THE JUDGEMENT OF SCIENCE

The word “Science” derived from “Scientia” in Latin refers to a subject that has changed the world forever – or in fact has been the core of Human existence and development. This article is hence written – not to analyse the good or bad results of science, but merely to explain how and why we should arrive at informed decisions and conclusions when we explore the world of science. Since this is a “Scientific” article, it is open for constructive criticism and / or analysis.

We live in a world that is not only unbelievably diverse but also explicitly inexplicable in its original form. Hence, from the days of the start of civilisation, Humans – predominantly and unanimously regarded as the most developed species on earth, tried various methods and did various experiments to find reasons for what were regarded as “unfathomable” or “inexplicable”. As a result of this never ending curiosity of Humans, the field of “Science” was born. Since then it did not take years for this massive tree to extend its branches to every inch of our lives and for it to profoundly or adversely affect our lives.

Today the set science is classified into many different sub sets – which range from Biology – the study of our body to Cosmology – the study of universe. Now let us discuss how science achieves its main objective of logical and justifiable explanation to various sections relating to our lives. This is in fact achieved in a modest way in science, by using what is called the “Scientific method”.

The scientific method is the method where experiments are conducted to assert a certain premise and to come to a conclusion based on the results of the same. One can of course argue that we cannot judge everything based on experiments, and this is the sole reason as to why science has failed to analyse many a phenomenon in our lives. However we cannot blame science for this, as the very basis of science is the fact that it only accepts what we can practically see and experience or at least a close resemblance. The rest of it do not fall under what is accepted as a “Scientific explanation” and is rather a philosophical and / or a theoretical explanation.

Let us start with a basic theory in chemistry. In 1808, John Dalton, the chemist who introduced the first accepted structure of the Atom explains a structure where the Atom is a perfect indivisible sphere. He also researched about previous theories of ancient Greek scientists such as Democritus in coming to this conclusion. The “sphere” was a close-to-heart shape for Humans then – as in the same era, the Earth was proven to be a sphere. This became a theory and is referred to as “The Atomic Theory”. One can question how this became accepted as there was no practical proof to it. The reason was the fact that this premise seemed to be a seemingly justifiable base to start experimenting, whereas if we rejected the same, we would not have any sort of explanations that have been proven today.

Let us now see this example in a simpler aspect. Just imagine that a person sees a smoke coming from a distance. Now if someone asks him to explain why or how that smoke came up, the closest reason that he would give would be that the smoke occurred because of a fire. Now a person listening to this would not find this abnormal as he also knows that usually a smoke comes from a fire. Fire is a common occurrence in the world. The same way when one relates a complex system to a phenomenon that we know well, we tend to accept it without much explanation, as we already know why or how the substitute happened. We link that explanation to justify or sometimes to satisfy a developed thought. So until another scientist comes up with a better explanation, the previous premise would stand. This is furthermore scientifically justifiable as the theory in existence was not proven wrong.

The same situation has given birth to an array of experiments relating to the brain and the mind. Everyone knows that the brain could be found in our heads, but whether a mind – an external force that controls us, exists or not is still equivocal. Until someone comes up with a favourable link to justify this cause, science will not accept the existence of the mind. This is exactly where religions and various philosophies in this world come into play, where there are so many diverse explanations to many otherwise inexplicable phenomena, using a super natural framework. The same is seen with relevance to subjects such as life after death, existence of an Almighty God, the study of the universe, the existence of Karma (Proportionate results that we get for our deeds) and many more. Finally it is hence up to the common Human to come to his own conclusions regarding these subjects. One should not forget the fact that Humans can “think on their own free will” and come to certain conclusions and expect it to closely resemble the reality.

Coming back to the previous example – today electrons, protons, and the nucleus are accepted to be mere energies and not masses, showing to us that all of us are running a 100m race in our lives blinded by power, lust and utter greed where actually nothing exists in itself. One might wonder that this is a lunatic statement but he / she should remember that such lunatic statements proved the way for all the technological developments for millennia. About 500 years ago, flying from one country to another was only a mere fallacy but is the most common trip to many nowadays.

With all these examples we can clearly see now that science changes from time to time, or is timeline-dependant. What was accepted a thousand years ago might not hold any value in science today. What we experience today might only be myths in another thousand years. Hence we can term Science as a “Relative” subject which consists of a mechanism that would give the most suitable decision to society at a given point in time. In the same manner one should keep in mind to study science with a free and open mind if he / she were to make maximum use of it, or to come to the most informed decision / judgement regarding any issue.

And finally coming to the point of contention, it is crystal clear how a scientific background will give you the ability to make close to correct judgments in life pertaining to almost any issue. It is a frequent question that is asked by many students today, how what we study in science subjects has a practical use to our lives. To be honest, 90 percent of what we learn as science will only be of any use, if all of us were to end up as scientists. For example we study about complex numbers, quadratic equations, functions and many more such topics in Pure Mathematics which simply do not have any connection to real world issues. But we should remember the fact that the logical thinking, simplification abilities, building constructive criticism, bilateral thinking and analysis, and many more such abilities that one develops by studying science subjects makes him an all-round personality introducing the best citizen to the society.

Hence in real issues in life the science academic will more often make the close-to-correct, justifiable, holistic, fair, long-term and logical judgements (Which I refer to as a “Scientific Judgement”) and will be a model personality in the perfect sense of the word. Science is the best possible “toy” that we all – irrespective of any difference, can meddle with in life.

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Sidath Gajanayaka

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