Points Earned: 1/1 Correct Answer: C Your Response: C 8. A widely accepted scientific idea usually is based on: A. An interlocking web of important experimental results or observations that support the correctness of the idea. B. Received wisdom from sacred books. C. Results of one experiment or observation that refuted old ideas and supported the correctness of the new idea. D. Socially conditioned ideas of scientists without reference to observations or experiments. E. Diet Pepsi ads. At last observation, Pepsi commercials were not highly scientific, even if science is involved in figuring out what sells. It is a romantic notion that you could overturn great knowledge with a single observation; however, observing nature is not easy, and nature occasionally fools us (you can, rarely, flip an honest coin twenty times and get twenty heads), so if a single observation disagrees with a lot of other information, that single observation will be checked in various ways to see if the new result “stands up” before the older body of knowledge is discarded. Before an idea gains wide currency, that idea is tried in
various ways, in many labs, in many places in nature, while models are run and theory is developed. The interlocking of all of these provides the confidence that scientists can use in doing things successfully. Although received wisdom from sacred books can be used for inspiration, scientific ideas must be tested against nature. Social scientists have quite rightly learned that scientists are affected by their prejudices, their funding sources, their mating habits, and other things, and that the path of science is not nearly the straight-ahead road to understanding presented in some textbooks. Unfortunately, some of those social scientists have then gone off the deep end and claimed that science is no more useful than any other human story—claiming that astrology and astronomy are equally valid, for example, or palm- reading and modern medicine. These same social scientists seem to know where to find a real doctor when they get in trouble, however. Science is appealed to nature, and builds on the learning of people from around the world. Airplanes that fly, computers that calculate, small devices that make big explosions, etc. are not socially conditioned ideas but instead are demonstrations of the success of science coupled to engineering. Points Earned: 1/1 Correct Answer: A Your Response: A 9. Which of the following is not a scientifically accepted statement about the occurrence of transitional forms in the fossil record? A. No one has ever discovered a fossil of a transitional form. B. Transitional forms are known from many lineages, and especially from commonly fossilized lineages. C. Transitional forms are missing from many lineages, and especially from rarely fossilized lineages.
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