Set-5 Reading Comprehension For SBI PO and SBI Clerk 2019 | Must Go Through These Questions

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Directions:(1-10) Read the following passage carefully and answer the given questions

Albert Einstein said that the ‘most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible’. He was right to be astonished. Human brains evolved to be adaptable, but our underlying neural architecture has barely changed since our ancestors roamed the savannah and coped with the challenges that life on it presented. It’s surely remarkable that these brains have allowed us to make sense of the quantum and the cosmos, notions far removed from the ‘commonsense’, everyday world in which we evolved.

But I think science will hit the buffers at some point. There are two reasons why this might happen. The optimistic one is that we clean up and codify certain areas (such as atomic physics) to the point that there’s no more to say. A second, more worrying possibility is that we’ll reach the limits of what our brains can grasp. There might be concepts, crucial to a full understanding of physical reality, that we aren’t aware of, any more than a monkey comprehends Darwinism or meteorology. Some insights might have to await a post-human intelligence.

Scientific knowledge is actually surprisingly ‘patchy’ – and the deepest mysteries often lie close by. Today, we can convincingly interpret  measurements that reveal two black holes crashing together more than a billion light years from Earth. Meanwhile, we’ve made little progress in treating the common cold, despite great leaps forward in epidemiology. The fact that we can be confident of arcane and remote cosmic phenomena, and flummoxed by everyday things, isn’t really as paradoxical as it looks. Astronomy is far simpler than the biological and human sciences. Black holes, although they seem exotic to us, are among the uncomplicated entities in nature. They can be described exactly by simple equations.

So how do we define complexity? The question of how far science can go partly depends on the answer. Something made of only a few atoms can’t be very complicated. Big things need not be complicated either. Despite its vastness, a star is fairly simple – its core is so hot that complex molecules get torn apart and no chemicals can exist, so what’s left is basically an amorphous gas of atomic nuclei and electrons. Alternatively, consider a salt crystal, made up of sodium and chlorine atoms, packed together over and over again to make a repeating cubical lattice. If you take a big crystal and chop it up, there’s little change in structure until it breaks down to the scale of single atoms. Even if it’s huge, a block of salt couldn’t be called complex.

Atoms and astronomical phenomena – the very small and the very large – can be quite basic. It’s everything in between that gets tricky. Most complex of all are living things. An animal has internal structure on every scale, from the proteins in single cells right up to limbs and major organs. It doesn’t exist if it is chopped up, the way a salt crystal continues to exist when it is sliced and diced. It dies.

Scientific understanding is sometimes envisaged as a hierarchy, ordered like the floors of a building. Those dealing with more complex systems are higher up, while the simpler ones go down below. Mathematics is in the basement, followed by particle physics, then the rest of physics, then chemistry, then biology, then botany and zoology, and finally the behavioural and social sciences (with the economists, no doubt, claiming the penthouse).

‘Ordering’ the sciences is uncontroversial, but it’s questionable whether the ‘ground-floor sciences’ – particle physics, in particular – are really deeper or more all-embracing than the others. In one sense, they clearly are. As the physicist Steven Weinberg explains in Dreams of a Final Theory (1992), all the explanatory arrows point downward. If, like a stubborn toddler, you keep asking ‘Why, why, why?’, you end up at the particle level. Scientists are nearly all reductionists in Weinberg’s sense. They feel confident that everything, however complex, is a solution to Schrödinger’s equation – the basic equation that governs how a system behaves, according to quantum theory.

But a reductionist explanation isn’t always the best or most useful one. ‘More is different,’ as the physicist Philip Anderson said. Everything, no matter how intricate – tropical forests, hurricanes, human societies – is made of atoms, and obeys the laws of quantum physics. But even if those equations could be solved for immense aggregates of atoms, they wouldn’t offer the enlightenment that scientists seek.

New concepts are particularly crucial to our understanding of really complicated things – for instance, migrating birds or human brains. The brain is an assemblage of cells; a painting is an assemblage of chemical pigment. But what’s important and interesting is how the pattern and structure appears as we go up the layers, what can be called emergent complexity.

So reductionism is true in a sense. But it’s seldom true in a useful sense. Only about 1 per cent of scientists are particle physicists or cosmologists. The other 99 per cent work on ‘higher’ levels of the hierarchy. They’re held up by the complexity of their subject, not by any deficiencies in our understanding of subnuclear physics.

In reality, then, the analogy between science and a building is really quite a poor one. A building’s structure is imperilled by weak foundations. By contrast, the ‘higher-level’ sciences dealing with complex systems aren’t vulnerable to an insecure base. Each layer of science has its own distinct explanations. Phenomena with different levels of complexity must be understood in terms of different, irreducible concepts.

We can expect huge advances on three frontiers: the very small, the very large, and the very complex. Nonetheless – and I’m sticking my neck out here – my hunch is there’s a limit to what we can understand. Efforts to understand very complex systems, such as our own brains, might well be the first to hit such limits. Perhaps complex aggregates of atoms, whether brains or electronic machines, can never know all there is to know about themselves. And we might encounter another barrier if we try to follow Weinberg’s arrows further down: if this leads to the kind of multi-dimensional geometry that string theorists envisage. Physicists might never understand the bedrock nature of space and time because the mathematics is just too hard.

Abstract thinking by biological brains has underpinned the emergence of all culture and science. But this activity, spanning tens of millennia at most, will probably be a brief precursor to the more powerful intellects of the post-human era – evolved not by Darwinian selection but via ‘intelligent design’. Whether the long-range future lies with organic post-humans or with electronic super-intelligent machines is a matter for debate. But we would be unduly anthropocentric to believe that a full understanding of physical reality is within humanity’s grasp, and that no enigmas will remain to challenge our remote descendants.

1. Why does the author give the example of black holes in the third paragraph?

2. Why does the author think that science will stop progressing after some time?

3. How far can Science go would depend partly or completely on which of the following things?

4. With which of the following options is the author most likely to agree with?

5. Why does the author give the example of salt crystal in the passage?

6. Why does the author say that the analogy between Science and a building is poor?

7. Choose the option which is most similar in the meaning to ‘imperilled’ as used in passage

8. Choose the option which is most similar in the meaning to ‘assemblage’ as used in passage

9. Choose the option which is most opposite in the meaning to ‘amorphous’ as used in passage

10. Choose the option which is most opposite in the meaning to ‘enigma’ as used in passage

 

Check your Answers below:

 

 

 

  • Directions:(1-10) Read the following passage carefully and answer the given questions

    Albert Einstein said that the ‘most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible’. He was right to be astonished. Human brains evolved to be adaptable, but our underlying neural architecture has barely changed since our ancestors roamed the savannah and coped with the challenges that life on it presented. It’s surely remarkable that these brains have allowed us to make sense of the quantum and the cosmos, notions far removed from the ‘commonsense’, everyday world in which we evolved.

    But I think science will hit the buffers at some point. There are two reasons why this might happen. The optimistic one is that we clean up and codify certain areas (such as atomic physics) to the point that there’s no more to say. A second, more worrying possibility is that we’ll reach the limits of what our brains can grasp. There might be concepts, crucial to a full understanding of physical reality, that we aren’t aware of, any more than a monkey comprehends Darwinism or meteorology. Some insights might have to await a post-human intelligence.

    Scientific knowledge is actually surprisingly ‘patchy’ – and the deepest mysteries often lie close by. Today, we can convincingly interpret  measurements that reveal two black holes crashing together more than a billion light years from Earth. Meanwhile, we’ve made little progress in treating the common cold, despite great leaps forward in epidemiology. The fact that we can be confident of arcane and remote cosmic phenomena, and flummoxed by everyday things, isn’t really as paradoxical as it looks. Astronomy is far simpler than the biological and human sciences. Black holes, although they seem exotic to us, are among the uncomplicated entities in nature. They can be described exactly by simple equations.

    So how do we define complexity? The question of how far science can go partly depends on the answer. Something made of only a few atoms can’t be very complicated. Big things need not be complicated either. Despite its vastness, a star is fairly simple – its core is so hot that complex molecules get torn apart and no chemicals can exist, so what’s left is basically an amorphous gas of atomic nuclei and electrons. Alternatively, consider a salt crystal, made up of sodium and chlorine atoms, packed together over and over again to make a repeating cubical lattice. If you take a big crystal and chop it up, there’s little change in structure until it breaks down to the scale of single atoms. Even if it’s huge, a block of salt couldn’t be called complex.

    Atoms and astronomical phenomena – the very small and the very large – can be quite basic. It’s everything in between that gets tricky. Most complex of all are living things. An animal has internal structure on every scale, from the proteins in single cells right up to limbs and major organs. It doesn’t exist if it is chopped up, the way a salt crystal continues to exist when it is sliced and diced. It dies.

    Scientific understanding is sometimes envisaged as a hierarchy, ordered like the floors of a building. Those dealing with more complex systems are higher up, while the simpler ones go down below. Mathematics is in the basement, followed by particle physics, then the rest of physics, then chemistry, then biology, then botany and zoology, and finally the behavioural and social sciences (with the economists, no doubt, claiming the penthouse).

    ‘Ordering’ the sciences is uncontroversial, but it’s questionable whether the ‘ground-floor sciences’ – particle physics, in particular – are really deeper or more all-embracing than the others. In one sense, they clearly are. As the physicist Steven Weinberg explains in Dreams of a Final Theory (1992), all the explanatory arrows point downward. If, like a stubborn toddler, you keep asking ‘Why, why, why?’, you end up at the particle level. Scientists are nearly all reductionists in Weinberg’s sense. They feel confident that everything, however complex, is a solution to Schrödinger’s equation – the basic equation that governs how a system behaves, according to quantum theory.

    But a reductionist explanation isn’t always the best or most useful one. ‘More is different,’ as the physicist Philip Anderson said. Everything, no matter how intricate – tropical forests, hurricanes, human societies – is made of atoms, and obeys the laws of quantum physics. But even if those equations could be solved for immense aggregates of atoms, they wouldn’t offer the enlightenment that scientists seek.

    New concepts are particularly crucial to our understanding of really complicated things – for instance, migrating birds or human brains. The brain is an assemblage of cells; a painting is an assemblage of chemical pigment. But what’s important and interesting is how the pattern and structure appears as we go up the layers, what can be called emergent complexity.

    So reductionism is true in a sense. But it’s seldom true in a useful sense. Only about 1 per cent of scientists are particle physicists or cosmologists. The other 99 per cent work on ‘higher’ levels of the hierarchy. They’re held up by the complexity of their subject, not by any deficiencies in our understanding of subnuclear physics.

    In reality, then, the analogy between science and a building is really quite a poor one. A building’s structure is imperilled by weak foundations. By contrast, the ‘higher-level’ sciences dealing with complex systems aren’t vulnerable to an insecure base. Each layer of science has its own distinct explanations. Phenomena with different levels of complexity must be understood in terms of different, irreducible concepts.

    We can expect huge advances on three frontiers: the very small, the very large, and the very complex. Nonetheless – and I’m sticking my neck out here – my hunch is there’s a limit to what we can understand. Efforts to understand very complex systems, such as our own brains, might well be the first to hit such limits. Perhaps complex aggregates of atoms, whether brains or electronic machines, can never know all there is to know about themselves. And we might encounter another barrier if we try to follow Weinberg’s arrows further down: if this leads to the kind of multi-dimensional geometry that string theorists envisage. Physicists might never understand the bedrock nature of space and time because the mathematics is just too hard.

    Abstract thinking by biological brains has underpinned the emergence of all culture and science. But this activity, spanning tens of millennia at most, will probably be a brief precursor to the more powerful intellects of the post-human era – evolved not by Darwinian selection but via ‘intelligent design’. Whether the long-range future lies with organic post-humans or with electronic super-intelligent machines is a matter for debate. But we would be unduly anthropocentric to believe that a full understanding of physical reality is within humanity’s grasp, and that no enigmas will remain to challenge our remote descendants.

    1. Question

    Why does the author give the example of black holes in the third paragraph?

    Ans:3
    Through the third paragraph, the author is trying to say that big things need not necessarily be complicated. Thus, option C, which says that is the right choice.
  • 2. Question

    Why does the author think that science will stop progressing after some time?

    Ans:5
    Refer to the following line “There are two reasons why this might happen. The optimistic one is that … A second, more worrying possibility is that we’ll reach the limits of what our brains can grasp”. Thus both option A as well as option C are the reason why the author thinks that science will hit the buffers.
    Hence, option E is the right choice.
  • 3. Question

    How far can Science go would depend partly or completely on which of the following things?

    Ans:4

    Refer to the following sentence “So how do we define complexity? The question of how far science can go partly depends on the answer.” Option D highlights this point. Other options are either not relevant or answer the question incorrectly.

    Hence, option D is the correct choice.

  • 4. Question

    With which of the following options is the author most likely to agree with?

    Ans:2

    Refer to sentence, “…if those equations could be solved for immense aggregates of atoms, they wouldn’t offer the enlightenment that scientists seek…” Thus the author wouldn’t agree with A.
    Refer to the following sentence, “‘…ground-floor sciences’ – particle physics, in particular – are really deeper or more all-embracing than the others. In one sense, they clearly are.” Thus, the author would agree with B.
    One of the main argument put forward by the author is to show that humans have limits in understanding. Thus C is incorrect.

    In the passage, the author has stated that concepts like black holes are remarkably simple. Hence, option D is incorrect.

    Hence, option B is the right choice.

  • 5. Question

    Why does the author give the example of salt crystal in the passage?

    Ans:3

    Refer to following sentences, “…there’s little change in structure until it breaks down to the scale of single atoms. Even if it’s huge, a block of salt couldn’t be called complex….Most complex of all are living things.” Thus, the main purpose of the author is to show that the structure of a living organism is complex while that of a molecule of salt is not. C highlights this and must be the correct choice.

    Hence, option C is the right answer.

  • 6. Question

    Why does the author say that the analogy between Science and a building is poor?

    Ans:5
    Refer to following sentences, “… building’s structure is imperilled by weak foundations. By contrast, the ‘higher-level’ sciences dealing with complex systems aren’t vulnerable to an insecure base. Each layer of science has its own distinct explanations… “
    Thus, A which runs tangent to this is incorrect.
    Option B, C and D are out of context of the passage.
    Option E answers the question correctly and hence, must be the correct choice.
    Hence, option E is the right answer.
  • 7. Question

    Choose the option which is most similar in the meaning to ‘imperilled’ as used in passage

    Ans:1
    Imperilled means to put at risk of being harmed, endangered or injured.
    Hence, option A is the right choice.
  • 8. Question

    Choose the option which is most similar in the meaning to ‘assemblage’ as used in passage

    Ans:3
    ‘Assemblage’ means collection or gathering of things.
    Hence, option C is the right choice.
  • 9. Question

    Choose the option which is most opposite in the meaning to ‘amorphous’ as used in passage

    Ans:3
    ‘Amorphous’ means not having a clearly defined shape and size. Thus, structured is opposite in meaning to amorphous.
    Hence, option C is the right choice.
  • 10. Question

    Choose the option which is most opposite in the meaning to ‘enigma’ as used in passage

     Ans:4
    Enigma means person or thing which is mysterious or difficult to understand. Thus, ‘straightforword’ which means easily understandable must be the answer.
    Hence, option D is the right choice.