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Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker

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Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Oct 2019, 04:48
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 206, Date : 14-Jul-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinkers of the Enlightenment wanted to replace the Biblical account of time (Genesis, Creation, Fall, Redemption) with a myth which put Man, not God, at the center of the story. The narrative of human progress was understood to be both a material and a moral process; not just changing our technologies, but altering our instincts, and for the better.

We now live in ironic, anti-heroic times. Do we still believe in the story of progress? It sits in the attic of our minds like a glorious Victorian antique, as magnificent as a stuffed moose head and just as useless. Perhaps worse than useless. Modern political correctness has lodged a suspicion in our mind about the Ascent of Man. What do you mean, Man? What about Woman? And which Man? Surely not the European conquerors? And Ascent? Surely you’re not implying that western civilization is superior to everything that’s gone before? And so on. The Ascent of Man may be an idea we had better do without.

Only 20 years ago, this did not seem so. That great educator and scientist, Jacob Bronowski, made it the title of his famous BBC documentary. For Bronowski, the Ascent of Man was the story of human evolution. It began over 4m years ago with the emergence of hominid species in Africa— furry, ape-like creatures who began the human ascent, about 1m years later, by standing on their hind legs. This released their hands to use tools, increasing their food production capacity, their brain size, and their superiority over other ape and animal competitors. There were an unknown number of hominid competitors, which were gradually reduced to two and then—100,000 years ago—to one: homo sapiens. Only this creature achieved language, and this gave him mastery of himself and nature.

As homo sapiens, we are the product not of one millennium, but of at least a thousand. We may look up at the sky through the lenses of a scientific worldview, but the brain which receives the signals is an organism imprinted with several million years of evolutionary terrors: of animals, strange signs in the skies and the omnipresence of imminent death..


1. The author mentions the thinkers of the Enlightenment in order to:

(A) assert that the Bible was an impediment in the way of progress
(B) demonstrate that Man is superior to God
(C) affirm that human progress is akin to mastery over the world
(D) illustrate the transformation in man’s approach towards the concept of ‘progress’
(E) display Bronowski’s exclusive perspective on things


2. According to the information in the passage, with which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?

(A) Man is superior to other living beings in certain aspects such as the ability to
communicate using language.
(B) In modern times, it is preferable to support the anti-hero than the hero.
(C) Modern man does not believe in the story of progress.
(D) The European conquerors are partly responsible for the cynicism surrounding the story of progress.
(E) The Biblical account of time put God at the center of the story.


3. What is the main purpose of the author in writing the passage?

(A) To criticize the Biblical account of time
(B) To argue that the concept of ‘Ascent of Man’ is actually a myth propagated by scientists such as Bronowski
(C) To describe how people’s perception of the concept of ‘Ascent of Man’ has changed over time
(D) To prove that the narrative of human progress was both a material and a moral process
(E) To assert that homo sapiens are a product of several millennia


4. What is the function of the third paragraph in the passage?

(A) To argue in favor of the concept of human progress
(B) To state the views of a renowned scientist
(C) To provide a contrasting view of a concept discussed earlier in the passage
(D) To conclude that man is the only creature capable of using language effectively
(E) To demonstrate that the human brain has evolved over a period spanning thousands of years


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Originally posted by generis on 14 Jul 2019, 00:49.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 21 Oct 2019, 04:48, edited 3 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (1046).
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Re: Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 04:47
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Re: Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2019, 03:03
can anyone explain q 2 and 4?

I am confused between option A and D in q 2 & option A and C in q4
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Re: Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2019, 06:49
VRG1998 wrote:
can anyone explain q 2 and 4?

I am confused between option A and D in q 2 & option A and C in q4


Official Explanation


2. According to the information in the passage, with which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

The first para states that the fathers of Enlightenment wanted to put man at the centre of the story instead of God, and then states that this contrasts with the Biblical account of time. Therefore, it can easily be inferred that the Biblical account of time put God at the centre of the story. Hence, (E) is the correct answer.

(A) This is Bronowski’s belief, and not the author’s.

(B) The author does not explicitly state his preferences anywhere.

(C) Extreme and not supported by the passage.

(D) While the passage does mention the European conquerors, it would be too much to conclude that they were in any way responsible for the cynicism surrounding the story of progress.


4. What is the function of the third paragraph in the passage?

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

Students tend to get confused on this question because options (A), (B), and (C) all look good. (D) is a specific detail from the paragraph, so cannot be the answer and (E) is actually mentioned only in the fifth paragraph.

While answering questions that ask you for the ‘function’ of something, keep in mind that this function has to be from the point of view of the author of the passage. Now, did the author write the third paragraph to argue about something? Absolutely not—if anything, he would disagree with the third para, so (A) cannot be the answer. Similarly, (B) cannot be the answer because, even though the third para does give the views of Bronowski, the question is not what the third para contains but rather why it contains what it contains. The correct answer has to be (C) because the reason the author wrote the third para was to provide a contrasting view to the cynicism in the second paragraph.

Answer: C


Hope it helps
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Re: Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker   [#permalink] 24 Oct 2019, 06:49

Progress became a theme in European thought in about 1750. The thinker

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