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Paper Example on Topographic Maps and Plate Tectonics

3 pages
593 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Course work
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Topographic maps are useful in defining the slope of earths surface, description and location of geologic features and identifying which direction surface and groundwater flow. Details on the map can be useful to other people apart from geologists. It can be useful in planning road construction as it can show where rivers and streams are located and the steepness of slopes. As such, during planning, roads can be designed in a way that they do not affect rivers and streams and avoid steep slopes. Topographic maps are different from regular maps in that they are detailed and accurate in their representation of the earths surface. They show details such as geographic features including aspects of the earths surface like roads and streams. They also provide details of the shape of earths surface and names of geographic places.

Wegeners hypothesis that the continents were once one large land mass received criticism and was not accepted by other scientists. Although Wegener had collected evidence across many scientific fields and supported his hypothesis, scientists refuted it as Wegener could not explain what force made the land to push or pull apart. Wegeners idea that the forces that caused the drift were centrifugal force and tidal pull was not sufficient as scientists argued that these forces were not strong enough. Therefore, although Wegener showed that the continents had several similarities, scientists argued that similarities were not enough evidence for a former connection between continents. Scientists considered that explanation that the similarities were due to a land bridge as being more plausible that Wegeners Continental Drift Hypothesis.

When faced with two competing hypotheses, scientists can use refutation to decide between the two. According to Harre (2013), this involves undertaking crucial tests whose goal is to falsify one of the hypothesis. The tests conducted should result in data that has the probative force of eliminating one of the hypothesis. Scientists can also determine which among the two has a higher explanatory power. As such, they decide which hypothesis between better explains the phenomenon and chooses it. For instance, the Copernican and Ptolemaic hypothesis both tried to explain the movement of the sun in relation to the earth. Scientists accepted the Copernican hypothesis that the planets revolved around the sun, rather than Ptolemaic which argued that the sun revolved around the earth. Copernicus provided an alternative hypothesis that was more plausible than Ptolemys.

Although the evolution theory has wide acceptance as a plausible theory for the origin of life, there is yet a consensus on how conscious play to this theory or how it arises in the brain. Evolution is a theory based on the physical. However, consciousness does not fit into the material realm, hence making it difficult for evolution to explain why and how consciousness exists. For proponents of evolution, consciousness may have arisen from natural selection and mutation. Additionally, it remains unclear to what extent this subjective concept is experienced with some scientists arguing that it is either present or absent while others argue that it is present but in varying levels. Whatever the stand, the problem remains unsolved as it is challenging to falsify the presence of consciousness. Consciousness is subjective to everyone hence it is difficult to create an experiment that can refute it. The nature of consciousness also makes it difficult to be tested scientifically. Therefore, although it is scientifically possible to determine a conscious mind, it is challenging to answer the question of why a conscious mind exists.


Harre, R. (2013). Great Scientific Experiments: Twenty Experiments that Changed our View of the World. Dover Publications.

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