Thursday, June 3, 2010

IOSE self-check and discussion/ assignment questions


1] the focus of origins science is ___________________________________________________ , and it covers the range from ______________ to _______________ .

2] Two possible contrasts to the “natural” are the _____________ and the _______________ .

3] One possible sign of intelligent cause is _______________________________________________ .

4] According to Lewontin, science must provide ______________________________________ .

5] One key limitation of science is that ______________________________________________ .

6] According to Lucretius, nature consists of __________________ and _______________ . The first of these _________________________ , and the second __________________________ .

7] A von Neumann self-replicating machine uses five main components or resources. Three of these are ____________ , _________________ , and _______________________ .

8] The four main bands on a Hertzsprung-Russell chart are _____________________ , ________________ , ____________________, and ________________________________.

9] On that chart our sun is a ______________________________________ , and from the model is estimated to be __________ years old.

10] the Hubble expansion expression is: ______________________________ , where the terms mean:
___________________ , ________________________ , ________________________

11] According to Robinson, the two main current origin of life models are ___________________ and
________________________ . He notes that neither is _________________________________ .

12] According to Orgel, origin of life theories cannot be justified based on _____________________
but must ____________________________________ .

13] Wallace, the second key founder of evolutionary theory, in his 1858 Ternate letter stated the key assumption on species variability that ___________________________________________ .

14] According to estimates, a minimally complex single cell organism would require DNA with __________ to ___________kilobase pairs.

15] Crick's astonishing hypothesis is that _____________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ .

16] Philip Johnson's retort to it is that ________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________ .

17] Plato's Athenian Stranger summarises the materialists of his age as holding that the greatest and fairest things (that is _____________ and _________________ ) are the product of _____________ , while the lesser things are the product of _____________________ .

18] As a result, they hold that the true law of nature in politics is that __________________________ .

19] In rebuttal, he argues that _______________ is __________________________ , and that the materialists' error is ________________________________________________________________ . Plato therefore grounds public morality on __________________________________________ .

20] Educators, scientists and the public need to be aware that science at its best should be____________________________________________________________________



A] Contrast the two figures in Fig I.1. Do these facial profiles illustrate an observable, distinguishable pattern that can signify intelligent cause? Why or why not, in light of the nodes-and arcs network patterns illustrated in figures I.2 and I.3? What is the significance of your answer for origins science studies? For other types of pure and/or applied scientific or statistical studies where it may be important to reliably detect the action of an intelligence?

B] In the discussions surrounding Figs I.2 and I.3, it is argued that functionally specific, complex organisation that issues in a “wiring diagram” can be reduced to a digital representation that will require a certain information storage capacity. It is then further argued that once the required function is sufficiently specific, a pattern emerges, one of islands of function in a wider, much larger configuration space largely comprising a sea of non-function. Thus, on grounds that random searches are utterly unlikely to hit on shores of such islands of function, it is argued that such FSCI is best explained by its routinely observed source, intelligence. By contrast it has been said that if a million monkeys were set to banging at keyboards for long enough, all the works of Shakespeare would eventually emerge by chance. In the context of the scope of our observed cosmos and speculations on a multiverse, which of these alternatives is most credible scientifically, why?

C] In his 1978 remarks on “wiring diagram[[s]” in functionally organised complex systems, J S Wicken noted that such entities are accounted for “by design or by selection.” This is an inference to the proposed role of “natural selection” in creating complex body plans, including the first, simplest unicellular ones. Compare the recent discoveries made in investigating Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and evaluate whether natural selection working with chance variation is a credible source of functionally specific, complex bio- information. What do you conclude, why?

D] In light of the above factors, critically survey the range of origins science evidence and predominant models that are said to account for our origins “from hydrogen to humans,” as well as the dating schemes that are used to undergird the timelines that are commonly cited as scientifically established dating of the earth's deep time past. In light of the strengths and weaknesses of such models, and in light of the issues of philosophical contexts and the challenge of inferring to the best explanation of an unobserved deep past, explain your own scientifically informed, worldviews issues aware opinion on origins, and why you have taken it.

E] Given the worldviews, policy, ethical, social and cultural issues and themes raised by Plato in The Laws, Bk X, and in his Parable of the Cave, what do the contrasting cases of the Scopes trial of 1925 and the Kansas Board hearings of 2005 (and how they have often been treated in the media) illustrate about the significance and plausible long-term consequences of diverse approaches to origins science studies for education, public policy and public morals?

F] Based on the points above and your own concerns, select a topic of interest and draft a brief proposal for a critical review term paper to be written on the theme, at the level of a “serious” popular level scientific article such as might appear in a “quality” magazine. Write and submit same for assessment, also preparing and submitting a poster presenting your findings.

G] Alternatively, select a topic for field and/or lab investigation, and submit a proposal for a “science fair” level scientific investigation; and write and submit a scientific report for assessment; also preparing and submitting a poster presenting your findings.