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BIOL 1001 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Irreducible Complexity, Theistic Evolution, Compression Fossil

Course Code
BIOL 1001
Tamara Kelly
Study Guide

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Learning Objectives
Nature of Science
This is how I would answer the question in full sentences if it was asked on the test.
A.1Describe how science is a process of gaining knowledge, how the scientific design is
flexible in nature and how choices are made among alternative hypothesis in Science
Science is a process of building knowledge because it is based off of experimental design, known
as the scientific method. The scientific method can find evidence that allows for valid predictions
for a hypothesis because it is empirical and self-correcting. Science is non-dogmatic, allows for
criticism, and peer review and is why it is preferred over alternative hypothesis that infer from
intelligent design, religion, or supernatural explanations.
Empirical – experiments and observations that arise from testable hypothesis
Self-correcting – new technology, changing perspectives and repeatable
experiments can find good evidence
The scientific method is flexible in nature because it is never conclusive. In fact, conclusions can
be reversed with changing perspectives, new technology, and new experiments. Answers based
off of observations and experiments solve previous questions and offer truth to hypothesis but in
most cases, only bring up new questions in the field of Science. Science is a dynamic, creative
and not a one-way process.
Choices are made in alternative hypothesis because unexplainable and unsolvable phenomena
occur sometimes and often have people turning to religion and the supernatural for answers.
However, science only attempts to explain the physical and natural world hence explanations that
refer to God’s doing are not valid in the field of science even though many people believe they
are. Alternative hypothesis infers on Intelligent Design and irreducible complexity.
A.3Compare and use the terms ‘hypothesis’ and ‘theory’ in their appropriate scientific context
A hypothesis has to be testable, tested empirically and has mutually exclusive alternative
explanations (alternative vs. null hypothesis). It usually attempts to explain only one
phenomenon or inquiry.
A theory is much broader than a hypothesis and attempts to explain a class of phenomenon. It has
valid predictions because it is based on a lot of evidence from previous experiments carried out.
Theories can have additional observations or points added to it.
A.4 Describe subject matter appropriate to scientific study
Subject matter regarding the physical and natural world can be explained by scientific study.
Anything else cannot. This is because science functions and establishes facts based on evidence.
It is non-dogmatic.
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A.5 – Describe and explain the limitations of Science as a means to answer questions, making
reference to Intelligent Design, theistic evolution and Evolution
A limitation of science is that it cannot explain the supernatural. Those who dispute the theory of
evolution often make reference to Intelligent Design. They believe that the world is too complex,
hence a designer who was so intelligent put the creatures on Earth the way they were. But
evolution is actually valid science; if you set out an experiment to observe changes, you will
yield repeatable and empirical results that support it. It is also important to remember that
science is non-dogmatic; it doesn’t focus on religion or a faith for answers, and that’s why
theistic evolution is discredited because God shouldn’t play a role in the name of science.
Some of the reasons why Intelligent Design should never be used to explain the limitations of
science; or the things the scientific method has yet to be able to explain
a. Intelligent Design is a religious idea
b. Not a Theory, it’s an untestable hypothesis
c. Evidence is lacking because you can’t test the hypothesis; nor is there a specific design to
carry out an experiment
d. It does attempt to explain the natural world, but you can’t have observations or concrete
data from an untestable hypothesis
e. No scientific journal that supports Intelligent Design
f. Does not accept criticism or accept peer review
g. Only focuses on criticizing the theory of evolution; does not branch out to explain other
fields of science in the natural world
h. Mode of evidence: “No evidence for A equals evidence for B” WHICH IS FALSE.
i. The research is generative
j. People who support intelligent design misunderstand the nature of science
k. Some people who support intelligent design behave scientifically while others don’t
know anything about current research but just begin criticizing the theory of evolution
A.6 – Explain the concept of irreducible complexity, making reference to evidence that either
supports it or refutes it.
Irreducible complexity is an argument by those who believe in Intelligent Design. However, it is
wrong because irreducible complexity assumes that necessary components have always been
necessary in order for something to function. Clearly, this is not the case. For example, old
computers didn’t have video cards and they functioned fine. New computers have video cards yet
they could still do the SAME functions.
Those who believe in intelligent design because of irreducible complexity often cite that in order
for them to believe in the theory of evolution, they have to see every intermediate and transition
step as organisms evolve. However, this is unrealistic and they forget that it is just a THEORY; a
broad explanation for a class of phenomenon thanks to evidence and valid predictions. Evolution
has NO GOAL; it doesn’t set out to refute the existence of a God, or how life came to be, it
provides a mechanism of why species change over time.
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Examples cited by Irreducible Complexity but are false:
1. The human eye/complex eye
2. Protein Function
3. Bacterial flagellum
B.1 - Relate Lamarck’s major contributions to evolutionary thought to Darwin’s evolution by
natural selection.
Lamarck’s major contributions to evolutionary thought:
a. Species change over time
b. Changes are passed from one generation to the next
c. Organisms change in response to their environments
All three of these reasons helped Darwin and his theory.
His mechanisms were false because:
a. The principle of use and disuse meant that body parts grow in proportion to how much
they are used. Likewise, unused structures shrink and that’s how species change over
b. The inheritance of acquired characteristics meant that any structural changes an organism
has over its lifetime will be passed down onto their offspring. This is not the case.
B.2 – Explain the influence of gradualism and uniformitarianism and Malthus’ observation of
human population and food supply on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural selection
Gradualism is the accumulation of small changes over long periods of time can add up to big
Uniformitarianism explains that current geological processes also occurred in past and that’s
why we still have volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Darwin concluded that species were changing gradually with respect to their environment
changing but people didn’t notice because they didn’t wait long enough and give it enough time
to evolve. He concluded that this process has been ongoing since species first set foot on this
world when he combined gradualism and uniformitarianism together.
When Malthus pointed out that the human population was exceeding the production of food,
Darwin inferred that the same thing happened in the wild and the reason why Earth wasn’t
flooded with animals is because there is competition, a struggle to survive, a limited resource of
food, and the fact that some animals don’t reproduce at all in their lifetime. This inference
combined gradualism, uniformitarianism and Malthus’ observation.
B.3 – Darwin’s 5 observations; 2 inferences and the link.
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