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Can you answer each of the three questions with 3 or more paragraphs for each one. Due Thursday morning at 10 am but would be better by Wednesday night.


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The following are the questions for the semester paper. Your responses should critically analyze the following paragraphs and response to each of them as appropriate. Even though working on this is not timed, it is not expected that you will spend more than two hours working on this. The due date for the paper is May 6, 2021 at 12:30 pm. Since this is a final paper, an extension cannot be granted.

Answer all the questions by providing your response in the text editor. Your response must be 3 – 4 paragraphs long for each question asked.

1. (35 points) The following paragraph illustrates our discussions on “Experimentation” in science. It is a 60-minutes story on reliability of polygraph testing and the test done to check the reliability. The paragraph describes an investigation of a claim to which you are to discuss the test in terms of the following: (a) the claim being investigated; (b) the prediction; (c) the design of the test – is it well designed or not and why; (d) the conclusion that can drawn about the claim based on the results of the test. Make sure you justify each point discussed to demonstrate your understanding.

Three different polygraph firms were independently called to test an alleged theft of a camera and lens from the office of a photography magazine with four employees other than the manager. In fact, nothing was stolen from the office, but the polygraph examiners were told that it could only have been done by one of the four employees. Each polygraph examiner was told that “it might have been X,” with a different employee being fingered in each case. In each case, the polygraph examiner identified the “fingered”employee as deceptive and cleared the other “suspects.” More- over, all polygraph examiners expressed complete confidence in their decisions. This demonstrates not only that polygraph examiners can go wrong, but that their judgment and decision-making processes are infected by bias based on what they believe about their subjects.

In your discussions, be sure to comment on all aspects of Experimentation as evident in the paragraph which may or may not justify the conclusion or the accuracy of the story.

2. (40 points) The following paragraph illustrates discussions on providing scientific “Explanation”. Discuss the paragraph in terms of the following: (a) identify and justify what is being explained; (b) identify the explanation with reasoning; (c) identify the method(s) of explanation employed; (d) relate this paragraph and the explanations herein to the current situation of COVID-19 versus Ebola outbreak in 2014 – 2016 in which the death rate is 50% compared to COVID-19 death rate of around 5%. Discuss any lessons to the current situation.

A little known fact is that the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 killed millions and millions of people in less than a year. Nothing else—no infection, no war, no famine—has ever killed so many in such a short period. (COVID-19 may break this record by the time it is over). Why then did people pay so little attention to the epidemic in 1918 and why have they so thoroughly forgotten it since? (These questions are likely to be asked of our memories of COVID-19 in a few years to come). The very nature of the disease and its epidemiological characteristics encouraged forgetfulness in the societies it affected. The disease moved fast, arrived, flourished, and was gone before it had any but ephemeral effects on the economy and before many people had the time to fully realize just how great was the danger. The enormous disparity between the flu’s morbidity and mortality rates tended to calm potential victims. Which is more frightening: rabies, which strikes very few and, without proper treatment, kills them all, or Spanish influenza, which infects the majority and kills only 2% or 3%? For most people, the answer is rabies, without question.

3. (25 points) This essay is based on “Fallacies in the Name of Science”. The following paragraph therefore contains one or more of the fallacies discussed. You are to (a) spot or identify the fallacy and provide explanation to why you think that is; (b) speculate about a rival explanation that might have been overlooked. Your critical evaluation is very important to your discussions rather than stating the obvious. The paragraph is a letter to an “Advice Columnist” similar to what is published in our Collegiate under “Chatty Kathy”

I didn’t think I’d ever wear it, so I gave it to my older sister. This year for Christmas my sister gave me the delightful gift of a teddy bear made from Mom’s stole. It arrived in a large box filled with packing peanuts. At the bottom of the box was a very worn penny. The date on it was 1977, the same year our brother passed away after a brief illness. A few months before his death, he and his high school sweetheart had married after 40 years of marriage to other mates. They were like teenagers, so in love and so happy. Needless to say, his death was devastating. My sister swears she didn’t put the penny in the box. I can usually find a logical explanation for strange phenomena, but this really touched me. My sister and I believe the penny symbolizes a link between Mom and our brother, who are now with Dad—and together they sent us this “article of faith.”

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