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Flashcards in Chapter 1 Deck (94):

Define/describe "natural reality."

consists of all phenomena that occur in the physical universe. (The rotation of the earth, circumference of earth etc.. )


Give an original example of a phenomenon of natural reality that is publicly verifiable.

Temperature sun wind


Describe an "objective" viewpoint.

Where you live. How much you make.


What is "objectivity?"

is interpreted based on publicly verifiable evidence


Define "ideology."

A set of personal beliefs and expectations of how we want the world to work.


Define "bias."

means to favor one viewpoint over others, often for emotional reasons, while dismissing any objective analysis to the contrary.


Describe "confirmation bias."

The search for and acceptance only of information that confirms and supports a person's beliefs and ideology


Describe "willful ignorance."

The intentional refusal to accept or consider information that conflicts with a person's beliefs and ideology.


What is "false equivalence?"

The idea that arguments based mostly or entirely on emotion and ignorance are equivalent to arguments based on objectivity, facts, and reason.


Why is false equivalence a problem?

It's a problem because there is a growing trend in American society that considers public policy arguments based on emotion and ignorance as equivalent to arguments based on objectivity, facts, and reason. it weakens the effectiveness of objectivity


Without objectivity in the courts and legislatures, what is the problem?

persecuted and oppressed individuals lose the power to apply reason in defense of their interests


In the overall scheme of things in our modern civilization, what are the interconnected roles of: 1) science 2) technology 3) commerce 4) public oversight

1) science
Understanding how nature works;
2) technology apply scientific understanding to invent useful products and services;
3) commerce manufacturing and distributing useful products and services;
4) public oversight to ensure that these activities serve the public good.


What is the point of the philosophy of science?

is to explain all.


When we think about science, why do we think about the fields of biology, physics, and chemistry?

these fields, throughout human history, have posed the most mysterious and compelling questions.


Why do some peoples of the world worship bears, and wolves, and the rain?

No alternative way of explaining universal questions. See objects as powerful because they can't control them consult them appease these dangerous powers


Scientific thinking helped in the emergence of what technical enterprise in ancient China and India?

healers investigated plants for medicinal properties.


17. Where was Mesopotamia? What rewarding technical enterprise emerged with the growth of scientific thought there?

ancient land between the famed Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what now is modern Iraq. Farming. Geometry. Civil engineering


Argument by incredulity

logical fallacy that occurs when someone decides that something did not happen, because they cannot personally understand how it could happen.


Affluence wealth

to purchase non-essential things


Ancient Greek Empire

Concentrated wealth spent extra money on
slave labor architecture sports education medicine
weapons arts philosophy
Empire conquest of places outside of their area



Framework of how to explain everything


What three intellectual milestones did the ancient Greeks achieve?

1) They acknowledged a curiosity of the natural world, and mustered a willingness to investigate it - without the aid of the supernatural.
2) They accepted the validity of the human senses to observe natural reality, and the human mind to interpret those perceptions.
3) They recognized the value of publicly verifiable evidence gathered by methodical observation.


What is "natural philosophy"?

find explanations about the natural world without the use of the supernatural.
Verifiable evidence reason


Although full of insight, why were the beliefs of most early natural philosophers usually incomplete, and sometimes dead wrong?

inventive explanations about life and the universe , solely intellectual philosophy


What was Heraclitus's fatal philosophical mistake?

intellect alone was sufficient to the task. Arrogant. Didn't value opinions of physicians. Laid in cow crap. Died.


What was the valuable insight made by Empedocles as he watched children playing with a "water thief"?

Air has substance, can't see it but still had an effect. Inference


What were the key advances made by Empedocles?

Natural reality can be best understood with verifiable evidence reason, senses valid interpreters, best explanations use these as well. Combine evidence and logical reasoning for things we can't directly observe


define "system."

A (physical) system is a set of physical components that interact with each other, resulting in a recognizable action.


Define "model."

A model is a description of the configuration, material composition, and behavior of a system.


What is the difference between fact and inference?

Fact -evidence is so obvious, indisputable and verifiable .Phenomenon that is widely accepted without need for interpretation
inference - describes/explains phenomena that cannot be directly observed based on logical interpretation of related phenomena that CAN be directly observed.


27. Hippocrates gathered detailed observations of his patients. Why

too much evidence to remember


What were the key advances made by Hippocrates?

Observations should be recorded in a systematic way. The recorded observations can greatly increase the ability to make good predictions.


Who established the ancient Alexandria Library, and where was it?

Alexander, city of Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt


How did Eratosthenes estimate the size and shape of the Earth?

Vertical stick of equal length casting shadows at different lengths at the same time in both Syene and Alexandria, a mathematician estimated the distance of both cities to 500 miles, geometry to come up with fiftieth of a complete circle


Regarding the practice of science, what is the main lesson to be learned from the work of Eratosthenes?

great discoveries can be made with simple tools, a little ingenuity, hard work and of course a desire to understand.


What finally ended the Alexandria Library?

The Roman emperor, Theodosius (346- 395) decreed that all non-Christian works be wiped out


The Middle Ages was a time when scientific exploration stopped in Europe. Why did it stop?

400 AD - 1300AD
intellectualism, such as scientific thinking, was forbidden replaced by the traditional doctrine of the Church, Roman Catholic Church


Intellectual pursuits are risky in a world dominated by "traditional thinking." Why? (HINT: Socrates and Aristotle)

tried non-believers as heretics, condemning them to prison or death


How was the printing press important in supporting the Renaissance in Europe?

stimulating a movement toward literacy and the distribution of new ideas. Books were no longer the sole province of the Church. Instead, books on a multitude of topics were written and mass produced. This information revolution helped to further liberate the European populace from narrow religious and governmental control.


What were the three main elements of Sir Francis Bacon's approach to science?

Scientist must actively formulate questions about nature and pursue answers,
must collect data pertaining to the question eliminate irrelevant observations,
promoted negative instances


What was the significance of Sir Francis Bacon's emphasis on negative instances?

Scientists should try to prove their ideas WRONG instead of trying to prove their ideas CORRECT. Ideas that cannot be disproved best reflect reality. More objective. Experimental science.


What is the difference between subjective(personal / private) experience and objective(publicly verifiable) experience?

Subjective deal with what you cannot see and objective deals with what can been seen and proven


What is the significance of the "Box of empiricism" as it relates to science and all of our experience?

The idea that we can't use spiritual and science to explain each other.


What happens when we try to use scientific rules (empiricism) to argue against spiritualism (and vice versa)? This brings up the "Box of empiricism" idea again.

It contaminates the way we are thinking. Philosophy is different. Wont resolve


How can our objective self-coexist with our subjective self, or can they?

They can coexist in the since that you distinguish what conversations you are having on or the other


What are some of the classic supernatural phenomena that clash with the scientific way of knowing?

Why do we Exist, God, UFOs


Why do we so quickly believe in mysterious powers such as mind-reading, and UFOs?

Fascinating we want answers the possibilities


How does science deal with absolute truths?

Given the vulnerability of all ideas, science speaks not in truths, but in terms of probabilities.


What is meant by the statement that "science is a paradox of conservatism seeking revolution?"

Though science seeks to learn new things it is stubborn to accepting new ideas unless it is backed my sufficient evidence that can be tested by others


What is the importance of the observation that nature happens in constant and repeating patterns (more or less)?

It results in evidence , publicly verifiable


What is the role of creative thinking and speculation in science?

they provide the new and unusual ideas that are the seeds of scientific adventure


What is the role of evidence in science? How do scientists regard ideas that are presented without evidence?

Evidence is the wealth upon which the scientific economy is based
Without evidence, all your ideas are rhetoric


Do ALL ideas deserve equal consideration and discussion in the media?

NO! if there is no evidence it shouldn't have a say in science


Review the 8 points about what science does.

1 Our minds are capable to understand
2 Ideas can freely be discussed not all equal
3 Wild speculation can open new channel of investigation
4 Ideas must be supported by evidence
5 Understand and describe nature simple explanations
6 Hypotheses need to be tried and tested if not false best explanation
7 What may be seen as truth today may be proven wrong in the future
8 Seeks understanding where ever that may go


Review the 4 points about what science does not do.

Does not establish belief then look for evidence
Does not profess to have all answers, not absolute
Does not cling on old theories if new ideas come in
Does not admonish you to believe its understanding no political agenda


Bacon again. What was the core of Sir Francis Bacon's revolutionary approach to science?

scientists should first begin with evidence and not a preconceived idea about nature examine evidence then formulate hypothesis


What did the science of Phrenology demonstrate about bias and preconceived notions?

Need evidence before. It was discredited


What are the shortcomings of the scientific method? Why is the so-called scientific method not practiced in all scientific investigations?

doesn't reflect the larger practice of modern science.
Highly versatile and logical strategy restricted to just experiments
Science is fluid and adaptable


What is serendipity and how do scientists increase their chances of encountering it?

stumble upon a new and unexpected circumstance that takes the scientist in an entirely new direction of research (good luck) not required to "stay on target" when new and more inviting opportunities present themselves.


How do peer-reviewed, scientific journals act to filter out bad scientific work?

Peers analyze each paper for its adherence to scientific technique.


Why was the Cold Fusion Fiasco a fiasco?

Chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had discovered a way to generate energy from fusion nuclear reactions at room temperature before having shown proof and before they had been tested by others


What made the Piltdown hoax possible? What does it say about science and human nature?

accepted the finds without much reservation, partly because it confirmed their preconceived notions about the evolutionary development of humans. Confirmation bias


Who is the ultimate authority in science?

collectively in the form of societies and institutions by general agreement on the most acceptable science.
Professional scientific societies, like:
National Academy of Science
National Institutes of Health
American Physics Society
American Medical Association


Give a simple and original example of an observation / characterization investigation

Why isn't the grass growing


Give a simple and original example of a controlled disturbance experiment

I wonder what will happen if I water more


62. Regarding explanation-seeking experiments, be able to distinguish between: causal (not casual) questions, hypotheses, predictions, and the execution of the experiment.

Casual question - seeks cause (Formulation of a causal question 

Hypothesis - an attempt to explain based on a foundation of experience and understanding Has to be testable

Predictions- Possible results of an experiment to compare/contrast/evaluate the actual results of an experiment to

Execution of the experiment- conducting experiment


What is William Ockham's Law of Parsimony (Ockam's Razor) and how can it be useful in your everyday life?

an explanation of an unknown phenomenon should first be attempted in terms of what is already known. You can use your observations with information already known to come up with a realistic reason of why things are happening or if you are being fooled.


Define hypothesis.

An attempt to explain based on a foundation of understanding and experience. Has to be testable.


Why must hypotheses be testable in order to be legitimate?

Because you are seeking an explanation, you can prove if its correct or incorrect
there must be some accepted test under which it can be shown to be true or false


Consider the following hypothesis. "The sky is blue because the air is filled with blueberry pie". Why is this a legitimate hypothesis, even though it is obviously a wrong hypothesis?

Because you can test it and discover it to be wrong


Why do explanation-seeking experiments test one factor at a time?

The results will be clear. Won't be arguable. If you test all factors at one you can't determine where the results are coming from


What is the difference between a hypothesis and a guess. Which is more powerful?

Hypothesis is more powerful uses understanding and experience is more logical, guess doesn't.
Guessing is an act of contemplating without the benefit of experience or skill


Give a simple and original example of a causal question.

What caused my Starbucks coffee to taste horrible?


Give a simple and original example of a question that is NOT a causal question.

Why does this coffee taste bad?


Give a simple and original example of a hypothesis.

If coffee tastes bad its because it is old.


Give a simple and original example of a prediction.

Then I will ask for a freshly brewed cup of coffee and it will taste better


Why does personal bias contaminate the scientific process?

Won't be logical, confirmation bias


What does a scientific theory do?

explain what causes the system to behave the way it does
connect diverse hypotheses into a
central theme so we can better 
understand all of them


How can some theories be incorrect, but still be theories?

To the extent a theory is useful, it will be used.


How useful are wrong theories to science?

To the extent a theory is not useful, it won't be used.


What is meant by the term, embedded theory? Give examples.

theories that have survived repeated tests, are widely accepted, and are thought unlikely to be overturned
cell theory, theory of inheritance ,theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.


Science is constantly seeking new understandings. Do scientific ideas ever reach a point at which they are relatively secure?

When they are embedded , when they are built on


How is the everyday use of the word, "theory", different from the way scientists use the word?

They substitute words like plan or hypothesis


What is the significance of science in the existence of democracy?

including objective, verifiable evidence and reason, have inspired modern rules of governance


How can popular public opinion influence the behavior of natural reality?

Large number of unexperienced people agree on a fallacy


How can science be useful in your personal life?

individual power and makes you less vulnerable to influences that want to manipulate you.


Uri Gellar appeared on the Mike Douglas show and demonstrated his amazing spoon-bending technique. After giving instructions on spoon-bending to the show's host, how did Gellar react when the host actually tried it?

He reacted bothered. Nervous. He wasn't feeling strong.


What was Peter Popoff's the "real world" connection that helped make him so convincing?

He knew people's names and their sicknesses


What is the probable trick with the technique of doing surgery without knives?

Animal blood chicken bones


Horoscopes. Randi identified three tricks to make them believable. List them.

specific, personal, hope


Randi's palm-reading friend told his clients the opposite of what he was supposed to. What was the result, and what does it mean?

People reacted just as convinced. People want to be convinced


6. At the the Moscow Institute of the Brain, Why did Randi insist that the psychics and the scientists be separated and out of communication during the experiment?

So that the scientist did not know what the psychic was doing


At the Traditional Medical Clinic in Moscow, what was the ultimate unique property of the "charged water" that kept Randi from performing his tests?

Detectable, dosing rod, all other water was being charged around it


Why did Randi refuse to ask questions of the two photo psychics?

Any questions would give them information