Robert E. Peary was a well-known adventurer and arctic explorer who in 1909 set out to reach the North Pole. When he returned from the expedition, he claimed to have reached the pole on April 7, 1909. This report made him into an international celebrity. Though some historians have expressed doubts that Peary did in fact reach the North Pole, three arguments provide strong support for the truth of Peary's claim.
First, the National Geographic Society put together a committee that was instructed to conduct a thorough investigation of Peary's records and equipment. At the end of the investigation, the committee concluded that Peary's accounts were consistent and persuasive and declared that he had indeed reached the North Pole.
Second, a recent expedition provides support for Peary's claim that he reached the North Pole in only 37 days after setting out from Ellesmere Island off the coast of Greenland. Skeptics used to argue that Peary could not have traveled that fast, since even modern snowmobiles take longer to cover the same distance. However, a British explorer named Tom Avery recently made the same trek in less than 37 days. In fact, Avery used the same kind of dogsled and the same number and breed of dogs as Peary had. Thus, Peary's claims are not impossible, and he very well might have been telling the truth.
Third, there are photographs taken by Peary that support his claim to have reached the North Pole. Measuring the shadows in Peary's photographs makes it possible to calculate the Surf s position in the sun. The Surf s position established from the photographs corresponds exactly to the Surf s position as it should have been at the North Pole on that day. This provides strong evidence that Peary reached the North Pole and took the photographs there.
1. There’s no solid evidence that Robert Peary reached the North Pole.
2. The arguments cited in the reading selection are not convincing.
3. First, it is true that the National Geographic Society committee declared that Peary had indeed reached the North Pole, but the committee was not completely objective.
4. In fact, the committee was composed of Peary,s close friends who had contributed large sums of money to fund Peary’s trip.
5. Moreover, the investigation lasted only two days.
6. And according to Peary himself, the committee did not examine his records carefully.
7. So the committee,s conclusions seem biased and therefore are not trustworthy.
8. Second, the speed issue.
9. Tom Avery,s journey was different from Peary,s in important ways.
10. For example, Avery,s sled was similar to Peary,s sled, but Avery carried much less weight than Peary did, because Avery did not transport his food on the sled.
11. Avery,s food was dropped along the way by airplane.
12. Moreover, Avery encountered highly favorable weather conditions, unlike Peary who travelled in very unfavorable conditions.
13. So Avery,s speedy trip was too different from Peary,s to provide support for Peary,s claims.
14. Third, the photographs do not prove anything.
15. The techniques scientists use to determine the Sun,s position depend on measuring the shadows in the photographs very precisely.
16. Without a precise measurement of the shadows, we cannot establish the Sun,s exact position.
17. Now, Peary,s pictures were photographed a hundred years ago using a primitive camera that took fuzzy, slightly unfocused photographs.
18. Moreover, the photos have become faded and worn over time.
19. As a result, the shadows in Peary,s photographs look blurred and faded.
20. Those shadows cannot be used to calculate the position of the Sun with great accuracy.
21. So we cannot be confident the photos were really taken at the North Pole.
Both the reading passage and the listening material discuss the authenticity of the story that Peary has been to the North Pole. Although the reading supports that claim, the lecturer refuses to believe it with three strong arguments.
The reading passage presents the fact that the committee constituted by the National Geographic Society eventually proved the truth of Peary’s claim through an investigation of the record as well as the facilities of that trip. However, the speaker casts doubt on the objectivity of that conclusion with the arguments that several friends of Peary who financed his trip to the North Pole were included in that committee and the investigation was only two-day period with the careless examination of his records.
Moreover, the reading material displays the evidence that anther explorer, Tom Avery, succeeded to reach the North Pole with less time under the similar conditions experienced by Peary, which indicates the possibility of Peary successful exploration. In contrast, the lecturer in the listening argues that the experience of Avery could not soundly support the probability of Peary,s success due to the significant differences between the two journey that include the varied weather condition as well as the methods of food supply.
Furthermore, the author of the reading states that the photographs taken by Peary at the North Pole could verify his story, since the position of the Sun estimated through evaluating the shadows in the pictures was in accordance with the natural rule. On the contrary, the listening rebuts that statement by pointing out that the quality of those pictures is in a poor condition due to the fact that they were taken by the primitive camera and seem to be unclear after nearly a hundred years, which means the measurement based on those photos could not be definitely accurate and the position of the Sun in them could not be determined without doubts.