HSPT Reading : Making Predictions in Science Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #361 : Hspt Reading

Adapted from An Introduction to Astronomy by Forest Ray Moulton (1916 ed.)

The ancient Greeks, at a period four or five hundred years preceding the common era, definitely undertook to find from systematic observation how celestial phenomena follow one another. They determined very accurately the number of days in the year, the period of the moon's revolution, and the paths of the sun and the moon among the stars; they correctly explained the cause of eclipses and learned how to predict them with a considerable degree of accuracy; they undertook to measure the distances to the heavenly bodies, and to work out a complete system that would represent their motions. The idea was current among the Greek philosophers that the earth was spherical, that it turned on its axis, and, among some of them, that it revolved around the sun. They had true science in the modern acceptance of the term, but it was largely confined to the relations among celestial phenomena.

The conception that the heavens are orderly, which they definitely formulated and acted on with remarkable success, has been extended, especially in the last two centuries, so as to include the whole universe. The extension was first made to the inanimate world and then to the more complicated phenomena associated with living beings. Every increase in carefully recorded experience has confirmed and strengthened the belief that nature is perfectly orderly, until now every one who has had an opportunity of becoming familiar with any science is firmly convinced of the truth of this principle, which is the basis of all science.

Based on the passage, which of the following would cause the end of all science if it were true?

Possible Answers:

The arrogance of unmethodical scientists

The ignorance of superstitious people

A lack of patterns in natural phenomena

A strict focus on celestial phenomena

None of the other answers

Correct answer:

A lack of patterns in natural phenomena


The last paragraph stresses the role of orderliness in making science possible. If the phenomena of the world did not exhibit regularity, it would be impossible for there to be science at all. That is, where there is no law seen, there will be no law recorded. 

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