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# Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w

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Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  11 Aug 2019, 02:40
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Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, with a perfect lack of discrimination, will do any foolish thing they are told to do. The reason for this lies, of course, in the narrow fixation of the computing machine's "intelligence" on the details of its own perceptions—its inability to be guided by any large context. In a psychological description of the computer intelligence, three related adjectives come to mind: single-minded, literal-minded, and simpleminded. Recognizing this, we should at the same time recognize that this single-mindedness, literal-mindedness, and simplemindedness also characterizes theoretical mathematics, though to a lesser extent.

Since science tries to deal with reality, even the most precise sciences normally work with more or less imperfectly understood approximations toward which scientists must maintain an appropriate skepticism. Thus, for instance, it may come as a shock to mathematicians to learn that the Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is not a literally correct description of this atom, but only an approximation to a somewhat more correct equation taking account of spin, magnetic dipole, and relativistic effects; and that this corrected equation is itself only an imperfect approximation to an infinite set of quantum field-theoretical equations. Physicists, looking at the original Schrodinger equation, learn to sense in it the presence of many invisible terms in addition to the differential terms visible, and this sense inspires an entirely appropriate disregard for the purely technical features of the equation. This very healthy skepticism is foreign to the mathematical approach.

Mathematics must deal with well-defined situations. Thus, mathematicians depend on an intellectual effort outside of mathematics for the crucial specification of the approximation that mathematics is to take literally. Give mathematicians a situation that is the least bit ill-defined, and they will make it well-defined, perhaps appropriately, but perhaps inappropriately. In some cases, the mathematicians' literal-mindedness may have unfortunate consequences. The mathematicians turn the scientists' theoretical assumptions, that is, their convenient points of analytical emphasis, into axioms, and then take these axioms literally. This brings the danger that they may also persuade the scientists to take these axioms literally. The question, central to the scientific investigation but intensely disturbing in the mathematical context—what happens if the axioms are relaxed? —is thereby ignored.

The physicist rightly dreads precise argument, since an argument that is convincing only if it is precise loses all its force if the assumptions on which it is based are slightly changed, whereas an argument that is convincing though imprecise may well be stable under small perturbations of its underlying assumptions.
21. The author discusses computing machines in the first paragraph primarily in order to do which the following?

A) Indicate the dangers inherent in relying to a great extent on machines
B) Illustrate his views about the approach of mathematicians to problem solving
C) Compare the work of mathematicians with that of computer programmers
D) Provide one definition of intelligence
E) Emphasize the importance of computers in modern technological society

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

22. According to the passage, scientists are skeptical toward their equations because scientists

(A) work to explain real, rather than theoretical or simplified, situations
(B) know that well-defined problems are often the most difficult to solve
(C) are unable to express their data in terms of multiple variables
(D) are unwilling to relax the axioms they have developed
(E) are unable to accept mathematical explanations of natural phenomena

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A

23. It can be inferred from the passage that scientists make which of the following assumptions about scientific arguments?

(A) The literal truth of the arguments can be made clear only in a mathematical context.
(B) The arguments necessarily ignore the central question of scientific investigation.
(C) The arguments probably will be convincing only to other scientists.
(D) The conclusions of the arguments do not necessarily follow from their premises.
(E) The premises on which the arguments are based may change.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E

24. According to the passage, mathematicians present a danger to scientists for which of the following reasons?

(A) Mathematicians may provide theories that are incompatible with those already developed by scientists.
(B) Mathematicians may define situations in a way that is incomprehensible to scientists.
(C) Mathematicians may convince scientists that theoretical assumptions are facts-.
(D) Scientists may come to believe that axiomatic statements are untrue.
(E) Scientists may begin to provide arguments that are convincing but imprecise.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C

25. The author suggests that the approach of physicists to solving scientific problems is which of the following?

(A) Practical for scientific purposes
(B) Detrimental to scientific progress
(C) Unimportant in most situations
(D) Expedient, but of little long-term value
(E) Effective, but rarely recognized as such

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A

26. The author suggests that a mathematician asked to solve a problem in an ill-defined situation would first attempt to do which of the following?

(A) Identify an analogous situation
(B) Simplify and define the situation
(C) Vary the underlying assumptions of a description of the situation
(D) Determine what use would be made of the solution provided
(E) Evaluate the theoretical assumptions that might explain the situation

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

27. The author implies that scientists develop a healthy skepticism because they are aware that

(A) mathematicians are better able to solve problems than are scientists
(B) changes in axiomatic propositions will inevitably undermine scientific arguments
(C) well-defined situations are necessary for the design of reliable experiments
(D) mathematical solutions can rarely be applied to real problems
(E) some factors in most situations must remain unknown

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E

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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  04 Feb 2020, 20:49
Can someone help me with 23? I selected A but wrong
And 25? Where in the passage did the author suggest that the physicists' approach is practical?
And 27? I selected right answer but was wavering at C. I feel like C is applied only to mathematicians not all scientists, correct me if I'm wrong
Thank you so much,
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  06 Feb 2020, 14:29
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mind wrote:
Can someone help me with 23? I selected A but wrong
And 25? Where in the passage did the author suggest that the physicists' approach is practical?
And 27? I selected right answer but was wavering at C. I feel like C is applied only to mathematicians not all scientists, correct me if I'm wrong
Thank you so much,

I think your 5/7 is still a great score, as this passage's difficulty level was hard.

For 23, Scientists believed that small perturbations in an equation or a premise is inevitable. On the other hand, mathematics are the ones who take axioms lierally. So, E is the correct answer.

For 25, Though it is not directly stated that physicists' approach to scientific investigations is practical. the author does agree that physicists and scientific approaches are similar. They both disavow literal mindedness techniques that is often embraced by mathematicians.

For 27, Yes, you are correct, option C was in-directed towards mathematicians.

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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  08 Feb 2020, 21:51
theBrahmaTiger wrote:
mind wrote:
Can someone help me with 23? I selected A but wrong
And 25? Where in the passage did the author suggest that the physicists' approach is practical?
And 27? I selected right answer but was wavering at C. I feel like C is applied only to mathematicians not all scientists, correct me if I'm wrong
Thank you so much,

I think your 5/7 is still a great score, as this passage's difficulty level was hard.

For 23, Scientists believed that small perturbations in an equation or a premise is inevitable. On the other hand, mathematics are the ones who take axioms lierally. So, E is the correct answer.

For 25, Though it is not directly stated that physicists' approach to scientific investigations is practical. the author does agree that physicists and scientific approaches are similar. They both disavow literal mindedness techniques that is often embraced by mathematicians.

For 27, Yes, you are correct, option C was in-directed towards mathematicians.

Thank you theBrahmaTiger. I think your explanation for 25 is great. Sometimes, it's not clearly stated, instead a general understanding of the passage will help solve the answer

For 23, after re-examine what I did wrong, I think I probably found the portion of the passage that helps me solve this question "The physicist rightly dreads precise argument, since an argument that is convincing only if it is precise loses all its force if the assumptions on which it is based are slightly changed, whereas an argument that is convincing though imprecise may well be stable under small perturbations of its underlying assumptions." This sentence is complex in the structure and hard to understand fully, but I think it essentially says that - If a perfectly correct argument exists, it will lose all legitimacy if underlying assumption changes even just a bit; and as for a good (not perfectly correct) argument, a slight changes in the underlying assumption will still hold its validity.
Would love to further my understanding of this sentence if anyone willing to help
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  09 Feb 2020, 02:01
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It is exactly contrary to your understanding.

The scholars, in this specific case the physicist is scared of an argument that the underlined assumptions are not questionable, apparently, because when it is refuted will fall completely apart, disintegrated.

On the other hand, the argument that is debatable in the end will not lose ALL the underlined assumption but maybe needs small changes in the trajectories but it will NOT fall completely apart and will stand to some extent.

This is basically the suggestion, in a more general way, how our knowledge of the world or the universe will advance.

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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  07 Apr 2020, 10:56
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As the usual I get the last one wrong.
Could someone elaborate as in where it is stated "some factors in most situations must remain unknown".
I am having issues with the "must", due to which I didn't opt for the answer.

However, since I guess it is healthy to find where the correct answers stems from (even when wrong), would the following sentence be indicative of this as answer being correct-->"The physicist rightly dreads precise argument, since an argument that is convincing only if it is precise loses all its force if the assumptions on which it is based are slightly changed," ?
Cheers!
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  07 Apr 2020, 13:51
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bubidag wrote:
As the usual I get the last one wrong.
Could someone elaborate as in where it is stated "some factors in most situations must remain unknown".
I am having issues with the "must", due to which I didn't opt for the answer.

However, since I guess it is healthy to find where the correct answers stems from (even when wrong), would the following sentence be indicative of this as answer being correct-->"The physicist rightly dreads precise argument, since an argument that is convincing only if it is precise loses all its force if the assumptions on which it is based are slightly changed," ?
Cheers!

This very healthy skepticism is foreign to the mathematical approach.

This line and the sentence preceding it is implying why scientists develop healthy skepticism. Scientists including physicists are aware that they have made theoretical assumptions, that their theories are not perfect, that the assumptions MAY contain some invisible elements.

This indicates that some parts IN MOST SITUATIONS (NOT IN ALL SITUATIONS) must remain unknown, so they develop skepticism.
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  29 May 2020, 19:33
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21. The author discusses computing machines in the first paragraph primarily in order to do which the following?
B) Illustrate his views about the approach of mathematicians to problem solving
correct: we should at the same time recognize that this single-mindedness, literal-mindedness,
and simplemindedness also characterizes theoretical mathematics
,

22. According to the passage, scientists are skeptical toward their equations because scientists
POE
(A) work to explain real, rather than theoretical or simplified, situations
Correct-
Since science tries to deal with reality, even the most precise sciences normally work with more or less
imperfectly understood approximations toward which scientists must maintain an appropriate skepticism.

23. It can be inferred from the passage that scientists make which of the following assumptions about scientific arguments?
POE
(E) The premises on which the arguments are based may change.
Correct- Last Para

24. According to the passage, mathematicians present a danger to scientists for which of the following reasons?
(C) Mathematicians may convince scientists that theoretical assumptions are facts-.
Correct- The mathematicians turn the scientists' theoretical assumptions……… into axioms,
and then take these axioms literally.

25. The author suggests that the approach of physicists to solving scientific problems is which of the following?
POE
(A) Practical for scientific purposes
correct
(B) Detrimental to scientific progress
(C) Unimportant in most situations
(D) Expedient, but of little long-term value
(E) Effective, but rarely recognized as such
B to E- Not supported in passage

26. The author suggests that a mathematician asked to solve a problem in an ill-defined situation would first attempt to do which of the following?
(B) Simplify and define the situation
Correct: Give mathematicians a situation that is the least bit ill-defined, and they will make it well-defined,
(C) Vary the underlying assumptions of a description of the situation
(E) Evaluate the theoretical assumptions that might explain the situation
C& E- trap answers which may seem correct in view of what follows in the Para 3. But these are not
related to the situation asked in question

27. The author implies that scientists develop a healthy skepticism because they are aware that
(B) changes in axiomatic propositions will inevitably undermine scientific arguments
Incorrect trap answer. But not supported in passage.
(E) some factors in most situations must remain unknown
Correct-
Physicists, looking at the original Schrodinger equation, learn to sense in it the presence of
many invisible terms in addition to the differential terms visible, and this sense inspires an entirely appropriate
disregard for the purely technical features of the equation. This very healthy skepticism….
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  21 Jun 2020, 12:28
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  23 Jun 2020, 22:41
Such a long article @carcass. Do they really expect us to solve all these in such limited time?
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  24 Jun 2020, 05:45
Expert's post
Farina wrote:
Such a long article @carcass. Do they really expect us to solve all these in such limited time?

No, I am not

But ETS yes

However, think that the passages in the GRE now are shorter than this old RC
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  06 Jul 2020, 08:18
can anyone explain 24 for me?
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  10 Jul 2020, 03:43
Damn! Got the inference one wrong. Was confused between D and E :/
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  22 Aug 2020, 07:35
cnk1 wrote:
27. The author implies that scientists develop a healthy skepticism because they are aware that
(B) changes in axiomatic propositions will inevitably undermine scientific arguments
Incorrect trap answer. But not supported in passage.
(E) some factors in most situations must remain unknown
Correct-
Physicists, looking at the original Schrodinger equation, learn to sense in it the presence of
many invisible terms in addition to the differential terms visible, and this sense inspires an entirely appropriate
disregard for the purely technical features of the equation. This very healthy skepticism….

Actually, B does have support in the passage in the last paragraph - I just don't think it was helping us understand the development of healthy skepticism.

To answer a previous question why E is right, even though it has such an extreme wording ("must remain unknown"), I think because the author says healthy skepticism is not a part of the "mathematical approach", healthy skepticism is part of the scientific approach (using the block of 4 reasoning). Also, earlier in the second paragraph, it is stated that dealing with reality results in making "imperfectly understood" assumptions as a "normal" occurence.

However, I am still a little confused. My qualm about this choice is the word "normally" - "normally" means "usually", which does not fit with the word "must" in answer choice E.

If someone can help me understand the last part, it would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w [#permalink]  22 Aug 2020, 08:17
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Since science tries to deal with reality, even the most precise sciences normally work with more or less imperfectly understood approximations toward which scientists must maintain an appropriate skepticism. Thus, for instance, it may come as a shock to mathematicians to learn that the Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is not a literally correct description of this atom, but only an approximation to a somewhat more correct equation taking account of spin, magnetic dipole, and relativistic effects; and that this corrected equation is itself only an imperfect approximation to an infinite set of quantum field-theoretical equations. Physicists, looking at the original Schrodinger equation, learn to sense in it the presence of many invisible terms in addition to the differential terms visible, and this sense inspires an entirely appropriate disregard for the purely technical features of the equation. This very healthy skepticism is foreign to the mathematical approach.

27. The author implies that scientists develop a healthy skepticism because they are aware that

(A) mathematicians are better able to solve problems than are scientists

Not what the passage above says

(B) changes in axiomatic propositions will inevitably undermine scientific arguments

Not what the passage above says

(C) well-defined situations are necessary for the design of reliable experiments

Not what the passage above says

(D) mathematical solutions can rarely be applied to real problems

Not what the passage above says

(E) some factors in most situations must remain unknown

Correct

Hope this helps
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Re: Computer programmers often remark that computing machines, w   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2020, 08:17
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