Title 5 – KQ 5: How far are the knowledge claims accepted beyond evidence in areas of Natural sciences and Human sciences?
KQ 5: How far are the knowledge claims accepted beyond evidence in areas of Natural sciences and Human sciences?
The development of methods of testing and supporting knowledge claims has been the subject of recurring debates and discussions amongst scientists and philosophers through out the past few centuries. These thinkers have supported and argued for the priority and precedence of one or the another method for establishing reliability of scientific knowledge.
Scientific models stand validated based on how much the models have been experimentally tested, for how long, and what is the degree of acceptance in the scientific community. Overall knowledge claims are accredited over time as evidence accumulates and the accompanying explanations prove more powerful than its alternatives at explaining the evidence.
However, there is no consensus among philosophers about the central problem whether science can reveal the truth about unobservable things and whether scientific reasoning can be justified at all. Distinguishing between science and non-science including pseudoscience, fringe science, or junk science , that masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy, has existed as a core demarcation problem to a greater extent in present times.
Even Physicist Richard Feynman coined the term “cargo cult science” for cases in which researchers believe they are doing science because their activities have the outward appearance of it but actually lack the “kind of utter honesty” that allows their results to be rigorously evaluated. Currently we are witnessing a barrage of research findings that even a layperson finds confusing and difficult to rely on.“Scientists are often skeptical of theories that rely on frequent, unsupported adjustments to sustain them. This is because, if a theorist so chooses, there is no limit to the number of ad hoc hypotheses that they could add. Thus the theory becomes more and more complex, but is never falsified. This is often at a cost to the theory’s predictive power, however. Ad hoc hypotheses are often characteristic of pseudoscientific subjects.”
Paul Feyerabend , the Austrian philosopher of science , criticised the methodical monism (the belief that only a single methodology can produce scientific progress) and identified four distinct characteristics : the principle of falsification, a demand for increased empirical content, the forbidding of ad hoc hypotheses and the consistency condition. He then demonstrates through the example of Galileo’s advancing of a heliocentric cosmology was an example of scientific progress achieved by not adhering to the conditions of methodological monism. Feyerabend also argues that, if Galileo had adhered to the conditions of methodological monism, then he could not have advanced a heliocentric cosmology.
Karl Popper‘ explains the scientific epistemology through falsificationism that no number, degree, and variety of empirical successes can either verify or confirm scientific theory. Knowledge develops and evolves by conjectures and refutations .Nonetheless it is both practical and important to remember that for most part , the natural and human world is observable and hypotheses and theories are useful in explaining data , answering lots of questions and helping us to make our world comparatively predictable and knowable.