Reading Comprehension Test for SBI PO Prelims 2017 : Set -8

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Dear Readers,

Welcome to Online English Section  in letsstudytogether.co Here we are providing a set of English Quiz for SBI PO 2017 on  Reading Comprehension.

Q.Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

From ancient times, men have believed that, under certain peculiar circumstances, life could arise spontaneously: from the ooze of rivers could come eels and from the entrails of dead bulls, bees; worms from mud, and maggots from dead meat. This belief was held by Aristotle, Newton and Descartes, among many others, and apparently the great William Harvey too. The weight of centuries gradually disintegrated men’s beliefs in the spontaneous origin of maggots and mice, but the doctrine of spontaneous generation clung tenaciously to the question of bacterial origin.

In association with Buon, the Irish Jesuit priest John Needham declared that he could bring about at will the creation of living microbes in heat-sterilised broths, and presumably in propitiation theorized that God did not create living things directly but bade the earth andwater to bring them forth. In his Dictionaire Philosophique, Voltaire reflected that is was odd to read of Father Needham’s claim while atheists conversely should deny a Creator yet attributed to themselves the power of creating eels. But, wrote Thomas Huxley, “The great tragedy of science-the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact—which is so constantly being enacted under the eyes of philosophers, was played almost immediately for the benefit of Buffon and Needham”.

The Italian Abbe Spallanzani did any experiment. He showed that a broth sealed from the air while boiling never develops bacterial growths and hence never decomposes. To Needham’s objection that Spallanzani had ruined his broths and the air above them by excessive boiling. The Abbe replied by breaking the seals of his flasks. Air rushed in and bacterial growth began! But the essential conflict remained. Whatever Spallanzani and his followers did to remove seeds and contaminants was regarded by the spontaneous generationists as damaging to the

‘vital force’ from whence comes new life.

Thus doubt remained and into the controversy came the Titanic figure of Louis Pasteur. Believing that a solution to this problem was essential to the development of his theories concerning the role of bacteria in nature, Pasteur freely acknowledged the possibility that living bacteria very well might be arising a new form inanimate matter. To him the research problem was largely a technical one; to repeat the work of those who claimed to have observed bacterial entry. For the one that contended that life did not enter from the outside, the proof had to go to the question of possible contamination. Pasteur worked logically. He found during the experiments that after prolonged boiling, a broth would ferment only when air was admitted to it. Therefore, he contended either air contained a factor necessary for the spontaneous generation of life or viable germs were borne in by the air and seeded in the sterile nutrient broth. Pasteur designed ingenious flasks whose long S-shaped necks could be left open. Air

was trapped in the sinuous glass tube. Broths boiled in these flask tubes remained sterile. When their necks were snapped to admit ordinary air, bacterial growth would then commencebut not in every case. An occasional flask would remain sterile presumably because the bacterial population of the air is unevenly distributed. The forces of spontaneous generation would not be so erratic. Continuous skepticism drove Pasteur almost to fanatical efforts to control the ingredients of his experiments to destroy the doubts of the most skeptical. He ranged from the mountain air of Montanvert which he showed to be almost sterile, to those deep, clear wells whose waters had been rendered germ free by slow filltration thro ugh sandy soil. The latter discovery led to the familiar porcelain filters of the bacteriology laboratory. With pores small enough to exclude bacteria, solutions allowed to percolate through them could be reliably sterilised.

The argument raged on the soon spilled beyond the boundaries of science to become a burning religious and philosophical question of the day. For many, Pasteur’s conclusions caused conflict because they seemed simultaneously to support the Biblical account of creation while denying a variety of other philosophical systems. The public was soon caught up in the cross fire of a vigorous series of public lectures and demonstrations by leading exponents of both views, novelists, clergymen their adjuncts and friends. Perhaps the most famous of these evening in the theatre- competing perhaps with a great debate between Huxley and Bishop Wiber force for elegance of rhetoric—was Pasteur’s public lecture at the Sorbonne on April 7, 1864. Having shown his audience the swan necked flasks containing sterile broths, he concluded, “And therefore, gentleman, I could point to that liquid and say to you, I have taken my drop of water from the immensity of creation, and I have taken it full of the elements appropriated to the development of inferior beings. And I wait, I watch, I question it! – begging it to recommence for mew the beautiful spectacle of the first creation. But it is dumb, dumb since these experiments were begun several year ago; it is dumb because I have kept it from the only thing man does not know how to produce: from the germs that float in the air, from life, for life is a germ and a germ is Life. Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this impel experiment.” And it is not. Today these same flasks stand immutable: they are still free of microbial life.

It is an interesting fact that despite the ringing declaration of Pasteur, the issue did not die completely. And although far from healthy, it is not yet dead. In his fascinating biography of Pasteur, Rene Dubos has traced the later developments which saw new eruptions of the controversy, new technical progress and criticism, and new energetic figures in the breach of the battle such as Bastion, for and the immortal Tyndall against the doctrine of spontaneous generation. There was also new ‘sorrow’ for Pasteur as he read years later, in 1877, the last jottings of the great physiologist Claude Bernard and saw in them the ‘mystical’ suggestion that yeast may arise from grape juice. Even at this late date, Pasteur was stirred to new experiments again to prove to the dead Bernard and his followers the correctness of his position. It seems to me that spontaneous generation is not only a possibility but a completely reasonable possible which should never by relinquished from scientific thought, before men knew of bacteria they accepted the doctrine of spontaneous generation as the ‘only reasonable alternative’ to a belief is supernatural creation. But today, as we look for satisfaction at the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, we must not forget that science has rationally concluded that life once did originate of earth by spontaneous generation. It was really Pasteur’s evidence against spontaneous generation that for the first time brought the whole difficult question of the origin of life before the scientific world. In the above controversy, what was unreasonable was the parade of men who claimed to have ‘proved’ or who resolutely ‘believed in’ spontaneous generation on the face of proof-not that spontaneous generation cannot occur-but that their work was shot through with experimental error. The acceptable evidence also makes it clear that spontaneous generation, if it does not occur, must obviously be a highly improbably event under present conditions. Logic tells us that science can only prove an event improbable : it can never prove it impossible-and Gamow has appropriately remarked that nobody is really certain what would happen if a hermetically sealed can were opened after a couple of million years. Modern science agrees that it was highly improbable for life to have arisen in the pre-Cambrian seas, but it concluded, nevertheless, that there it did occur. With this, I think, Pasteur would agree.

Aside from their theoretical implications, these researchers had the great practical result of putting bacteriology on a solid footing. It was now clear how precisely careful one had to be to avoid bacterial contamination in the laboratory. We now knew that ‘sterile’ meant and we knew that there could be no such things as ‘partial sterilization’. The discovery of bacteria high in the upper atmosphere, in the mud of the deep sea bottom, in the waters of hot springs, and in the Arctic glaciers established bacterial ubiquity as almost absolute. In recognition of this, Lord Lister introduced aseptic technique into the practice of surgery. It was the revolution in technique alone that made possible modern bacteriology and the subsequent research connecting bacteria to phenomena of human concern, research, which today is more prodigious than ever. We are just beginning to understand the relationship of bacteria to certain human diseases, to soil chemistry, nutrition, and the phenomenon of antibiosis wherein a product of one organism (e.g. penicillin) is detrimental to another.

It is not an exaggeration then to say that the emergence of the cell theory represents biology’s most significant and fruitful advance. The realization that all plants and animals are composed of cells which are essentially alike, that cells are all formed by the same fundamental division process, that the total organism is a whole made up of the activities and inter-relations of its individual cells, opened up horizons we have not even begun to approach. The cell is a microcosm of life, for in its origin, nature and continuity resides the entire problem of biology.

1.It can be inferred from the passage that:
A. Huxley, Buffon and Needham were contemporaries
B. Buffon, Needham, Voltaire and Huxley were contemporaries
C. Voltaire wrote a treatise on Needham’s claim
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

2.Needham’s theory that ‘God did not create living things directly’ was posited as:
A. An attempt to support his assertion by religious doctrine
B. An attempt to placate his religious peers
C. An attempt at propitiating a possible offended God or the religious psyche of the time
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

3.One of the reasons for the conflict caused by Pasteur’s experiments was that:
A. They denied the existence of God as the creator
B. They seemed simultaneously to support the Biblical account of creation while denying a variety of other philosophical systems
C. Academicians and scientists refused to accept his theories
D. There were too many debates on the topic and this left the people confused
E. None of the above

4.The porcelain filters of the bacteriology laboratories owe their descent to:
A. Pasteur’s homeland
B. The well water of Montanvert that had been rendered germ free by slow filltration through sandy soil
C. Partial sterilization
D. Both (A) & (B)
E. None of the above

5.According to the passage:
A. Pasteur’s precursors in the field worked on the basis of spontaneous generation
B. Unlike his predecessors Pasteur worked on logical premises rather than arbitrary and
spontaneous discoveries
C. Pasteur stood to benefit largely from the work of his predecessors
D. Pasteur developed the ideas set forth by Voltaire and Needham
E. None of the above

6.According to the author:
A. It is an exaggeration to say that cell theory represents biology’s most significant and fruitful advance
B. Pasteur could not hold his own against the contenders
C. Cell theory rendered null and void all the other bacteriological theories of the time
D. The emergence of the cell theory represents biology’s most significant and fruitful advance
E. None of the above

7.What, according to the passage was Pasteur’s declaration to the world?
A. Nobody could deny the work done by him
B. Science would forever be indebted to his experiments in bacteriology
C. The doctrine of spontaneous generation would never recover from the mortal blow dealt to it by his experiments
C. Freedom of fear can be achieved by a simple intellectual explanation of the phenomenon
D. Those who refused to acknowledge his experiments would regret their skepticism
E. None of the above

8.Pasteur began his work on the basis of the contention that:
A. Either air contained a factor necessary for the spontaneous generation of life or viable germs were born in by the air and seeded in the sterile nutrient broth.
B. After prolonged boiling, a broth would ferment only when air was admitted to it.
C. Slow filtration through sandy soil.
D. Both (A) & (B)
E. None of the above

9.One of the results of the theoretical cross fire regarding bacteriology was that:
A. They denied the existence of God as the creator
B. They seemed simultaneously to support the Biblical account of creating while denying a variety of other philosophical systems
C. Academicians and scientists refused to accept his theories
D. There were too many debates on the topic and this left the people confused
E. None of the above

10.What according to the writer was the problem with the proponents of spontaneous generation?
A. Their work had no scientific basis
B. Their work was ruined by experimental errors
C. Their work had a real scientific value
D. Both (A) and (B)
E. All (A), (B) and (C)



Correct Answer:

1. B

It can be inferred from the passage, that Buffon, Needham, Voltaire and Huxley were all contemporaries. Option (b) is thus the right choice

2.C

The line from paragraph 2, “In association with Buon, the Irish Jesuit priest John Needham declared that ffhe could bring about at will the creation of living microbes in heat-sterilised broths, and presumably in propitiation theorized that God did not create living things directly but bade the earth and water to bring them forth” explains that option (c) is the right answer choice.

3.B

The line from paragraph 5, “Pasteur’s conclusions caused conFIict because they seemed simultaneously to support the Biblical account of creation while denying a variety of other philosophical systems” explains that option (b) is the right answer choice.

4.D

The line from paragraph 4,”He ranged from the mountain air of Montanvert which he showed to be almost sterile, to those deep, clear wells whose waters had been rendered germ free by slow FIltration through sandy soil. The latter discovery led to the familiar porcelain FIlters of the bacteriology laboratory” explains that option (b) is the right answer choice.

5.B

Pasture did not work on arbitrary or spontaneous discoveries. He worked on logical premises. This is evident from the 4th paragraph. Option (b) is the right choice.

6.A

The line from the last paragraph of the passage, “It is not an exaggeration then to say that the emergence of the cell theory represents biology’s most signiFIcant and fruitful advance” explains that option (d) is the right answer choice

7.C

The line from paragraph 5, “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this impel experiment” explains that option (c) is the right answer choice.

8.A

The line from paragraph 4, “he contended either air contained a factor necessary for the
spontaneous generation of life or viable germs were born in by the air and seeded in the sterilenutrient broth” explains that option (a) is the right answer choice.

9.A

The line from the passage, “We now knew that ‘sterile’ meant and we knew that there could be no such things as partial sterilization” explains that option (a) is the right answer choice.

10.B

The line from paragraph 6, “In the above controversy, what was unreasonable was the parade of men who claimed to have ‘proved’ or who resolutely ‘believed in’ spontaneous generation on the face of proof-not that spontaneous generation cannot occur-but that their work was shot through with experimental error” explains that option (b) is the right answer choice



       

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