Title 5 – KQ 6 : Is the quality of knowledge produced directly proportional to the duration of historical development in the area of Natural Sciences?
In the area of Natural Sciences, the produced knowledge is always open to question and revision; no idea is proved for eternity; ideas that we accept today may get modified or rejected out rightly when tested with new evidence in future. Over a long duration of time, Natural Science has evolved as a disciplined, logical search for knowledge obtained by examination of the best available evidence subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence and thus always moving towards “ Quality “.
Compared to other disciplines, Science is often identified by its progressive nature: in contrast to art, religion, philosophy, morality, and politics, there exist clear standards or normative criteria for identifying improvements and advances in science. The historian of science George Sarton argued, “the acquisition and systematization of positive knowledge are the only human activities which are truly cumulative and progressive. For instance, up until 1938, paleontologists accepted the idea that coelacanths (an ancient fish) went extinct about 80 million years ago. But that year, a live coelacanth was discovered off the coast of South Africa, causing scientists to revise their ideas and begin to investigate how this animal survives in the deep sea.
The idea that science is a collective enterprise of researchers in successive generations is characteristic of the Modern Age (Nisbet 1980). Classical empiricists (Francis Bacon) and rationalists (René Descartes) of the seventeenth century urged that the use of “ Quality” methods of inquiry guarantees the discovery and justification of new truths.
The theories in Natural Sciences call for a general consensus amongst the scientific community after the observations, experiments, investigations and results are found to be consistent , reproducible and in agreement over time. Over time the claims and counterclaims stand to persevere from scrutiny and exploration, the resulting outcome is based on a well balanced and robust foundation.This examination through claims and conflicting claims entails deeper recognition and judgment instead of mere accommodation. Taking for instance, Theory building or Theory change in Natural and Human sciences involve a community process of sharing experiments, observations, feedback and interpreting the data in distinct ways and in varied settings. The process entails rigor and prolonged deliberation that has the higher objective to seek “Quality” Knowledge for the entire Humanity.