Conflicting Viewpoints: Understanding Point of View
As you read each ACT Science passage, look closely for keywords that help you identify each scientist’s opinions. What does the author like? What does he dislike? What adjectives and adverbs does he use to describe the various scientific topics? He may feel positively about one thing, and negatively about another. Feel free to use smiley faces or positive and negative symbols to mark up the passages and make sense of them, and ask yourself questions to help you summarize the author’s point of view. Don’t feel like you have to take extensive, detailed notes. A few short notes or underlined sections will be enough to help you refer back! The important thing is to read actively, not passively.
Try a sample Conflicting Viewpoints question asking us to comprehend point of view!
The evolution of the “modern” humans, Homo sapiens was a result of parallel evolution from populations of Homo erectus and an intermediary of some sort. This process occurred in Africa, Europe and Asia with some genetic intermixing among some members of these populations. There is clear anatomical evidence for this theory when comparing certain minor anatomical structures of Homo erectus populations with modern humans from these areas. These anatomical differences are so minor, this is clear evidence that modern humans must have evolved separately in Africa, Europe and Asia. This is the “Multi-Generational Hypothesis.”
Which of the following best states the basis for the belief of Scientist 1?
- Molecular changes are more important than anatomical differences
- Molecular changes are less important than anatomical differences
- Molecular changes are more important than anatomical similarities
- Molecular changes are less important than anatomical similarities
Scientist 1 states: “These anatomical differences are so minor, this is clear evidence that modern humans must have evolved separately in Africa, Europe and Asia.” Clearly, Scientist 1’s focus is on the “differences.” The answer is (B).
If you are having trouble finding what the overall point of view is for the passage or paragraph, go back to the very first sentence and the very last sentence – often they contain the most obvious clues.