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# GRE RC Strategy#3 [Deconstructing Passages - III]

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GRE RC Strategy#3 [Deconstructing Passages - III] [#permalink]  04 Nov 2014, 10:31
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Deconstructing Passages - III

In this post we will deal with quite a long and difficult question which you have to deal with correctly if you are aiming 160+ scores in verbal. And these are a subset of inference questions which, of course, are difficult in and of themselves, and you'll usually see words like 'infer' to know that dealing with an inference question. But with this type of inference question, you don't really see the word 'infer', but this type of question is called a Parallel reasoning question.
What the parallel reasoning question requires of you is that you take the situation, and then you find something that is most similar or parallel to it. Not in terms of superficial similarities, as we'll see in a moment, but in terms of the logic.

Passage

For any new story to get told, there has to be an opening, a sudden tectonic jarring of a discipline's conventional wisdom. Thomas Kuhn described this critical moment with now much weathered phrase "Paradigm Shift". Its the precise moment of tilt between an old world view and a new one. And that's where we are now in the sub-discipline of ancient American archaeology, poised between those two views held (as always) by moss backed conservative traditionalists on one side and young agitated revolutionaries on the other.

Question

Which of the following would most likely represent a paradigm shift as described in the paragraph?

A) An archaeologist claims to have unearthed remnants of an arrowhead that once subjected to carbon-14 dating turn out to be produced not by human agency but by natural geological forces.
B) Scientists discovered that Iridium, once only thought to have extraterrestrial origins, can now be found in earth's mantle, thereby seriously challenging the prevailing notion that Iridium sediments pertaining to the Cretaceous period must have come from a meteor.
C) Each year computers come up with a prime number greater than any preceding prime number thus confirming the postulates of 19th century Mathematicians that number of prime numbers are infinite.
D) Using sophisticated equipment s, astronomers have been able to determine the amount of dark matter in the universe may be 25 times as great as the non dark matter, a number almost double that of the last estimate.
E) A geologist claim that the continents are constantly moving on large plates that are located miles underneath the surface of the earth, a claim scientific community deems preposterous.

Analysis

"Which of the following would most likely represent paradigm shift as described in the passage?" When we go back to the passage, we have to ask ourselves again, what is a paradigm shift? So, in the passage it self, it says here that a paradigm shift is this moment, this precise moment, when there's a tilt or a change between an old world view and a new one.So there's a certain way of seeing the world; that is, a world view, a way of seeing the world. So now, there's a shift. We no longer see things in the way we did before. We interpret them differently. Here, we're dealing with archaeology, and so there's been this paradigm shift. They misinterpret something differently. So this is this critical moment. It's a big deal. There's a shift in perception. That's what we're looking for, that paradigm shift, that shift in perception in one of the following.

Evaluating Options

A) - An archaeologist claims to have unearthed remnants of an arrowhead that once subjected to carbon-14 dating turn out to be produced not by human agency but by natural geological forces.
There are superficial similarities here Archaeology, archaeologists. Most of the times these are trap answers.Well, someone found an arrowhead and they thought, "Oh, it's part of this old civilization", and it turns out that it's not even an arrowhead, it's just a rock. Is that a shift in the way we see the world, that we see history, or interpret history? No, its just a mistake. So option A is not what we are looking for.

B) - Scientists discovered that Iridium, once only thought to have extraterrestrial origins, can now be found in earth's mantle, thereby seriously challenging the prevailing notion that Iridium sediments pertaining to the Cretaceous period must have come from a meteor.
So we know in a paradigm shift, we have two ways of thinking: the old way and the new way, as we learned from the passage. And the new way says, "Ah, we learned something new. Therefore, we are going to interpret the past differently. There's going to be a new story." And again, you can always go back to the passage just to see some of these keywords. Well, before, scientists thought it only came from meteorites, but now we see that iridium can come from something else. It can come from where? The earth's mantle. So that's going to challenge this prevailing notion, so now, there's going to be a new story.
The iridium from the Cretaceous period may have also come from the earth's mantle; therefore, it wasn't necessarily a meteorite that struck, and that's the answer. Do you see how this is different in terms of it's not necessarily archeology because archeology deals with remnants from peoples, and this, of course, is just geological stuff, but the reasoning is the same. There simply is a paradigm shift, and that's why B is the answer.

Still we will look into other options and discuss why they are not the answers,

C) - Each year computers come up with a prime number greater than any preceding prime number thus confirming the postulates of 19th century Mathematicians that number of prime numbers are infinite.
OK, is there a shift? No... So we move on without wasting time.

D) - Using sophisticated equipment s, astronomers have been able to determine the amount of dark matter in the universe may be 25 times as great as the non dark matter, a number almost double that of the last estimate.
Okay so the estimate doubled. But is it enough to seriously challenge some dogma or belief? No.We need more. So D is not the answer.

E) - A geologist claim that the continents are constantly moving on large plates that are located miles underneath the surface of the earth, a claim scientific community deems preposterous.
The idea doesn't gain ascendancy, or doesn't really take over. There is no challenge to the prevailing notion that geologists simply think, "Ah, that theory is very wrong." So that's why E doesn't work. So you can see that, yes, these are very difficult questions. They will take a lot of time.
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GRE RC Strategy#3 [Deconstructing Passages - III]   [#permalink] 04 Nov 2014, 10:31
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