留学考试准备:(22)慎重对待所谓的解题技巧

by xiaolai on 2010/04/22 · 4 comments

in 留学考试准备

为了把道理说清楚,其实只需做一道题,但是为了之后的讲解方便,就把整篇文章先放在这里:

In July of 1994, an astounding series of events took place. The world anxiously watched as, every few hours, a hurtling chunk of comet plunged into the atmosphere of Jupiter. All of the twenty-odd fragments, collectively called comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 after its discoverers, were once part of the same object, now dismembered and strung out along the same orbit. This cometary train, glistening like a string of pearls, had been first glimpsed only a few months before its fateful impact with Jupiter, and rather quickly scientists had predicted that the fragments were on a collision course with the giant planet. The impact caused an explosion clearly visible from Earth, a bright flaming fire that quickly expanded as each icy mass incinerated itself. When each fragment slammed at 60 kilometers per second into the dense atmosphere, its immense kinetic energy was transformed into heat, producing a superheated fireball that was ejected back through the tunnel the fragment had made a few seconds earlier. The residues from these explosions left huge black marks on the face of Jupiter, some of which have stretched out to form dark ribbons.

Although this impact event was of considerable scientific import, it especially piqued public curiosity and interest. Photographs of each collision made the evening television newscast and were posted on the Internet. This was possibly the most open scientific endeavor in history. The face of the largest planet in the solar system was changed before our very eyes. And for the very first time, most of humanity came to fully appreciate the fact that we ourselves live on a similar target, a world subject to catastrophe by random assaults from celestial bodies. That realization was a surprise to many, but it should not have been. One of the great truths revealed by the last few decades of planetary exploration is that collisions between bodies of all sizes are relatively commonplace, at least in geologic terms, and were even more frequent in the early solar system.

The word “target” most probably refers to:
(A) Earth
(B) Jupiter
(C) the solar system
(D) a comet

这是一道所谓的“指代题”,这个“target”指的究竟是什么呢?这道题原本很简单,却很少有人做对。为什么呢?因为大多数考生都被所谓的“解题技巧”洗脑了,以为一定要遵循所谓的“就近指代”原则:

所谓就近指代,就是被指代对象 通常在指代词前不远处,如本句或上一句中。有时也出现在更前面的一句中。

事实上,这样的论断实际上根本没办法作为解题原则使用,这样的论断因其只不过是“通常”而总是存在例外(难道考试的时候最常考的不是“例外”的么?):

Absurd as their opinions might sound, the staff were determined to carry out the plan without any additional support.

在上面这个句子中,所属格代词“their”所指代的名词就不在“their” 之前,而是“their 之后的“the staff”。

而刚刚的那道题,“target”所指代的是“Earth”,但无论往前看还是往后看,都找不到与这句话直接有关的 “ Earth”这个词——“Earth”这个词远在第一段曾经出现过一次(整篇文章中出现的唯一一次),但它所在 的那句话与当前的这句话基本上没有任何直接联系。要是一定按照江湖上流行的各种所谓的“解题技巧”解题的话,这道题根本无解!

想想看吧, 这道题实际上再太简单不过了,只需要把四个选项逐个替换“target”代到当前句子里去:

“… we ourselves live on ____.”

请问,我们人类活在哪啊?不是在 “Jupiter”或者“a comet”上吧?——(B)和(D)排除;我们确实活在“the solar system”中,但是,“target”是“comet”的目标,而说“the solar system”是“target of a comet”显然说不通么——(C)也要排除;于是,答案只能是(A) Earth了——事实上根本不用排除法,放眼望过去就应该直接选(A)。

荒谬的“解题技巧”比比皆是、层出不穷,却信之者众、前仆后继。尽管听起来很奇怪,但这样的现象确实存在:有些事情越荒谬,相信的人越多,相信的程度越 强。Michael Shermer曾经专门写过一本书论述这种普遍存在的心理现象,书名是Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time1 。这种貌似古怪的现象之根源在于很多的时候人们索要的并非“答案”,而是“解脱”——他们不是“确信”,而是“宁愿相信”,因为那些所谓技巧要真的并不存 在的话,他们就觉得自己没希望了(注意,实际情况更可能只是“觉得”没希望,而非“真的”没希望,但他们并不那么“觉得”)……

哪怕用脚指头想想就知道,如果真的有什么“技巧”可以做到在“考生实力很差”的情况下,运用它可以做到“考分却非常高”,那这种“技巧”是交个千八百块就 学得到、收个千八百块就有人肯教的么?我觉得如果我真的掌握了这种技巧的话,在当今这个世界,招一个徒弟收他几十万学费都不过分——因为那“技巧”能够改 变的可是他一生的命运啊!只可惜,我确实不会,也没有这类如此无价的所谓“技巧”傍身,否则的话……

只要人群中傻子的数量积累到一定数量,就必然会出现至少一个疯子,靠骗骗傻子就可以富贵一生;而有趣的是那些遇到疯子的傻子们倒也好像无所谓,无怨无悔, 生活得很幸福……噫,这个神奇的世界!

  • http://lwzz.xicp.net/action lwzz

    噫,这个神奇的世界!

  • shanyuanliang

    今年寒假的时候我就去上了XDF的托福班,阅读课听得尤为难受,就是因为那个老师时常鼓吹“读不懂也没有关系,做对就行了”……我就奇怪了,难道NYT的报道都附着题让你做么?读文章就是为做题么?

  • http://flyink.org flyink

    傻子:普遍浮躁,急功近利。
    疯子:自以为是。。。

  • Avatar

    确实是

    我够不着疯子 也不要但傻子、、、

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