Tok Essay on Natural Sciences

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What is it about theories in natural and human sciences that make them so convincing? During the course of my Biology HL syllabus, I came across the theory of the fluid mosaic model. I instantly considered this theory to be absolute and accurate. This level of certainty was created with the first reading of the theory, and evoked the question as to what makes the theories formulated in natural and human sciences as convincing as they are. Both Natural and Human scientists take pride in the fact that their work is the result of long, precise and experimental research and the fact that their theories are able to overcome the skeptical approach of human nature and produce enough certainty in people to accept their work without further questioning. I will attempt to state and explain the reasons for this creation of such certainty by incorporating three areas of knowledge. Firstly, natural sciences and how they are so convincing despite the lack of certainty. Then I will elaborate on the human sciences and how its theories are debatable and the difference between the two sciences. Lastly I will intrude into the ethical aspect of the knowledge issue, as conflicting emotions and reason are essential in creating the faith and belief in the theories formulated by these explicit and evidence rich areas of knowledge. We as humans are generally skeptical about various sources of information, but this skeptic approach does not apply to science as we consider all scientific information to be true and from a reliable source. This approach reveals the fact that evidence and understanding of the concept is a key factor assisting the reasoning of the mind. While studying Taxation in microeconomics, I realized that theories that are said to produce a certain effect are not realistically proven or implemented in the real world. For example, a theory in taxation states that, if a tax is imposed on a producer with inelastic supply then the entire tax incidence is borne by the producers themselves. But, in reality such a situation does not exist, the producers generally raise prices to higher levels where the revenue is more than sufficient to pay the tax imposed on them, which means that the consumers actually bear the brunt of the new taxation policy. We accept such theories at first as they are said to be formulate by a reliable source and seem to be probable. So why do the theories from these areas of knowledge appear so convincing to us despite the uncertainties that are presented by them? Why are they accepted as the truth even before they are completely evaluated? It is evident that the reason we trust science as a reliable and infallible source of information is because we believe in science. This belief has led to the creation of faith towards science, which has compelled us to accept all that science offers without a doubt of reason. The psychology behind this belief exclaims that we believe in science the same way as we believe that our new car is not going to explode on its first travel. Cars stay safe more often than not and science in the same way has proven itself accurate many more times than it has been proved wrong. The belief and faith induced by scientific theories has been developed over time through constant provision of proof and evidence, which are the basic requirements for human beings to trust in something. While studying and understanding theories regarding sub-atomic particles, which are practically invisible, such as the VSEPR theory or the theory of hybridization, I don’t question the strength of the theory itself as it is a result of extensive research and has overcome the challenges posed by many to prove them wrong. Thus, the efforts to prove the theory wrong and the failure to do so have actually strengthened the belief in science, thus providing a logical and universal explanation justifying the theory formulated. Also, human nature suggests that we need to believe in something, and more often than not...
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