Saturday, January 11, 2003

Andy sends this:
Here is my final exam for my Critical Thinking in Science course. I've taught 21 homeschooled students in this course, and most will ace this exam. I doubt top college students could score even a 70% on it.

Test conditions: You can use any written or electronic resources. Assistance by other persons is only allowed to clarify meaning.

Multiple Choice (2.4 points each, for a total of 60/100 points):

1. The oldest discovered writing is:
(a) about 5,500 years old.
(b) about 10,000 years old.
(c) about 50,000 years old.
(d) about 1 million years old.

2. What do the Piltdown Man and the Haeckel embryo drawings have in common?
(a) They were innocent mistakes by evolutionists, who corrected them quickly.
(b) They reflected the advance of science by evolutionists honestly searching for the truth.
(c) They won Nobel Prizes.
(d) They were frauds that evolutionists refused to removed from textbooks for many decades.

3. Who declared, "These lower races รข€¦ are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilized Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives."
(a) Attila the Hun, a brutal warrior, in 450.
(b) Ernst Haeckel, the German Darwinist recently featured in many American textbooks, in 1904.
(c) George Washington, the first American President, in 1795.
(d) Napolean, the French emperor, in 1810.

4. The Toutle River canyon of Mt. St. Helen's, similar to the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale, was formed by a flood:
(a) in a single day in 1982.
(b) over a three-month period in 1982.
(c) over a three-year period from 1979 to 1982.
(d) over a 10,000-year period so that erosion had time to occur.

5. "Survival of the fittest" is flawed because:
(a) Everyone survives.
(b) It is circular because the "fittest" are defined as those that survive.
(c) It contradicts itself.
(d) It appeals to emotion.

6. The eminent evolutionist Dr. Colin Patterson did not include any transitional forms in his 1978 book Evolution because he admitted that:
(a) there were too many to choose from.
(b) transitional forms, which Darwin said were essential to his theory, have never been found.
(c) pictures of transitional forms are difficult to reproduce
(d) everyone knows that transitional forms must exist so there was no reason to include them.

7. A "materialist" insists that magnetism guides migration, even for butterflies, because:
(a) magnetic detectors have been discovered in the brain of a butterfly.
(b) magnetism guides human movement also.
(c) science has disproved all other possible causes, including design.
(d) materialists reject intelligent design and believe only in material-based causes.

8. The countries having the highest and lowest levels of belief in evolution are:
(a) Most (evolution belief): former Communist East Germany. Least: United States.
(b) Most: Poland. Least: England.
(c) Most: United States. Least: France.
(d) Most: Mexico. Least: Canada.

9. The evolutionary claim that simpler species transformed by themselves into more complex and more ordered species is contrary to the following scientific facts:
(a) mutations are harmful, not beneficial.
(b) The Second Law of Thermodynamics holds that disorder increases over time.
(c) the world is sparsely populated, making it practically impossible for mutated species to find and mate with each other.
(d) all of the above.

10. "Critical thinking" requires:
(a) questioning experts.
(b) skepticism of claims motivated by personal gain.
(c) demanding public access to data behind research claims.
(d) all of the above.

11. Which of the following scientists rejected evolution and accepted Biblical creation?
(a) Lord Kelvin, the great physicist and designer of the first successful transatlantic cable.
(b) Louise Pasteur, ranked as the greatest chemist and microbiologist.
(c) James Maxwell, ranked with Isaac Newton among the greatest physicists.
(d) All of the above.

12. Six leading scientists in England, including the eminent physicist Sir Fred Hoyle, studied the Archaeopteryx fossil and concluded that:
(a) it is a transitional form.
(b) it is a fake.
(c) it is not a transitional form, but represents an authentic species.
(d) none of the above.

13. Limestone is formed from sea life. Its existence at all elevations and all parts of the world demonstrate that:
(a) every part of the world has been completely flooded.
(b) only some parts of the world were flooded and they must have moved to other parts of the world.
(c) only some parts of the world were flooded and the limestone must have spontaneously generated in other parts.
(d) we do not know, but the world could not have been flooded because evolution must be true.

14. The theory of relativity represents:
(a) an ongoing effort to tailor a theory to fit emerging data.
(b) a slight modification of Newton's theory of physics.
(c) application of the insights of astrology to physics.
(d) a mathematical system based entirely on two assumptions of unproven validity.

15. Testability and falsifiability are essential elements of what qualifies as scientific. The following satisfy the requirement of falsifiability and thus can be considered scientific:
(a) the claim that life exists in outer space.
(b) the claim that black holes exist in outer space.
(c) the claim that a species once evolved from a simpler ancestor.
(d) none of the above.

16. In the famous double-slit lamp experiment, photons are propelled towards two slits before landing on a screen on the other side. The position of the observer:
(a) cannot affect the result because science does not care if someone is watching.
(b) cannot affect the result because photons lack intelligence.
(c) does affect the result depending on whether the observer detects which slit each photon passes through.
(d) none of the above.

17. Materialists reject which of the following in physics:
(a) action-at-a-distance, utilized by quantum mechanics and Newton's theory of gravity.
(b) gravitons, which are undiscovered agents of gravity in the theory of general relativity.
(c) black holes, predicted by the theory of general relativity.
(d) the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.

18. Most current scientific dating techniques, including the popular Carbon-14 test, estimate the age of material by measuring the amount of a key element in it. The accuracy of these techniques is based on three basic assumptions that:
(a) we somehow know the initial level of the key element in the material.
(b) there has been no contamination affecting that level over time.
(c) rates of decay of the key element have been forever constant.
(d) all of the above.

19. The following argument is flawed for the reason given:
(a) "It rained after the rain dance, and therefore rain dances cause rain." Flaw: circular?
(b) "You must believe this. Everyone does." Flaw: non-sequitur?
(c) "You must believe this. The newspaper said so." Flaw: over-reliance on authority?
(d) "I need to do my homework. So give me a candy bar." Flaw: begging the question?

20. The Nash Equilibrium in the Prisoners' Dilemma is:
(a) neither prisoner confessing.
(b) only one prisoner confessing.
(c) both confessing.
(d) there is no Nash Equilibrium in this situation.

21. A card with both sides black is put in a hat with a card with one side white and one side black. One of these cards is pulled at random from the hat. Its front side is black. The chance that its backside is also black is:
(a) 1/3
(b) 1/2
(c) 2/3
(d) 1

22. In connection with the famous Scopes Trial in Tennessee in 1925,
(a) evolutionists proved their theory and won the case.
(b) Hollywood truthfully recounted what happened.
(c) John Scopes was imprisoned for teaching evolution.
(d) evolutionists lost the case, Tennessee remains relatively free of evolution indoctrination, and Gore's home state elected Bush as President.

23. Evolutionists redefined "evolution", which previously meant an evolving process, to mean:
(a) a specific process by which disorder can convert to order.
(b) a specific process by which simplicity can convert to complexity.
(c) "change over time," which occurs without any evolving process, such as Creation.
(d) "change over time," which adds greater clarity to Darwin's definition of "evolution".

24. The claim that the world is the product of pure chance is:
(a) something that is a realistic possibility.
(b) disproved by the world's overwhelming beauty, because beauty cannot result from pure chance.
(c) something that cannot be rejected by reason.
(d) none of the above.

25. Charles Darwin claimed that every living species, including whales, evolved. He asserted that the ancestor of whales was:
(a) sharks.
(b) dolphins.
(c) black bears swimming in the sea with their mouths open.
(d) none of the above.

Essay Questions (10 points each, for a total of 40/100 points):

Write about 50 words each in response to the questions below:

A. Common claims by evolutionists are: (i) everyone believes in evolution; (ii) science magazines, museums and professors accept evolution; (iii) the enormous commonality and diversity in life demonstrate evolution; (iv) over billions of years, it must have happened; (v) no one has ever disproved evolution; and (vi) evolution, defined as "change over time," is a fact. Explain the flaws in each statement.

B. Pick two or three specific political issues and describe how belief in evolution can influence viewpoints on those issues.

C. Do you think the world is more like a work of art or more like a working machine? Describe artistic aspects of the world that you particularly like, and how they contradict evolution.

D. In the 1970s, scientists predicted that oil would run out in a few decades. Were they right? Explain. Are scientists typically held accountable for false claims or predictions? Provide and explain possible motivations for scientists to predict falsely that oil would run out soon.

Extra Credit (5 points each, for a maximum total of 15 extra points):

E. Assume that (i) there are three gas stations at a major intersection with each attracting 1/3 of the customers; (ii) each currently sells gas at $1.40 per gallon; and (iii) the lowest profitable sales price for them would be $1.36 per gallon. One gas station owner went on vacation for a month. How do you think the other two owners will adjust their price for that month? Explain their options and how they will decide to maximize profits.

F. List and discuss several examples of how the world seems to have been created in a way that only humans (and God) appreciate. Does this indicate design or pure chance?

G. What is the harm in promoting or teaching false scientific claims? Are people hurt by it? Does it prevent or delay real advances in science? Explain your answers with examples, if possible.

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