Scientific Attitude Exercise

1.      A scientist shows that he or she is open-minded when the scientist

         A.  discusses ideas with other scientists.

         B.   asks other scientists to provide evidence to support their ideas.

         C.  agrees with ideas presented by other scientists.

         D.  evaluates ideas which do not agree with his or her ideas.

         Answer: D


2.      Looking for inconsistencies in evidence or ideas is part of each of the following scientific attitudes except

         A.  objectivity

         B.   critical-mindedness

         C.  tolerance of uncertainty

         D.  questioning attitude

         Answer: C


3.      If you come across a scientific idea that goes against your common sense, which one of the following courses of action should you follow?

         A.  Look for published evidence or do an experiment.

         B.   Disregard common sense because it is not reliable.

         C.  Disregard the scientific idea because common sense is better.

         D.  Try to produce a compromise between the scientific idea and common sense.

         Answer: A


4.      Suppose you did an experiment in a high school science lab, but the results were not what you expected. What should you do?


         Ideally you should repeat the experiment; however, in all cases you should honestly report the results you obtained.


Use the following information to answer questions 5 and 6.

         Galileo obtained much evidence about stars, planets and the motion of terrestrial objects to create ideas about the universe. Because Galileo’s ideas were contrary to those held by the powerful Roman Catholic church and philosophers of his time, he was forced to say that he was wrong and was prevented from practicing science.

5.      Which one of the following statements best applies to this situation?

         A.  Galileo should have collected more evidence before disagreeing with the prevailing ideas.

         B.   Galileo’s ideas became wrong when he was forced to say that they were wrong.

         C.  Galileo was justified in questioning the prevailing beliefs.

         D.  Galileo should have avoided any investigations which could lead to disagreements.

         Answer: C


6.      What does this situation illustrate about the evaluation of scientific work?


         Attitudes and beliefs in society are sometimes used to evaluate scientific work. Evidence, not beliefs, is the cornerstone of science.



7.      A boy goes skating on a pond and breaks through the ice. He is rescued and given a drink of hot chocolate by someone who is sneezing and coughing. A few days later the boy also has a cold. Which one of the following best describes the reason for the boy’s cold?

         A.  The reason why he got a cold is not yet determinable.

         B.   He got the cold from the person who rescued him.

         C.  He probably had a cold starting before he went skating.

         D.  His cold is due to falling in the cold water and getting wet.

         Answer: A


8.      Are scientific attitudes unique to science? Explain briefly.


·  Most scientific attitudes would be useful or desirable in many aspects of society, including voting on complex issues and purchasing an expensive item.

·  Endeavours based on faith and/or anecdotal evidence would least likely involve attitudes/dispositions similar to scientific attitudes.


* Most of the questions are taken or adapted from a “Test on Scientific Attitudes”, 1981, by G. Andruski, J. Kozlow and M. A. Nay.