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“One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the material of the world. One achievement in physics in the 20th century has been to prove that this aim is unattainable” -Jacob Bronowski Natural Sciences often seem to many as completely straightforward, however this is simply not the case. To explain this, we can remind ourselves of the Scientific Method, the way of expanding our knowledge; all the scientific method does is to find a testable theory that passes the test.
However the theory can have some errors in it that even if they produce positive results mean nothing. A greatly simplified way of explaining this is “Liquid metal makes water evaporate. ” Firstly many would use heated up metal for this, only the ones using a liquid metal at room temperature such as mercury would be able to disprove of this obviously erroneous theory.
As the test different metals they would claim that their theory passes all the tests positively. This makes one wonder about actual theories that are being tested.
Some tested theories need external knowledge, such as the fact that heat (over a 100C) makes water evaporate, but what about the theories that enter areas without any previous knowledge? A less exaggerated and real examples are the many physical theories that only work on earth, once we leave the earth to go in places unattainable by humans, science as a way of knowing becomes much more complex.
[This is one reasons why mathematicians dislike the scientific method].
Sometimes, scientists also build up untestable theories also built up on other untestable ones that end up making improbable assumptions such as Quantum Logic, that has managed to show us how little our understanding of the universe is; linking to the claim that science has proven that giving an exact picture of the universe is impossible. Defining science is another word having subjective definitions. Questions such as: “Is Homeopathy scientific” are answered in different ways by many scientists, who in turn refuse to call the “opposing” camp “scientists”.
Some unwanted pseudo scientists such as astrologist sometimes want to fit in as defining what they come up with as “science”, rejecting the unfavourable association with the term “pseudo science”. But some “sciences” blur the line separating these two “sciences” even more; pills producing placebo effect. Antidepressant pills do show positive results but what is it that makes them work? Their composition which would then place them into the area of science/biochemistry or in their placebo abilities which would make them enter into the social sciences areas/psychology.
This makes us wonder on whether or not some sciences are Natural Sciences, placing some will be extremely obvious while some others will reveal to be more tricky to place than expected. Natural Sciences also reveal themselves particularly useless in areas such as art, literature and various other abstract subjects. Natural Sciences fail at explaining the need for religion in many societies at an evolutionary level. One may also wonder about the ethics they manage to teach us, since they show a great number of genetic engineering. They are also a bad way of telling us about politics, human history…
But most importantly and ironically they are not a good way of giving us the knowledge they wish to give us, as explained earlier on the topic on the scientific method. Meaning and Value of History History is a broad and imprecise subject. We all try to understand History in the best ways that we can, getting closer and closer to the truth. But getting the exact truth is extremely rare. Why study it then? History being an imprecise subject does have a reason to be studied. The study is often done so that whatever it teaches, can be used to interpret the world today.
It is imprecise to a point, but it ends up being useful beyond doubt, as the global idea is always there. However this global idea is often what people who were influencing History wanted us to think. An easy example would be, that if we did not know details about Stalin’s Russia, and based ourselves online on Russian sources, we might have thought that it was one of the best countries at the time (This question has to be answered with an if, because we cannot know that we don’t know, we can only know that something is there but unknown to us.
). Then how can something that has shown to be imprecise be used to interpret the world today? Well we can safely assume that we know enough of the past to relate to the present. A good example is that the tensions between Russia and America can analysed through the help of the study of the past. One way to look at the meaning and value of History is to consider the world without History. No one would know about the ancestry of Kings or Queens of their country; not a life changing event.
But what about Sports or Newspapers? Without History, comparing an events or performance could only be done on a little scale, as no records are taken and ultimately the news would be quite boring, as some subjects such as economic crisis’s would become difficult to analyse or handle because the experience we gain from the past would be absent in these cases. We can then place the value of History quite high on an importance scale. One common view on History is that people view it as different/”another country”.
At first sight, just looking at the past does seem unfamiliar and leave one with a satisfaction of living in his period of time(Some people do prefer the past, but exceptions are bound to exist. ). This is to some extent a misconception, because as we analyse the past more and more, there tends to be patterns, linked to another event in the past. Wars are a very good example. So what does all this mean? That however different therefore useless we find History, it actually ends up being relevant and useful in a lot of cases were one might not have expected it to be.