“What Kinds of Explanations Do Scientists Offer and How Do Those Compare with Those Offered in Other Areas of Knowledge? What Are the Differences Between Theories and Myths, as Forms of Explanation?”

Topics: Scientific method, Theory, Nanking Massacre Pages: 5 (1719 words) Published: May 8, 2011
“What kinds of explanations do scientists offer and how do those compare with those offered in other Areas of Knowledge? What are the differences between theories and myths, as forms of explanation?” The kinds of explanations offered by scientists compare and contrast to those offered by myths. But what are explanations? An explanation is a description, clarification, or justification of any claim or event. People tend to frequently look to scientists for these explanations, a scientist as in someone who studies science and actively tries to find knowledge in any science including Physical or social sciences; however, for the purpose of this essay, I will mainly be focusing on physical sciences. In addition, according to the title, theories and myths are both forms of explanation. Theories are explanations of any aspect from the natural world and are accepted knowledge that is organized to figure out a specific set of phenomena, whereas myths are traditional, typically ancient stories dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serve as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society. But which is more reliable, and why? I believe that, usually, scientists offer explanations that are more logical and rational compared to those offered by other Areas of Knowledge, specifically History; however sometimes science has explanations that seem logical and yet, are not much better than those offered by History. Furthermore, I believe that theories are more hypothetical than myths and can offer more truth and are based on facts and ‘knowledge’. Personally, as a student, I believe that scientific claims are more reliable than historic claims, this is due to the fact that in school, we were taught that Science is a very objective subject and involves no emotion what so ever. It felt right to me; science seemed to have theories and hypotheses that were very believable and reliable compared to the story telling of history. Myths come from history, they are a form of storytelling also. The Greek, for instance, used to believe that Zeus is a god who controls the weather. They thought than when he was angered or was arguing with his sibling gods, lightning strikes and storms occur. Here, the Greek simply tried to explain natural disasters and why they happen. They had neither the technology nor the knowledge, at the time, to explain these occurrences otherwise. Scientists usually give solid conclusions and base their theories on facts, whereas, historians usually base their theories on biased data and end up with debatable conclusions. Scientists attempt investigating something new and consequently, need to go through the whole investigation, research, and problem solving process. They use facts and scientifically explained knowledge to base their theories upon; therefore they can arrive at very solid conclusions. They can test their theories repeatedly (if they have the technology) and, considering different circumstances, the results should be unchanging and constant. They don’t necessarily use emotion to explain their results. Historians, conversely, make theories based upon bias human ideas and manmade events. The historian also may not have experienced the event and never would because it is unrepeatable. Moreover, the historian would be basing his theories on other sources by others who have their own bias and may have used language that exaggerated and or depleted some facts and translation can also limit the true meaning of the findings and some implications may be lost with it. And with the historian’s on nationalism or bias, he/she won’t be able to arrive at such solid conclusions; in fact, his conclusion would end up being controversial and with many perceptions. Although reasoning is used in History, there is more assurance connected with the logic in science, making it more convincing than history....
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