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(GMAT 800) Natural selection, the central doctrine of Darwinism

             Natural selection, the central doctrine of
             Darwinism, has been explained as the "survival of the
             fittest." On this process has depended the progress
             observable throughout organic nature to which the term
(5)         evolution is applied; although there has been from time
             to time degradation, this has had relation only to
             particular forms, organic life as a whole evidencing
             progress towards perfection. When man appeared as the
             culmination of evolution under terrestrial conditions,
(10)       natural selection would seem almost to have finished its
             work, which was taken up, however, by man himself, who
             was able by "artificial" selection to secure results
             similar to those which nature had attained. 
                  This is true especially in relation to animals, the
(15)       domestication of which has always been practiced by man,
             even while in a state of nature. Domestication is
             primarily a psychical process, but it is attended with
             physical changes consequent on confinement and variation
             in food and habits. This alone would hardly account for
(20)       the great number of varieties among animals that have
             been long domesticated, and it is probable that the
             cultivation through breeding of stocks or races has been
             practiced since very early times. In relation to man,
             this sense of cultivation must be extended to embrace
(25)       the rearing and training of children—cultivation in
             its widest sense, in which is always implied the idea of
             improvement.
                  Plato, in his Republic, proposed certain
             arrangements as to marriage and the bringing up of
(30)       children that he thought would improve the race, and
             hence be beneficial to the State. The State was to Plato
             all in all, and he considered that it should form one
             great family. This idea could not be carried into
             effect, however, so long as independent families
(35)       existed, and therefore those arrangements had for one of
             their chief aims the abolition of what we regard as
             family life. The advantage which was supposed to accrue
             to the State by the absence of separate families is
             expressed by Plato in a marginal note: "There will be no
(40)       private interests among them, and therefore no lawsuits
             or trials for assault or violence to elders."

With which of the following statements about domestication would the author most likely agree?

A.    It is a phenomenon that occurs only among animals
B.    It is more physically significant than psychically significant
C.    It encompasses more than just the cultivation of a species
D.    It applies equally to humans and to other kinds of animal
E.    It has always existed in one guise or another

Explanation:

This question asks you to extrapolate from the text and identify a statement about domestication--discussed primarily in the second paragraph--that mesh with the author's overall point in the passage.

a. This is trivially true at best, especially given that humans are counted as animals too.
b. This is contradicted in the second paragraph: "domestication is primarily a psychical process."
c. The second paragraph of the passage essentially works to contradict this statement, as it makes the case for domestication and cultivation being fundamentally similar, the former being a "sense" of the latter.
d. This is the credited response. It correctly identifies the movement in the passage from discussion of animals in general to human domestication, using the notion of domestication as a pivoting point.
e. This is an overstatement: the author says that it is "probable" that cultivation has been practiced "since very early times."


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