Adverbs seem unnecessary, even redundant, to many editors. They suggest replacing an adverb with a stronger, more specific verb. I disagree.
Here is a sentence from C. S. Lewis's "Problem of Pain":
We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are, as Newman said, rebels who must lay down our arms.
In that sentence, the word merely has substance behind it, and the word stresses in that context how humans cannot be reduced to just one trait. In other words, in my opinion there is not a stronger verb which can replace the word merely.
My questions are two:
Should I, generally speaking, replace adverbs?
If so, how?