The final quarter of the nineteenth century marked a turning point in the history of biology— biologists became less interested in applying an ideal of historical explanation deductively to organic function and more interested in discerning the causes of vital processes through experimental manipulation. But it is impossible to discuss the history of biology in the nineteenth century without emphasizing that those areas of biology most in the public eye had depended on historical explanation. Wherever it was applied, historical explanation was deemed causal explanation. The biologist-as-historian and the general historian of human events dealt with comparable phenomena and assumed necessarily a common mode of explanation.
Nineteenth-century biologists found a historical explanation of organic function attractive partly because their observation of the formation of a new cell from a preexisting cell seemed to confirm a historical explanation of cell generation. The same direct observation of continuous stages of development was also possible when they examined the complex sequence of events of embryogenesis. In both cases, the observer received a concrete impression that the daughter cell was brought into being, or caused, by the prior cell. The argument that these scientists employed confuses temporal succession and causal explanation, of course, but such confusion is the heart of most historical explanation.
Not surprisingly, the evolutionary biologists of the nineteenth century encountered a particularly troublesome problem in their attempts to document historical explanation convincingly: the factual record of the history of life on earth (e.g., that provided by fossils) was incomplete. The temporal continuity of living forms was convincing, but was an assumption that was difficult to uphold when one compared species or organisms forming any two stages of the evolutionary record. Nineteenth-century biologists recognized this problem and attempted to resolve it. Their solution today appears to be only verbal, but was then regarded as eminently causal. The fact of evolution demanded some connection between all reproducing individuals and the species that they compose, as well as between living species and their extinct ancestors. Their solution, the concept of heredity, seemed to fill in an admittedly deficient historical record and seemed to complete the argument for a historical explanation of evolutionary events.
heredity was only in the last paragraph, not important enough to make it the primary purpose of the essay当前版本由 216505pr 更新于2021-11-04 17:09:13 感谢由 216505pr 对此题目的解答所做出的贡献。
But it is impossible to discuss the history of biology in the nineteenth century without emphasizing that those areas of biology most in the public eye had depended on historical explanation.开头处，作者就已经强调了历史解释对十九世纪生物学家的重要性。在接下来的文章中，作者描述了十九世纪生物学家对于历史解释的应用。所以C没有问题。迷惑选项是B，文中实际并没讲到历史解释是否促进了生物的进步
第一段阐述到19世纪末期，生物学家已经开始从historical explanation转向experimentation, 但是Historical explanation重要性极高；第二段举了个例子，说为什么进化论生物学在19世纪家发现historical explanation如此好用；第三段提出一个historical explanation使用中的问题，常常有历史evidence缺失，于是乎，进一步的生物学家提出了一个解释the concept of heredity 去填补漏洞。overall, 的确强调的是Historical explanation在19世纪对生物学家的影响力，从不可或缺，到举例子其实用性，到启发出新的solution。选项B中的theories of history的确是个大迷惑，细想一下文章中根本没有提到这个概念，GMAT就很喜欢把看似文章中讲过的概率拼凑起来，迷惑我们这种眼神不好的。。
我觉得整篇文章讲的就是historical explanation在生物领域记载方面的作用和问题，于是我选了B...现在想想B的theories of history不对吧，它只是单纯的讲historcial explanation
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