Analyze the claims being made according to 3 of the above 6 principles of scientific thinking.

For your assignment:

a) Analyze the claims being made according to 3 of the above 6 principles of scientific thinking. It may be the case that the scenario does a good job of following some of these 6 scientific principles, but does not do a good job of following others. If you think the scenario does a good job of following one of the principles that you have chosen to write about (e.g., you think it does a good job in ruling out rival hypotheses), provide a detailed response as to why you think that. If you think the scenario does not do a good job of following one of the principles (e.g., it fails to consider rival hypotheses), please provide a comprehensive answer and say what would need to be done to make sure the scenario follows the principle (e.g., what the rival hypotheses might be). You will probably find that you have more interesting material to write about if you try to look for the ways that the scenario fails to follow a scientific principle, than if you look for the ways it succeeds. In other words, it may be easier for you to try to find what the scenario is ‘missing’ rather than what it did right. The scenario has been specially created so that it fails to abide by some – but not all – of these scientific principles. Hence, not all of the principles will apply and you need to decide which you will write about.

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b) Analyze the claims according to 1 of the above 3 warning signs related to pseudoscientific claims. The scenario also contains one (or more) of the warning signs of pseudoscience. Pick one of the three warning signs from the list and discuss how it applies to the scenario. You should discuss the warning sign in general (e.g., why it is not appropriate to rely on anecdotal evidence when making claims) and how it applies to the scenario (e.g., what anecdotes are mentioned in the scenario and why they are problematic).

SCENARIO

Sex as a Teenager Can Cause Brain Damage

A breakthrough study has changed everything we know about teenage sex! Research done by Dr. Raymond Negeva, a professor at Ohio State University, finds that having sex as a teenager could be damaging to the brain. He and his colleagues explain that the brain of a teenager is still developing. Having sex during this critical time period could thus influence brain development and also leads to the experience of bad moods and depression later in life.

To examine the effects of adolescent sex, the researchers tested male hamsters that were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One of the groups of hamsters had sexual intercourse during adolescence when they were 40 days old (the human equivalent of about 15.4 years old). The other group of hamsters had sexual intercourse during adulthood when they were 90 days old (the human equivalent of about 21.2 years old). Other than the sexual experience, all of the hamsters were housed individually, and isolated from other hamster contact. All of the hamsters were then tested 120 days later for depression, reproductive health, and changes in brain structure.

When comparing the “adolescent sex” group with the “adult sex” group, the researchers found that the hamsters that had teenage sex spent more time floating, rather than swimming, when placed in a swimming pool (considered a sign of depression). These hamsters also had less developed brain cells and smaller seminal vesicles and vas deferens (which secrete and transport semen). These results prove that sex as a teenager is damaging for all animals, including humans. The Canadian government should do more to prevent adolescent copulation, otherwise, we risk a whole generation of neurally hampered, seminally vacant, disconsolate individuals!

MARKING SCHEME

Your written assignment should be no more than 600 words and you should allocate approximately 150 words (or less) to each of the 3 scientific principles you choose and the last 150 words to the warning sign of pseudoscience. There is no need for a specific introduction or conclusion in this paper. Each of the 3 scientific thinking principles and 1 warning sign you select will be marked out of 3 marks (for 12 marks), and 2 marks are for writing quality, so the written assignment will be out of 14 marks.

 For this assignment, the only sources you should consult are our class lectures/notes and the course textbook. If you would like to cite the class notes in the text of your assignment in APA format.

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