that Sumerian civilization collapsed because it relied heavily on irrigation. Choice (B) simply says that if Sumerian civilization had NOT relied heavily on irrigation, it probably would have collapsed eventually. Other factors may have eventually caused its collapse, but those factors didn't cause the collapse. Heavy reliance on irrigation caused the collapse. Thus, the author's argument is not weakened.
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 21:56
Why not E?E also weakens the statement.
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 22:41
Answer should be D. Argument , towards its end states that If moderns rely significantly on irrigation , then they will collapse. D states that modern dont rely heavily on irrigation, so they have less chances of collapsing.

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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended [#permalink]

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Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended on irrigation to sustain the agriculture that fed their civilization. But eventually irrigation built up in the soil toxic levels of the salts and other impurities left behind when water evaporates. When its soil became unable to support agriculture , Sumerian civilization collapsed. A similar fate is thus likely to befall modern civilizations that continue to rely heavily on irrigation for agriculture.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the archaeologist's argument above?

A. Most modern civilizations could not feed themselves through agriculture without relying heavily on irrigation.
B. Factors unrelated to the use of irrigation would probably have caused Sumerian civilization to collapse sooner or later.
C. Many modern farmers use irrigation techniques that avoid the buildup of salts and other toxic impurities in the soil.
D. Many modern civilizations don't rely to any significant extent on irrigation for agriculture.
E. The soil of ancient Sumerian already contained some toxic salts and other impurities before the Sumerians started using irrigation for agriculture.

rahulswimmer wrote:
Answer should be D. Argument , towards its end states that If moderns rely significantly on irrigation , then they will collapse. D states that modern dont rely heavily on irrigation, so they have less chances of collapsing.

The author's conclusion is that "A similar fate is likely to befall modern civilizations that continue to rely heavily on irrigation for agriculture." This conclusion is only concerned with civilizations that rely heavily on irrigation. If they continue to rely heavily on irrigation, then they will likely collapse. The conclusion is not concerned with the "many modern civilizations" that DON'T rely on irrigation, so choice (D) is not relevant to the author's conclusion.

prashant6923 wrote:
Why not E?E also weakens the statement.

As for choice (E), even though the soil contained some toxic salts, the Sumerians were still able to sustain their agriculture. In other words, the level of toxic salts was not a problem. However, because of heavy irrigation, the toxic salts built up and became a problem.

It's a bit like saying that a man had a heart attack because he ate too much fatty fast-food that clogged his arteries. His arteries may have contained some fats before he started eating the fast food, but the fats were not a problem until he continued to eat fast-food, causing the fats to build up to dangerous levels.
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Re: Archaeologist : For 2,000 years the ancient Sumerians depended   [#permalink] 08 Dec 2017, 07:10
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