Scientific Practice
Scientific Practice

Scientific Practice

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A question pack on the philosophy of science by Saylor academy.

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Scientific Practice Q1

Which of the following contentions is NOT an objection to the “miracle” argument for Scientific Realism?

A

Since the success of scientific theories is not surprising, there is no need to explain the success of scientific theories.

B

Since there is no way to assess how often theories are approximately true, the success of a scientific theory does not indicate that the theory is approximately true.

C

Since there is disagreement about which theories are approximately true, the success of a scientific theory does not indicate that the theory is approximately true.

D

Since, by definitions, miracles are unexplainable, there is no need to explain the miraculous success of scientific theories.

Scientific Practice Q2

Which of the following is a reason to accept Structural Realism rather than some other form of Scientific Realism?

A

New theories tend to retain hypotheses about the objects postulated by older theories.

B

New theories tend to retain hypotheses about relations between objects postulated by older theories.

C

New theories tend to use the same logical rules as older theories.

D

New theories tend to have simpler theoretical structures than older theories.

Scientific Practice Q3

Which of the following scenarios illustrates an independent corroboration of the claim that there are dense bodies in red blood platelets?

A

Some scientists detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using techniques of light microscopy, and other scientists (from a different laboratory) detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using techniques of transmission electron microscopy.

B

Some scientists detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using techniques of light microscopy, and these same scientists detect dense bodies in red blood platelets one month later using the same techniques of light microscopy.

C

Some scientists detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using techniques of light microscopy, and other scientists (from a different laboratory) detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using the same techniques of light microscopy.

D

Some scientists detect dense bodies in red blood platelets using techniques of light microscopy, and other scientists (from a different laboratory) use such detections to confirm a theory about dense bodies in red blood platelets.

Scientific Practice Q4

Why did Osiander, in response to Copernicus’ 1543 publication of De revolutionibus orbium celestium, advocate an instrumentalist interpretation of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory?

A

Because it was possible that Copernicus’ theory was false

B

Because Copernicus’ theory had not been approved by the Catholic Church

C

Because Copernicus’ theory could not explain the variation in the brightness of Venus

D

Because Osiander was primarily a religious person, and only secondarily a scientist

Scientific Practice Q5

Which of the following claims is NOT a commitment of Scientific Realism?

A

Science investigates a world that is external to and independent of the mind.

B

Scientific claims about the world refer to real, mind-independent entities, forces, and relations.

C

Our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of a mind-independent world.

D

Scientific investigation of the world is entirely value-free.

Scientific Practice Q6

According to a study by Henry Etzkowitz and colleagues regarding barriers to women in academic science and engineering, which of the following is probably NOT a reason that women are at a disadvantage during their doctoral training and the early stages of their academic careers?

A

There are different gender expectations for young girls as compared to young boys.

B

Academic advisors tend to stereotype women as less capable than their male peers and as uncompetitive.

C

Contributions by men to collaborative research tend to be credited, but contributions by women to collaborative research tend to be ignored.

D

Women are naturally disposed to value cooperation and emotional reasoning, while men are naturally disposed to value competition and analytical reasoning.

Scientific Practice Q7

According to Daniel Yankelovich, which of the following claims is NOT one of the reasons that science and scientists lack significant influence in public decision-making?

A

Scientists and laypeople do not mean the same thing by the term “theory.”

B

Journalists insist on presenting two sides of every controversy, even when scientific inquiry overwhelmingly favors one side.

C

Scientific knowledge often provides only probabilities, but there is a public demand for certainty.

D

Scientific knowledge does not incorporate the values and opinions of religious leaders.

Scientific Practice Q8

According to Peter Weingart, when does the scientific community typically consider a debate to be closed?

A

When there are no more dissenting voices

B

When there is a strong general consensus among most scientists

C

When there is no more money to fund new research

D

When one side of the debate proves that the other side is mistaken

Scientific Practice Q9

According to Peter Weingart, which of the following claims is NOT one of the reasons that scientific knowledge carries great prestige?

A

Scientific knowledge is proven to be true.

B

Politicians use scientific knowledge in their decision-making processes.

C

Scientific knowledge permeates into the public discourse and becomes a guide to action.

D

Only a select group of people have access to resources for producing and investigating new claims for scientific knowledge.

Scientific Practice Q10

According to Richard Whitley, some sciences, such as twentieth-century chemistry, are technologically integrated bureaucracies because

A

they involve very formal control of research and high standardization of reporting.

B

they involve standardized rules and methods for researching different problems.

C

they separate a dominant and uniform theory from diverse empirical applications.

D

they involve highly specialized tasks and methods but no uniformity with respect to research goals.

Scientific Practice Q11

According to Richard Whitley, what is the ultimate social aim of scientific inquiry?

A

To discover truths about the world

B

To develop theories that are testable and falsifiable

C

To produce work that is cited and read by a large number of other scientists

D

To develop technologies that make the world a better place

Scientific Practice Q12

According to Richard Whitley, when sciences, such as the biomedical sciences, are professional adhocracies, they tend to produce

A

diffuse discursive knowledge of commonsense objects.

B

specific, theoretically oriented knowledge.

C

specific, empirical knowledge.

D

specific, theoretically coordinated knowledge.

Scientific Practice Q13

According to Richard Whitley, when sciences, such as political science or sociology, are fragmented adhocracies, they tend to produce

A

diffuse discursive knowledge of commonsense objects.

B

specific, theoretically oriented knowledge.

C

specific, empirical knowledge.

D

specific, theoretically coordinated knowledge.

Scientific Practice Q14

Because contemporary economists generally have to adhere to a dominant theoretical paradigm in order to be taken seriously but, as a result, generally spend little time arguing over theoretical issues, contemporary economics exhibits (in Richard Whitley’s terminology)

A

high functional dependence and high strategic dependence.

B

high functional dependence and low strategic dependence.

C

low functional dependence and high strategic dependence.

D

low functional dependence and low strategic dependence.

Scientific Practice Q15

Because contemporary physicists generally communicate their research to a specific audience in a unique language, find it easy to understand the experimental results of their peers, and have highly predictable, stable, and visible task outcomes, contemporary physics exhibits (in Richard Whitley’s terminology)

A

high strategic task uncertainty and high technical task uncertainty.

B

high strategic task uncertainty and low technical task uncertainty.

C

low strategic task uncertainty and high technical task uncertainty.

D

low strategic task uncertainty and low technical task uncertainty.

Scientific Practice Q16

Because contemporary sociology exhibits no consensus on the outcomes of experiments or procedures, a low degree of control over raw materials, and no clear hierarchy regarding the relative importance of a varied and diverse collection of problems, contemporary sociology exhibits (in Richard Whitley’s terminology)

A

high strategic task uncertainty and high technical task uncertainty.

B

high strategic task uncertainty and low technical task uncertainty.

C

low strategic task uncertainty and high technical task uncertainty.

D

low strategic task uncertainty and low technical task uncertainty.

Scientific Practice Q17

How would incorporating values into science, as Helen Longino suggests, solve the underdetermination problem?

A

Incorporating values into science would offer additional sources of evidence for supporting some theories over their competitors.

B

Incorporating values into science would provide additional, non-evidential reasons for choosing among theories.

C

Incorporating values into science would show that the process of accepting some theories over their competitors is arbitrary.

D

Incorporating values into science would show that competing scientific theories should be interpreted as mere instruments for prediction and control rather than as candidates for literally true descriptions of the world.

Scientific Practice Q18

In Richard Whitley’s typology of modern scientific disciplines, the degree of functional dependence between scientists depends on

A

the extent to which scientists must use the research methods and results of their peers in order to conduct competent and useful research.

B

the extent to which scientists must persuade their peers of the importance of their own research in order to gain a high reputation.

C

the extent to which there are sources of employment in the private sector.

D

the extent to which other scientists control scientific communication in the form of journals, conferences, and so on.

Scientific Practice Q19

In Richard Whitley’s typology of modern scientific disciplines, the degree of strategic dependence between scientists depends on

A

the extent to which scientists must use the research methods and results of their peers in order to conduct competent and useful research.

B

the extent to which scientists must persuade their peers of the importance of their own research in order to gain a high reputation.

C

the extent to which there are sources of employment in the private sector.

D

the extent to which other scientists control scientific communication in the form of journals, conferences, and so on.

Scientific Practice Q20

In Richard Whitley’s typology of modern scientific disciplines, the degree of technical task uncertainty within a discipline is a function of

A

the intensity of competition among scientists and the number of research centers.

B

the degree to which research techniques are understood and productive of consistent outcomes.

C

the number of available private sector jobs.

D

the cost and distribution of the means of intellectual production and dissemination, and the uncertainty around the hierarchy within the discipline.

Scientific Practice Q21

In Richard Whitley’s typology of modern scientific disciplines, the degree of strategic task uncertainty within a discipline is a function of

A

the intensity of competition among scientists and the number of research centers.

B

the degree to which research techniques are understood and productive of consistent outcomes.

C

the number of available private sector jobs.

D

the cost and distribution of the means of intellectual production and dissemination, and the uncertainty around the hierarchy within the discipline.

Scientific Practice Q22

Which of the following claims does NOT motivate so-called feminist equity critiques of science?

A

There are diffuse but persistent differences in the recognition of and response to scientific contributions by women.

B

There are systematic differences between men and women scientists with respect to salary, merit raises, institutional responses to external job offers, internal support for research, and allocations of office and laboratory space.

C

The sciences are an inherently masculine domain.

D

Women in academia continue to be concentrated the most insecure positions and the lowest ranks of the academic hierarchy.

Scientific Practice Q23

Which of the following claims does NOT provide a feminist explanation of persistent gender inequalities in science?

A

Women in science face persistent patterns of underestimation and marginalization.

B

Women lack the drive and commitment to succeed in science.

C

Administrators tend to direct women toward teaching and advising duties, and away from positions that carry institutional power.

D

People tend to attribute the accomplishments of women scientists to luck or other external factors, rather than to talent, training, and hard work.

Scientific Practice Q24

Which of the following claims is NOT a reason that feminists typically use to motivate gender equity in science?

A

Gender equity in science allows us to make optimal use of its scientific and engineering talent.

B

Gender equity in science respects the principle that men and women should have equal opportunities to serve society and work in rewarding jobs.

C

Gender equity in science compensates for centuries of male privilege and patriarchal dominance.

D

Gender equity in science prevents economic losses from highly educated women leaving science and engineering professions.

Scientific Practice Q25

Which of the following claims is NOT a reason that being value-neutral is a virtue for science?

A

Being value-neutral allows acceptance of theories to be impartial rather than wish-fulfilling.

B

Being value-neutral means that whether a theory is confirmed or well-supported by evidence is not different in different communities or cultures.

C

Being value-neutral means that a theory is probably approximately true.

D

Being value-neutral inhibits acceptance of theories that favor some communities or cultures over others.