The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

Many human phenomena and characteristics - such as behaviors, beliefs, economies, genes, incomes, life expectancies, and other things - are influenced both by geographic factors and by non-geographic factors. Geographic factors mean physical and biological factors tied to geographic location, including climate, the distributions of wild plant and animal species, soils, and topography. Non-geographic factors include those factors subsumed under the term culture, other factors subsumed under the term history, and decisions by individual people. . . .

[T]he differences between the current economies of North and South Korea . . . cannot be attributed to the modest environmental differences between [them] . . . They are instead due entirely to the different [government] policies . . . At the opposite extreme, the Inuit and other traditional peoples living north of the Arctic Circle developed warm fur clothes but no agriculture, while equatorial lowland peoples around the world never developed warm fur clothes but often did develop agriculture. The explanation is straightforwardly geographic, rather than a cultural or historical quirk unrelated to geography. . . . Aboriginal Australia remained the sole continent occupied only by hunter/gatherers and with no indigenous farming or herding . . . [Here the] explanation is biogeographic: the Australian continent has no domesticable native animal species and few domesticable native plant species. Instead, the crops and domestic animals that now make Australia a food and wool exporter are all non-native (mainly Eurasian) species such as sheep, wheat, and grapes, brought to Australia by overseas colonists.

Today, no scholar would be silly enough to deny that culture, history, and individual choices play a big role in many human phenomena. Scholars don’t react to cultural, historical, and individual-agent explanations by denouncing “cultural determinism,” “historical determinism,” or “individual determinism,” and then thinking no further. But many scholars do react to any explanation invoking some geographic role, by denouncing “geographic determinism” . . .

Several reasons may underlie this widespread but nonsensical view. One reason is that some geographic explanations advanced a century ago were racist, thereby causing all geographic explanations to become tainted by racist associations in the minds of many scholars other than geographers. But many genetic, historical, psychological, and anthropological explanations advanced a century ago were also racist, yet the validity of newer non-racist genetic etc. explanations is widely accepted today.

Another reason for reflex rejection of geographic explanations is that historians have a tradition, in their discipline, of stressing the role of contingency (a favorite word among historians) based on individual decisions and chance. Often that view is warranted . . . But often, too, that view is unwarranted. The development of warm fur clothes among the Inuit living north of the Arctic Circle was not because one influential Inuit leader persuaded other Inuit in 1783 to adopt warm fur clothes, for no good environmental reason.

A third reason is that geographic explanations usually depend on detailed technical facts of geography and other fields of scholarship . . . Most historians and economists don’t acquire that detailed knowledge as part of the professional training.

Question 8

The examples of the Inuit and Aboriginal Australians are offered in the passage to show:


Option B is the correct answer because the passage uses examples like the Inuit and Aboriginal Australians to illustrate the influence of physical circumstances, particularly environmental factors, on human behavior and cultural practices. The discussion about the development of warm fur clothes among the Inuit due to the Arctic environment and the absence of indigenous farming in Aboriginal Australia because of the lack of domesticable native species underscores how physical circumstances dictate certain aspects of human behavior and shape cultural adaptations. Therefore, Option B accurately captures the main idea conveyed by the examples provided in the passage.

Option A is not explicitly emphasized in the passage; the focus is more on how environmental factors influence behavior and cultures.

Option C: The passage doesn't explicitly highlight self-sufficiency but rather the impact of specific environmental factors on the development of societies.

Option D is not entirely incorrect, but Option B more precisely captures the emphasis on physical circumstances dictating human behavior and cultures in the context of the examples provided in the passage.

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