Page Break 077 - Andriana geosci1 The US government and most other governments of the world provide support for scientists but not for astrologers palm

Page Break 077 - Andriana geosci1 The US government and...

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Unformatted text preview: Andriana geosci1. The US government, and most other governments of the world, provide support for scientists but not for astrologers, palm readers, or telephone “psychics”. Why do governments support scientists? A. Scientists help humans do useful things, which makes the humans healthier, wealthier, etc., and governments often like to support health and wealth. B. Scientists use a careful method, and governments are always committed to supporting the use of careful methods. C. Scientists all drink Diet Pepsi because they think it makes them look sexy, and governments are all controlled by the powerful Pepsi Corporation and so the governments support the Diet-Pepsi-drinking scientists. D. Scientists are amazingly sexy, and government functionaries simply cannot control themselves in the presence of such overwhelming sexiness and throw money at the scientists (sometimes tucking tens and twenties into the pockets of the scientists’ lab coats). E. Scientists learn the Truth, and governments are always deeply committed to learning the truth. The government is often interested in seeing people live longer, or improving the economy, or having better and more-accurate explosive devices for the military, or in many other things that improve our lives, and science plus engineering and scientific medicine are better than any other human activity at delivering these. A cynic might say that politicians are often not all that interested in finding the Truth. And a realist would note that science is being improved all the time, and because you cannot improve on the Truth, science has not (yet?) learned the Truth. There are many methods in the world, some of them are careful, and many of them are not funded by the government. Some of our spouses or significant others may think that some scientists are sexy, but many other sexy persons are not funded by the government. One of the professors has been known to drink a competitor of Pepsi on occasion, and some scientists refrain from soft drinks entirely. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, A Your Response:, A 2., A scientist gains knowledge about how the world works, and uses that information to successfully predict what will happen in an experiment. This proves that the scientist’s knowledge is: , A., Close; no one really knows what is going on, but people sort of know. B., Cheating. C., True; you can’t get it right unless you know what is going on. D., One or more of True, lucky, or close to being true (or cheating), but we can’t tell which. E., Lucky; no one knows what is going on, so only lucky people get things right. If you guessed “heads” before a coin flip, and it came up heads, that would NOT prove that you can predict all coin flips; you will get half of such guesses correct by chance. You might be cheating, you might be lucky, or you might have figured something out. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, D Your Response:, D 3., The great scientist Alfred Wegener proposed that continents have moved, while other scientists such as T.C. Chamberlin argued against Wegener. Wegener’s ideas eventually won, and are now widely accepted, because: , A., Wegener’s ideas appealed to dead white European males, whereas Chamberlin’s didn’t. B., Wegener’s ideas appalled dead white European males, and we all know that in this politically correct era, dead white European males cannot get a fair shake. C., Wegener won the Nobel prize. D., Wegener’s ideas did a better job of predicting the results of new observations and experiments. E., Wegener’s ideas were more beautiful, and so were favored by the intellectual elite. Unlike painting or literature, scientific inquiry has a well-defined procedure for figuring out if Wegener's ideas are better or if Chamberlin had it right all along. In looking at a painting, we can ask different people what they think, or we can make up our own mind on whether we like it or not, and that is perfectly valid. In science, we have to ask: does the idea fit with the way the world works? Can I predict the results of the next observation better using Wegener’s ideas or Chamberlin’s? As it turns out, Chamberlin’s ideas didn’t predict things very well, and Wegener’s did. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, D Your Response:, D 4., Science professors teach certain theories and not others (Newton’s physics, and not Aristotle’s, or Darwin’s evolution and not Lamarck’s). If you were to ask the professors why, a majority would tell you (more or less; not using exactly these words but with this meaning): , A., “Lamarck and Aristotle are so right-wing, and you know all of us professors are part of a vast left-wing conspiracy.” B., “Nature has repeatedly been asked (through experiment) which is better, and we are teaching the ones that made successful predictions, and not teaching the ones that failed.” C., “Hey, I’m the professor, shut up.” D., “Lamarck and Aristotle are so left-wing, and you know all of us professors are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy cleverly dressed up to look like a vast left-wing conspiracy.” E., “Well, we have to teach something in exchange for all those wads of cash you students pay, and this is more fun.” You can be quite confident that the big-picture items in science class have been tested against reality and found to work. There still might be someone in academe who would reply with B (your professors remember a couple of their professors who could have said such a thing) (the technical term for anyone who would reply with the quote in B is “jerk”), but that is pretty rare today. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, B Your Response:, B 5., Your boss has assigned you to get the low-down on the latest wonder-drug, and to be darn sure to get it right. You would be wise to consult: , A., The web site of the manufacturer of the wonder drug; they know more about it than anyone else does. B., The New York Times article quoting the discoverer of the drug on how wonderful it is. C., The Wikipedia; everything they publish is up-to-date. D., The web site in the email you received with the subject line “Grow your ***** naturally with new wonder drug”. E., The article in the Journal of the American Medical Society, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reporting on the discovery and testing of the drug. No source of information is perfect, but the refereed articles in learned journals put immense effort into “getting it right”. The web has some reliable information, but probably most of the information on the web is not especially reliable. The web is very inexpensive, and lots of people put junk on it. The Wikipedia gets a lot of things right, but it is a distilled synopsis of the real stuff. Most newspapers are around for the long haul, and try to make the news fairly accurate, although some newspapers do have agendas, and the editorial pages are not especially accurate. But, if the report is on the views of a public figure, the newspaper may accurately report what the public figure said, but what the public figure said may be less than completely accurate. And while you are welcome to believe that an unsolicited email promising to grow your ***** will do so… don’t count on it. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 6., The peer review process, in which scientists submit write-ups of their ideas and experiments to a set of colleagues who judge how good the ideas are before the ideas can be published, is: , A., The way all publications do business, including the popular press such as the New York Times, Centre Daily Times, National Enquirer, etc. B., Always infallible. C., A way to keep unpopular or dangerous ideas out of public circulation. D., A way for the Scientific Establishment to maintain control over ideas and theories. E., A useful and important, even if imperfect, mechanism of quality-control for the scientific literature. The peer review process applies to scientific publications and works like this: I get an idea and do some experiments to test it and write down the results of the tests. I send the paper to a scientific journal (Nature, Journal of Geophysical Research, etc.) and the editor of the journal sends it to a number of other scientists who can best judge whether my methods are good, whether my results are new and interesting, and whether my paper ought to be published. They don't base their judgements on whether they like me or not or whether I'm a nice guy/gal or not (or at least they ought not base their judgments on that, though it does happen: we're human!). They don't base their judgements on whether my ideas are popular or unpopular. They are only supposed to ask: is this really new (i.e., did somebody else think of this and publish it already somewhere else?) and are the methods used accurate and repeatable? , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 7., If you could drill a hole straight to the center of the Earth, and keep track of what the hole is going through, you would find: , A., If your hole started at the North Pole, you would go through different layers of different materials, but if your hole started at the equator, you would go through one sort of material all the way to the center. B., You would go through one sort of material all the way to the center, because the planet is all mixed up. C., You would strike Diet Pepsi when you got to the center. D., If your hole started at the equator, you would go through different layers of different materials, but if your hole started at the North Pole, you would go through one sort of material all the way to the center. E., You would go through one sort of material, and then a different, denser material, and then a still-different, still-denser material, because the planet is made of concentric layers, sort of like an onion. The planet is onion-like, with an inner core, then an outer core, a mantle (which has several sub-layers), and a crust. The core is waaaaay too hot and high-pressure for Diet Pepsi. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 8., The scientific study of the origin of the planet has taken a lot of effort, and still generates much discord outside the scientific community although almost no discord within the scientific community. The scientifically accepted history is: , A., The Earth formed from older materials that fell together under gravity about 6000 years ago. B., The Earth formed three minutes after the Big Bang, as the cosmic microwave background radiation cooled off, about 14 billion years ago, as chronicled in Steven Weinberg’s famous book “The First Three Minutes”. C., The Earth was formed from the deep-space wind, generated by the gas-passing activities of giant space marmots, about 4.6 billion years ago. D., The Earth formed from older materials that fell together under gravity about 4.6 billion years ago. E., The Earth formed in the Big Bang about 6000 years ago. The Big Bang is estimated as having occurred about 14 billion years ago. Stars that eventually formed in the wake of the Big Bang led to production of elements such as iron and silicon that are common in the Earth—we are formed from second-generation stardust, which “got it together” to make the planet about 4.6 billion years ago. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, D Your Response:, D 9., National Parks are: , A., Regions containing key geological resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of future generations. B., Regions containing key bumper-cars games that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the current presidential administration. C., Regions containing key biological resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation. D., Regions containing key cultural resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation. E., Regions containing key biological, geological or cultural resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation and future generations. Old Faithful, the giant sequoias, and Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings are waiting for you, and your grandchildren. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 10., In chemistry, the type of an atom (what element it is) is determined by: , A., The number of protons it has in a cloud around the nucleus. B., The number of neutrons it has in a cloud around the nucleus. C., The number of electrons it exchanges with its neighbors. D., The number of neutrons it contains in its nucleus. E., The number of protons it contains in its nucleus. Physicists change the name when the number of charged, massive protons in the nucleus changes. Adding one proton makes a HUGE difference to how an atom behaves, and so deserves a new name. The neutrons hang around in the nucleus to keep the protons from kicking each other out. Exchanging electrons is important, but doesn’t change the element type. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 11., Chemists recognize many different elements, such as gold, or oxygen, or carbon. Suppose you got some carbon, and started splitting it into smaller pieces. The smallest piece that would still be called “carbon” would be: , A., An electron B., A neutron C., A proton D., A quark E., An atom We can break matter down into atoms (Greek for “not cuttable” because the Greeks didn’t have atom smashers or other exotic tools that would allow cutting atoms into smaller pieces). All of the wrong answers here are smaller pieces of atoms, but they wouldn’t be gold any more; you can make any of the elements out of these pieces. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 12., Chemical reactions involve: , A., The sharing or trading of neutrons. B., The sharing or trading of partons. C., The sharing or trading of protons. D., The sharing or trading of electrons. E., The sharing or trading of quarks. The clouds of electrons around the nuclei of atoms serve as the Velcro of the universe. Atoms gain or lose electrons and then stick together by static electricity, or else share electrons and stick together inside the shared cloud. The nuclei with their protons and neutrons (which are themselves composed of quarks, which also were called partons at one time) are the things held together by the electronic Velcro of chemistry. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, D Your Response:, D ///, 11 Points Missed, 0 Percentage, 100% 1., Scientists receive government funding primarily because: , A., They use a careful method. B., They are all sexy. C., They help humans do useful things. D., They learn the Truth. E., They all drink Diet Pepsi because they think it makes them look sexy. The government is often interested in seeing people live longer, or improving the economy, or having better and more-accurate explosive devices for the military, or in many other things that improve our lives, and science plus engineering and scientific medicine are better than any other human activity at delivering these. A cynic might say that politicians are often not all that interested in finding the Truth. And a realist would note that science is being improved all the time, and because you cannot improve on the Truth, science has not (yet?) learned the Truth. There are many methods in the world, some of them are careful, and many of them are not funded by the government. Some of our spouses or significant others may think that some scientists are sexy, but many other sexy persons are not funded by the government. One of the professors has been known to drink a competitor of Pepsi on occasion, and some scientists refrain from soft drinks entirely. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, C Your Response:, C 2., You hang around with the professor, who is a scientist when he’s not teaching. You observe that the professor learns a lot about how certain parts of the world behave, and the professor then uses that information to successfully predict the outcome of an experiment. What does this demonstrate? , A., The professor’s knowledge is close to being True; no professor really knows what is going on, but some professors are sort of close to knowing what is going on. B., The professor was lucky; no professor could ever know what is going on, so a professor who successfully predicted something must be really lucky. C., The professor’s knowledge is True; the professor couldn’t have made the successful prediction without knowing exactly what is going on. D., Unless the professor was cheating, the professor either has true knowledge, or was lucky, or has knowledge that is at least close to being correct, but you cannot tell which. E., The professor cheated; no professor could get anything right without cheating. If you guessed “heads” before a coin flip, and it came up heads, that would NOT prove that you can predict all coin flips; you will get half of such guesses correct by chance. You might be cheating, you might be lucky, or you might have figured something out. Correct Answer:, Your Response:, D 3., The great scientist Alfred Wegener proposed that continents have moved, while other scientists such as T.C. Chamberlin argued against Wegener. Wegener’s ideas eventually won, and are now widely accepted, because: , A., Wegener’s ideas appealed to dead white European males, whereas Chamberlin’s didn’t. B., Wegener’s ideas did a better job of predicting the results of new observations and experiments. C., Wegener won the Nobel prize. D., Wegener’s ideas appalled dead white European males, and we all know that in this politically correct era, dead white European males cannot get a fair shake. E., Wegener’s ideas were more beautiful, and so were favored by the intellectual elite. Unlike painting or literature, scientific inquiry has a well-defined procedure for figuring out if Wegener's ideas are better or if Chamberlin had it right all along. In looking at a painting, we can ask different people what they think, or we can make up our own mind on whether we like it or not, and that is perfectly valid. In science, we have to ask: does the idea fit with the way the world works? Can I predict the results of the next observation better using Wegener’s ideas or Chamberlin’s? As it turns out, Chamberlin’s ideas didn’t predict things very well, and Wegener’s did. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, B Your Response:, B 4., Science professors teach certain theories and not others (Newton’s physics, and not Aristotle’s, or Darwin’s evolution and not Lamarck’s). If you were to ask the professors why, a majority would tell you (more or less; not using exactly these words but with this meaning): , A., “Lamarck and Aristotle are so right-wing, and you know all of us professors are part of a vast left-wing conspiracy.” B., “Well, we have to teach something in exchange for all those wads of cash you students pay, and this is more fun.” C., “Lamarck and Aristotle are so left-wing, and you know all of us professors are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy cleverly dressed up to look like a vast left-wing conspiracy.” D., “Hey, I’m the professor, shut up.” E., “Nature has repeatedly been asked (through experiment) which is better, and we are teaching the ones that made successful predictions, and not teaching the ones that failed.” You can be quite confident that the big-picture items in science class have been tested against reality and found to work. There still might be someone in academe who would reply with B (your professors remember a couple of their professors who could have said such a thing) (the technical term for anyone who would reply with the quote in B is “jerk”), but that is pretty rare today. , Points Earned:, 1/1 Correct Answer:, E Your Response:, E 5., Your boss has assigned you to get the low-down on the latest wonder-drug, and to be darn sure to get it right. You would be wise to consult: , A., The article in the Journal of the American Medical Society, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reporting on the discovery and testing of the drug. B., The Wikipedia; everything they ...
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  • Fall '08
  • ALLEY,RICHARDBANANDAKRISHNAN,SR
  • Alfred Wegener, Death Valley, Points Earned

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