It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)________ by politics: well aware of
the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not permit them to
(ii)________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge,
the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution
that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.
|(G) plausibility of our hypotheses
|(H) certainty of our entitlement
|(I) superficiality of our theories
The overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the author of the book is being
complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that
the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is "obscure," since enhancing and
underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing. Choosing "obscure" clarifies
the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with "obscure" is "overshadowed." Notice that trying to fill
the first blank before filling the second blank is hard — each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since
the third blank requires a phrase that matches "enormous gaps" and "sparseness of our observations," the best choice is
"superficiality of our theories."
Thus the correct answer is Choice A overshadowed, Choice E obscure and Choice I superficiality of our theories.