Passage for Exercise-98

Read carefully the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

   The men of the seventeenth century who invented the modern scientific method had an advantage over their predecessors in a new mathematical technique. But, in addition to this technical advance, there was another advantage almost more important. Before their time, observation had been haphazard; and baseless traditions were accepted as if they were recorded facts. The laws which we invented to account for phenomena were not legitimate inferences from observation, but were infected by a belief that nature conformed to human tastes and hopes and fears. The heavenly bodies were supposed to move in circles or complications of circles, because the circle appealed to aesthetic laste as the perfect figure. Pestilences and earthquakes were sent to punish sin. Refreshing rain was sent as the reward for virtue. Comets foretold the death of princes. Everything on earth and in the heavens had references to Man or to aesthetic taste which closely resembled those of human beings.

   The scientific temper abandoned this point of view. To find out how nature works, we must forget our own hopes and fears and tastes, and be guided only by careful investigation of facts. Although this may now seem a simple idea, it was in truth, revolutionary. When Kepler discovered that the planets moved in ellipses, not in circles or epicycles, he dealt a death blow to the interpretation of nature through the medium of human emotions. The essence of scientific attitude thus inaugurated is this : Nature does what it does, not what we should wish, nor yet what we should fear, but something blandly unconscious of our existence. :


1. Which of the following statements conform to what the passage?
  A. Men of the sixteenth century
   (i) believed that earthquakes were sent to punish sinners.
   (ii) believed that heavenly bodies moved in circles because of gravitation.
   (iii) believed that nature acted in accordance with man’s tastes hopes and fears.
   (iv) believed that comets foretold the death of Kings.
B. Men of the seventeenth century
   (i) believed in the careful observation of facts to find out how nature works.
   (ii) believed that rain was a reward for virtue.
   (iii) believed that nature functions with any reference to human hopes or fears.
   (iv) accepted baseless traditions as recorded facts.

2. Why did, according to men of the pre-scientific era, earthquakes occur?
3. What is the essence of the scientific attitude with reference to natural phenomena?
4. Who are the men who are thought to be embodiments of Western culture?
5. To whom does ‘a tiny minority’ refer?

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