Feeling blue about the world? “Cheer up.” says science writer Matt Ridley. “The world has never been a better place to live in, and it will keep on getting better both for humans and for nature.”
Ridley calls himself a rational optimist—rational, because he's carefully weighed the evidence; optimistic, because that evidence shows human progress to be both unavoidable and good. And this is what he's set out to prove from a unique point of view in his most recent book, The Rational Optimist. He views mankind as a grand enterprise that, on the whole, has done little but progress for 100,000 years. He backs his findings with hard facts gathered through years of research.
Here's how he explains his views.
1 ) Shopping fuels invention
It is reported that there are more than ten billion different products for sale in London alone. Even allowing for the many people who still live in poverty, our own generation has access to more nutritious food, more convenient transport, bigger houses, better cars, and, of course, more pounds and dollars than any who lived before us. This will continue as long as we use these things to make other things. The more we specialize and exchange, the better off we'll be.
2) Brilliant advances
One reason we are richer, healthier, taller, cleverer, longer-lived and freer than ever before is that the four most basic human needs—food, clothing, fuel and shelter—have grown a lot cheaper. Take one example. In 1800 a candle providing one hour's light cost six hours' work. In the 1880s the same light from an oil lamp took 15 minutes' work to pay for. In 1950 it was eight seconds. Today it's half second.
3 ) Let's not kill ourselves for climate change
Mitigating (减轻) climate change could prove just as damaging to human welfare as climate change itself. A child that dies from indoor smoke in a village, where the use of fossil-fuel (化石燃料) electricity is forbidden by well-meaning members of green political movements trying to save the world, is just as great a tragedy as a child that dies in a flood caused by climate change. If climate change proves to be mild, but cutting carbon causes real pain, we may well find that we have stopped a nose??bleed by putting a tourniquet (止血带) around our necks.
1. What is the theme of Ridley's most recent book?
A. Weakness of human nature.
B. Concern about climate change.
C. Importance of practical thinking.
D. Optimism about human progress.
2. How does Ridley look at shopping?
A. It encourages the creation of things.
B. It results in shortage of goods.
C. It demands more fossil fuels.
D. It causes a poverty problem.
3. The candle and lamp example is used to show that ________.
A. oil lamps give off more light than candles
B. shortening working time brings about a happier life
C. advanced technology helps to produce better candles
D. increased production rate leads to lower cost of goods
4. What does the last sentence of the passage imply?
A. Cutting carbon is necessary in spite of the huge cost.
B. Overreaction to climate change may be dangerous.
C. People's health is closely related to climate change.
D. Careless medical treatment may cause great pain.
1．D 细节理解题。根据第二段第一句“Ridley calls himself a rational optimist—rational, because he's carefully weighed the evidence; optimistic, because that evidence shows human progress...” Ridley 自称是一个理性的乐观主义者，所谓理性是因为他仔细权衡证据；所谓乐观是因为这些证据表明人类进步是不可避免的，而且也是十分美好的。这就是他在近期的一本书当中以全新的视角向人们证明的主题。故此处D项正确。
2．A 推理判断题。根据第一个小标题题目“Shopping fuels invention”以及其内容最后一句“The more we specialize and exchange, the better off we'll be.”可知，购物刺激发明创造，刺激消费，促进生产，这种情况越多，我们将会越富有。故此处A项正确。