Re: test questions-old topic

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Wed Mar 12 2003 - 14:17:01 EST

  • Next message: Vernon Jenkins: "Re: By Design"

    Nebraska man is a typical creationist porkie (cockney rhyming slang pork pie
    = lie) or actually only half a pork pie as it is often true in what it says
    and dishonest what it leaves out. David is absolutely correct over Osborn.

    Can anyone give me one creationist argument which doesnt turn out to be
    false or a semantic game when it is scrutinised?

    Pray for us Brits Ken Ham is on tour this month and I dont know whether
    anyone will turn him into a pork pie.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "bivalve" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 9:29 PM
    Subject: test questions-old topic

    > Having just finished preparing talks for upcoming meetings, I am catching
    up on a few old topics.
    > >Would anyone on this list use these questions on any of your tests? Why?
    Why not? <
    > The first question (questioning Dawkin's reasoning) looked reasonably
    good, but the rest generally had significant problems of various sorts.
    > Some problems are more pragmatic. Many of the questions are talking about
    a rather detailed point, and seem inappropriate for any test except an open
    book, take home exam. Also, the wording could often be improved for test
    purposes. Some questions request only yes or no, and would be improved by a
    request for supporting evidence. Some questions can be interpreted in more
    than one way and need rewording to be unambiguous. For example, "Are
    scientists able to determine..." is impossible to answer without omniscience
    regarding all future scientific discoveries. "Have scientists
    explained...?" would be better.
    > Other problems have to do with the content. Many questions incorporate
    inaccurate information or misrepresentations. For example, "26. Nebraska
    Man ... the tooth came from a pig. A report in Nature (August 17, 1995)
    states that analysis of an incomplete shin bone from a creature dubbed
    Australopithecus anamensis suggests it walked upright "between 3.9 and 4.2
    million years ago." How should we treat discoveries which have not yet faced
    the rigors of scientific validation?"
    > This question has several inaccuracies. Nebraska man was based on a
    peccary tooth, not a pig tooth. It was never widely accepted among
    paleontologists. However, humans, peccaries, and pigs all have fairly
    similar teeth, being omnivores. Thus, the initial guess was not
    unreasonable; the problem was that Osborne overplayed his initial guess.
    Likewise, the interpretation of a shin bone as coming from an upright walker
    is very well-validated. Whether it came from something that properly
    belongs in Australopithecus or another genus is less certain.
    > It would be a good point to call into question the many antievolutionary
    claims that lack scientific validation and to call attention to the
    extensive scientific validation for evolution and an old earth. However, it
    does not seem as though the questioner intends for students to consider that
    > Other questions, such as the questions about Archaeopteryx, while not
    necessarily unsuitable in themselves, lend themselves to popular
    antievolutionary misuses (in that case, promoting semantic confusion
    regarding transitional forms).
    > Dr. David Campbell
    > Old Seashells
    > University of Alabama
    > Biodiversity & Systematics
    > Dept. Biological Sciences
    > Box 870345
    > Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA
    > That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted
    Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at
    Droitgate Spa

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Wed Mar 12 2003 - 14:18:32 EST