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Question

Why do islands with considerable degree of isolation provide valuable insights into human history?
(2007)


A
Isolated islands may evolve differently and this difference is of interest to us.
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B
Isolated islands increase the number of observations available to historians.
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C
Isolated islands, differing in their endowments and size may evolve differently and this difference can be attributed to their endowments and size.
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D
Isolated islands, differing in their endowments and size, provide a good comparison to large islands such as Eurasia, Africa, Americas and Australia.
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Solution

The correct option is B Isolated islands may evolve differently and this difference is of interest to us.
Option: (a)

Evolution of islands with considerable degree of isolation which have developed complex societies interests the historians as mentioned by the author in the 3rd paragraph, 2nd line thus making answer option (a) the correct answer choice.

Geography of the passage:

Para 1:

  • The difficulties historians face in establishing cause-and-effect relations in the history of human societies are similar to those faced by astronomers, paleontologists and so on.
  • Major difficulty being predicting emergent properties and future behavior.
  • Prediction more feasible on large spatial scales and over long times since unique features of millions of small-scale brief events become averaged out.

Para 2:

  • How students of human history can benefit from experiences of scientists of other historical sciences.
  • Comparative method and natural experiment.
  • Astronomers and human historians can take advantage of natural experiments, by comparing systems differing in the presence of some putative causative factor.

Para 3:

  • Students of human history can draw on many more natural experiments than just comparisons among the five inhabited continents.
  • Natural experiments are inherently open to potential methodological criticisms.
  • Example: confounding effects of natural variation in additional variables besides the one of interest, as well as problems in inferring chains of causation from observed correlations between variables.

Para 4:

  • It is much more difficult to understand human history than to understand problems in fields of science where history is unimportant and where fewer individual variables operate.
  • Successful methodologies for analyzing historical problems have been worked out in several fields. Example: dinosaurs, nebulae and glaciers.

Verbal Ability

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