Summarize Written Text – Read the passage below and summarize it using one sentence (between 5 and 75 words). Type your response in the box at the bottom of the screen. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points in the passage.
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PTE Writing – Summarize Written Text
1. Read and summarize written text in your words.
All non-human animals are constrained by the tools that nature has bequeathed them through natural selection. They are not capable of striving towards truth; they simply absorb information and behave in ways useful for their survival. The kinds of knowledge they require of the world have been largely pre-selected by evolution. No animal is capable of asking questions or generating problems that are irrelevant to its immediate circumstances or its evolutionarily-designed needs. When a beaver builds a dam, it doesn’t ask itself why it does so, or whether there is a better way of doing it. When a swallow flies south, it doesn’t wonder why it is hotter in Africa or what would happen if it flew still further south.
Humans do ask themselves these and many other kinds of questions, questions that have no relevance, indeed make little sense, in the context of evolved needs and goals. What marks out humans is our capacity to go beyond our naturally-defined goals such as the need to find food, shelter or a mate and to establish human-created goals.
Some contemporary thinkers believe that there are indeed certain questions that humans are incapable of answering because of our evolved nature. Steven Pinker, for instance, argues that “Our minds evolved by natural selection to solve problems that were life-and-death matters to our ancestors, not to commune with correctness or to answer any question we are capable of asking. We cannot hold ten thousand words in our short-term memory. We cannot see the ultra-violet light. We cannot mentally rotate an object in the fourth dimension. And perhaps we cannot solve conundrums like free will and sentience.”Show Sample Summary >>>
2. Read and summarize written text in your words.
Charles Darwin first expounded the idea of natural selection in his 1859 book, Origin of Species. Before Darwin, the idea that evolution had taken place was becoming widely accepted in the scientific establishment. In Origin of Species, he demonstrated two things; that natural selection provided the mechanism needed to drive evolution and that sufficient time had passed for natural selection to have worked. This famous text, along with Darwin’s 1871 work The Descent of Man, placed human beings firmly in the animal kingdom for the first time and permanently altered our vision of ourselves.
Darwin’s experience of animal husbandry (in particular breeding pigeons) and selective plant breeding informed his idea of natural selection. He noted that bloodlines could be changed fairly quickly through selective breeding and argued that a similar process could take place in nature whereby the attributes of individuals who were more successful at reproducing than others would spread through the population over time. Organisms that were better suited to a particular environment in any generation would have an advantage that would ensure that the next generation contained a high percentage of their offspring.
Natural selection, then, is the filter which allows only those organisms with the best traits to produce offspring successfully. Although chance always plays a role in deciding the fate of an individual organism, over a number of generations advantages conferred by particular traits make it more likely that organisms who have those traits survive for long enough to reproduce. Over time this leads to organisms which are better adapted to the environment they live in than their predecessors were.
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