Whom does "Born decades ... scientific community" modify

evergreenhomeland

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone:

Whom does "Born decades ... scientific community" modify? Ingersoll or his countrymen?

Born decades before cities were illuminated by electricity, before the role of bacteria in the transmission of disease was understood, before Darwin’s revolutionary insight that humans were descended from lower animals was fully accepted even within the scientific community, Ingersoll was the most outspoken and influential voice in a movement that was to forge a secular intellectual bridge into the 20th century for many of his countrymen.


The source is the essay "A New Birth of Reason" by Susan Jacoby from The American Scholar.
 
  • Liam Lew's

    Senior Member
    Thanks for your explanation.
    Well, it was rather a statement than an explanation.;)

    It can only refer to "Ingersoll" because it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

    To understand the sentence better one could omit all the additional information:
    Born decades before cities were illuminated by electricity, [........., .......,]Ingersoll was the most outspoken and influential voice in a movement (that was to forge a secular intellectual bridge into the 20th century for many of his countrymen).
     
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