QUESTIONNAIRE TO EXAMINE ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF EVOLUTION AND SCIENTIFIC METHOD

 

Questions 1 – 20 are used to examine acceptance of evolutionary theory. For each question, please indicate your response by clicking the button of the most appropriate answer.

 

e.g.     To make any scientific determinations about historic occurrences in nature, there must be direct human observation.

 

Strongly agree Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

 

1.       Evolution is a valid scientific theory.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

2.       Organisms existing today are the result of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

3.       The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

4.       Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

5.       There is a considerable body of data that supports evolutionary theory.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

6.       Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

7.       The theory of evolution is incapable of being scientifically tested.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

8.       The theory of evolution cannot be correct since it disagrees with the Biblical account of creation.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

9.       Most organisms on Earth came into existence at about the same time.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

10.     The age of the Earth is less than 20,000 years.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

11.     The theory of evolution brings meaning to the diverse characters and behaviours observed in living things.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

12.     Evolutionary theory generates testable predictions with respect to the relationships of living things.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

13.     Organisms exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

14.     Evolution is not a valid scientific theory.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

15.     Much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

16.     Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

17.     Evolutionary theory is supported by factual, historical, and laboratory data.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

18.     Humans exist today in the same form in which they always have.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

19.     The age of the Earth is approximately 4-5 billion years.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

20.     The available evidence is ambiguous as to whether evolution actually occurs.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

Questions 21 – 41 are designed to examine understanding of evolutionary theory. For each question, please chose the letter by the statement that you consider most likely to be correct.

 

21.     The evolutionary theory proposed by Charles Darwin was

 

A.     Change in populations through time as a result of mutations.

B.     The spontaneous generation of new organisms.

C.     The passing on of genes from one generation to the next.

D.     Change in populations through time as a response to environmental change.

E.      The development of characteristics by organisms in response to need.

 

22.     The wing of the bat and the forelimb of the dog are said to be homologous structures. This indicates that

 

A.     They have the same function.

B.     Bats evolved from a lineage of dogs.

C.     They are structures that are similar due to common ancestry.

D.     The limb bones of each are anatomically identical.

E.      They have a different ancestry but a common function.

 

23.     Using radioactive dating techniques, the first life seems to have appeared on the earth about

 

A.     3.5 billion years ago

B.     270 million years ago

C.     10 thousand years ago

D.     4.5 million years ago

E.      10 billion years ago

 

24.     Which of the following phrases best describes the process of evolution?

 

A.     The development of humans from monkey-like ancestors.

B.     The change of simple to complex organisms.

C.     The development of characteristics in response to need.

D.    Change of populations through time.

E.      The change of populations solely in response to natural selection.

 

25.     Marine mammals have many structural characteristics in common with fishes. The explanation that evolutionary theory would give for this similarity is

 

A.     Fish and mammals are closely related.

B.     Fish evolved structures similar to those already existing in mammals.

C.     Marine mammals evolved directly from the fishes.

D.    Marine mammals never developed use of limbs.

E.      Marine mammals adapted to an environment similar to that of the fishes.

26.     An alteration in the arrangement of nucleotides in a chromosome, possibly resulting in either a structural or physiological change in the organism, is called

 

A.   Genetic drift

B.     Gene flow

C.     A mutation

D.     Natural selection

E.      A recessive gene

 

27.     It is thought that there was a rapid evolutionary rate once animal life invaded land from the oceans. This explanation given for this rapid evolution is

 

A.   There were many potential habitats for new forms to fill

B.     The land was a perfect haven for life

C.     There were many climatic changes occurring at that time

D.     Radiation from the sun caused many mutations

E.      The ocean was too stable and limited to allow for evolution to occur.

28.     The first animals to settle on land probably had which one of the following characteristics?

 

A.   They were quite mobile to escape from predators

B.     They were partially dependent on water for survival

C.     They were capable of completely adapting to the terrestrial environment in their life span

D.     They had wings for flight from one habitat to another

E.      They were able to feed on terrestrial plants

 

29.     Two islands are found in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, isolated from any other land mass. These two islands were at one time connected by a land bridge and are of recent origin. They have identical plant and animal life and are separated by 50km of ocean. Assuming that they now live in different environments with different selection pressures, which of these island populations would be most likely to be reproductively isolated, possibly allowing for new species to evolve?

 

A.   Dandelions, which have airborne seeds

B.     Coconuts, which have floating seeds

C.     Birds

D.     Butterflies

E.      Mice

30.     The population of kakapo has been dramatically reduced by the actions of humans. Which of the following is most likely to threaten their ability to continue to evolve in response to the pressures of their environment?

 

A.   There is no longer the prospect of over-reproduction

B.     There is no longer the prospect of a struggle for limited resources

C.     There is a lack of genetic variation for selection to act upon

D.      There is no longer the prospect of a trait conferring a reproductive advantage

E.      There is no longer the prospect of genetic drift occurring

 

31.     A sudden major climatic change would most probably initially result in

 

A.   A rapid increase in adaptive radiation

B.     A rapid increase in extinction rates

C.     A sharp increase in numbers of species

D.      An increase in mutation rates

E.      Plants and animals developing new characteristics in order to cope with environmental changes

 

32.     The most compelling evidence for large-scale evolutionary change, or macroevolution, is

 

A.   Kettlewell’s release-recapture experiment with peppered moths

B.     The fossil record

C.     The occurrence of mass extinctions

D.      Domestication of plants and animals

E.      The observed increase of mutation rates across all species

 

33.     When first proposed, Darwin’s theory of natural selection did not fully explain how evolution could occur. This was due to

 

A.   Darwin’s failure to recognise the tendency of organisms to over-reproduce

B.    Darwin’s initial overemphasis of the significance of genetic drift

C.     The fact that accurate mechanisms explaining genetic inheritance were not widely known

D.     The absence of accurate descriptions of the embryological development of most plants and animals

E.      The absence of biochemical techniques to determine the genetic similarities between species

 

34.       The presence of tropical rainforest fossil forms in Antarctica can best be explained by

 

A.   A shifting of environmental requirements by these types of species

B.     A major climatic shift on the earth

C.     A drifting of some continents in a southward direction

D.      An uplifting of lowland land areas

E.      A long-term constancy of climate

 

35.     Individuals within a species tend to be genetically different. The primary mechanism generating this individual variability is

 

A.   Meiosis

B.     Mitosis

C.     Polyploidy

D.      Duplications

E.      Asexual reproduction

 

 

36.     The extinct species Archaeopteryx had characteristics of both birds and reptiles. This is an example of a(n)

 

A.   Convergent species

B.     Trace fossil

C.     Archetype

D.       Intermediate form

E.      Polymorphic species

 

 

37.     The earliest fossils found in the geological record are

 

A.   Fungi

B.     Bacteria

C.     Primitive plants

D.        Seed plants

E.      Protozoa

 

38.     Radiometric dating techniques rely on the fact that

 

A.    The bony portions of organisms decompose at a known rate

B.     Organisms that lived earlier in time will tend to be found in sediments below organisms that lived more recently

C.    The magnetic field of the earth has reversed its polarity at known time intervals in geological time

D.        The earth contains elements that change into other elements at a constant known rate

E.      During the decomposition process organic matter is converted into radioactive elements at a known rate

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39.     Which of the following best represents Lamarck’s ideas on the evolutionary process?

 

A.   Survival of the fittest

B.     Inheritance of acquired characteristics

C.     Neutral drift

D.      Punctuated equilibrium

E.      Assortive mating

 

40.     Which of the following is not a part of Darwin’s theory of natural selection?

 

A.   Individuals of a population vary

B.     Organisms tend to over-reproduce themselves

C.     There are limited resources for which individuals compete

D.         Modifications of an organism acquires during its lifetime can be passed to its offspring

E.      Variations possessed by individuals of a population are heritable

 

41.     The life histories of five birds of the same species are listed below. The most evolutionarily successful bird is the one that

 

A.   Live 5 years, lays 12 eggs in a lifetime, 4 hatch and survive to breed

B.     Lives 4 years, lays 8 eggs in a lifetime, 5 hatch and survive to breed

C.    Lives 6 years, lays 2 eggs in a lifetime, 2 hatch and survive to breed

D.       Lives 4 years, lays 7 eggs in a lifetime, 6 hatch and survive to breed

E.      Lives 5 years, lays 4 eggs in a lifetime, 3 hatch and survive to breed

 

Questions 42 – 58 are used to examine understanding of the nature of science. For each question, please indicate your response by clicking the button of the most appropriate answer.

 

42.     The goal of science is the improvement of the quality of life for humans.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

43.     Scientists must limit their investigations to the natural world, rather than examine issues based on belief.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

44.     The scientist is limited to the investigation of phenomena that are directly observable by the senses.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

45.     In science, a theory is supported by a large body of evidence.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

46.     Scientists must be accepting of all findings of their fellow researchers.

 

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47.     If an experiment yields results that are contradictory to your hypothesis, you should find other ways to corroborate the hypothesis.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

48.     The theory of evolution must deny the existence of a creator-God.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

49.     A hypothesis is a guess based on a premonition.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

50.     Scientific experiments must be repeated several times to be considered valid.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

51.     Any scientific finding that contradicts religious doctrine should be discarded.

 

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52.     A hypothesis must be capable of being tested in order for it to be in the realm of science.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

53.     To make any scientific determinations about historic occurrences in nature, there must be direct human observation.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

54.     As a result of scientific methods, definite conclusions can be made as to the absolute and ultimate cause behind an event.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

55.     Science can never reach absolute truth about a particular phenomenon in nature.

 

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56.     Science is well prepared to investigate the validity of miracles.

 

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57.     A hypothesis that has been validated by an experiment is elevated to the level of theory.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

58.     A fact in science is a truth that can never be changed.

 

Strongly disagree  Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly agree

 

Please feel free to comment on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire.

 

 

 

 

 

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