TOK Essay for Theory of Knowledge Class
Science does not as yet have a full understanding of the universe. However, it is suggested that with increased technology and theoretical advance, it may be only decades before this is achieved. Do you agree this is possible? What might be the consequences?
Science is, at its heart, a quest; a quest whose goal is to create an understanding of the universe. In effect, science attempts to quantify reality. It does this in many ways; through experimentation and observation, through theorizing and testing. This quest has been undergoing since the birth of mankind and yet the further we go the further away the end of the quest seems to be. Despite this, it has been theorized that man will eventually understand the universe through science and its relentless quest for knowledge. Not only has it been said that this is likely, but it has been said that this understanding lies mere decades away from the present. Is this possible, not only mere decades from the present, but is it possible, at all, to achieve an understanding of the universe? In short, no. The extended answer, however, takes a little more time.
First, to begin the answer to this question, it is necessary to understand what is meant by understanding the universe. First of all, the word “understanding”, according to Funk and Wagnalls standard desk dictionary (Deluxe edition, 1964), means “the act of one who comes to know the meaning or import of; who apprehends”. Well, in the realm of science (1), understanding the universe would probably entail the creation of a TOE (Theory of Everything).
The Sight of Science It is a truth universally acknowledged that he whose mind is ahead of his time and above that of his peers may not be understood by his fellow people and be subject to and persecution. Galilei Galileo, Francis Bacon, and Rene Descartes were among the first to break away from the conventional views of their times to find a place for science in a society and propose the way it ...
The TOE is to the theoretical physicist as the holy grail was to King Arthur; it is the most desirable peak of achievement. To the uninitiated, a TOE is a theorem that explains, literally, everything, from the motion of subatomic particles to the existence of black holes and the motion of galaxies. The TOE would, in effect, explain the behaviour and nature of everything in the universe. It could, in effect be a way through which we could understand the universe and it has been theorized that such a theory is not far away.
Does this theory, however, if it is created, indicate that we do understand, in full, the nature of the universe. The answer is, simply put, no; not in any regards at all. First of all, the creation of a TOE that works does not even mean that it is right. It is possible that any formula created may function out of mere coincidence instead of out of a profound truth. Discounting this fact for a moment, the creation of a formula in no way imparts understanding. Man has discovered and expressed the speed of light (in vacuum) as being 3 * 10^8 m/s. However, this in no way means that everyone understands this and, in fact, it is improbable that anyone can even begin to imagine this speed. Thus, how can we hope to derive understanding out of a formula that would be almost infinitely more complicated then a mere number? The answer is, of course, that most of us, if not all, could not begin to understand such a formula much less its implications or meanings.
Why, however, can we not hope to understand such things? Are we not sane, rational beings? Well, to put it simply, human beings seem far to simple to actually understand the universe in all of its entirety, even if it is reduced to a formula. It has been theorized that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies each containing an equal number of solar systems. Despite this, most stars’ closest neighbour is more than 10 light years away. How could a human mind, being comprised of such a tiny amount of brain cells, hope to understand something so big? The fact is that there is such a limited capacity in the human mind that such understanding almost unequivocally escapes us.
The first culture that would be considered as a client for this paper is a minority culture of Asian Americans in the United States. Statistically, Asian-Americans compose the fourth largest cultural group in America. However, their cultural group is significantly far from the third one which are the Latin American residents of the country. Also, an important point to understand for the ...
This is, of course, all assuming that a TOE would represent an understanding of the universe. Perhaps, however, the universe is not a static place and such a theory would not express the sum of its parts. Perhaps, also, there is more to the universe than mere formulas and understanding of the motion of quarks passing through a planet. Perhaps it is not even a question of a theory but a question of science being too focussed in and of itself. This, however, does nothing to change the facts and, in fact, stresses again the fact that we cannot hope to understand the universe if there is more yet beyond the incomprehensible. Thus, it can safely be concluded that the universe can not and will not ever be fully understood by a human mind.
Well then, we cannot understand the nature of the universe fully, however, is this really a bad thing? If the TOE represented an understanding of the universe and we could comprehend it in its entirety, would we want to ? Well, Franz Kafka, a German novelist, probably said it best when he said “A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die”. What he meant by this is that one of the many facets of life is that it is a search for understanding and for truth. That, in effect, a large part of human nature is indeed curiosity and the desire for comprehension. It is what has driven us to un parallelled feats (at least on this world) of technology in an attempt at understanding. However, take away this quest for understanding and what is left in life? Were we to know everything, understand everything, what would be the point, so to speak, for continuing our existence? Would it not be utterly boring if everything were known to us, everything catalogued, quantified and analysed? Therefore, perhaps it is better to escape comprehension as knowing everything would be as useless as knowing nothing.
Indeed, perhaps it is not our curse to be limited in understanding of the universe. Perhaps it is, in fact, a blessing of sorts, letting us forever have some small piece of knowledge awaiting on the horizon to be discovered. Without such new knowledge hope would be a mere memory, as would be happiness as happiness only comes with achievement and that to would be a thing of the past. Perhaps then it is meant to be that science never reaches the terminus of its quest; that complete understanding lie forever out of our grasp. Thus, life retains its goal and science retains its relevance in the pursuit of an unreachable goal.
Abstract. This study investigates the conceptions on the nature of science (NOS) among new and experienced teachers in the Philippines. An in-depth analysis of the Likert and constructed responses revealed the participants’ understandings on six NOS themes. Findings suggest that the notions of both groups are generally in the uninformed state and essentially at the same level with each other and ...
1. Since this question deals in terms with scientific understanding only scientific aspirations towards understanding shall be discussed. This in no way, however, belittles or diminishes the significance of religious or artistic understanding of the universe. These realms are simply beyond the scope and focus of this essay.