Main Point-SN. The correct answer choice is (C)
Since this is a fact-set stimulus with a strong conditional reasoning component, a typical Must Be True question will probably require us to use the conditional relationships between the facts and draw an additive inference from them. One simple way to do this would be to diagram these relationships in the following manner:
SNP = study of natural resources
L = leisure
PR = plentiful resources
- Premise #1: SNP → L (study of natural processes requires leisure)
Premise #2: L → PR (leisure requires plentiful resources)
Premise #3: SNPES (the early societies studied natural processes)
Given that the early societies studied natural processes and such study required leisure, it is reasonable to conclude that the early societies had plentiful resources:
SNPES → LES → PRES
Answer choice (C) is therefore correct.
Answer choice (A): This is a Mistaken Reversal of the additive inference from the first two premises (SNP → PR). Even though the study of natural processes requires plentiful resources, the availability of such resources is no guarantee that such studies would ever take place. Plentiful resources represent a necessary, but insufficient condition for the study of natural processes. This answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (B): The stimulus provides no evidence for the conclusion that having theoretical knowledge of the principles of plant generation and growth is a necessary condition for the cultivation of plants. This answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer. See discussion above.
Answer choice (D): Since the author never compares agricultural and nonagricultural societies, the stimulus provides no evidence for this conclusion.
Answer choice (E): Given that the last sentence of the stimulus states that "these complex discoveries were the result of the active study of natural processes," it is unlikely that early societies could have discovered cultivation by accident. If this were true, the author's argument would be undermined. This answer choice is incorrect.