TOK Essay 2012 Question 1


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TOK Essay 2012 Question 1

  1. 1. TOK ESSAY“What is it about the theories in natural sciences and human sciences that makesthem convincing?”Scientists have always taken pride in the fact that their work is based on apparent factand extensive research as opposed to faith or conjecture. People have always beenskeptical and questioning about most sources of information, but this has not appliedto science, as scientific information appears to come from a reputable source.Evidence and understanding are usually essential for reasoning to the human mind.By now, many theories that are yet to be proven are regarded as true automatically,for example, in economics, when taxes are imposed on goods with an inelastic supply,theoretically, the producers bear a higher incidence of the tax. However, practically,there are a very few cases that may follow this theory as it is the consumers in the endthat end up bearing the taxes. In this case, we initially tend to believe this as theinformation seems probable, and is usually presented in a logical format.So how do these stated theories capture their following? How do these two areas ofknowledge „convince‟ us human beings? Natural sciences are referred to as theknowledge of processes that occur and are observable in nature, as distinguishablefrom abstract or human sciences. Human sciences refer to the investigation andobservation of human life and activities, acknowledging sensory and psychologicalexperience.For generations, knowledge of human existence, sciences and other theories havebeen passed down to us, with numerous changes and advances, but why have we 1
  2. 2. always accepted them as the truth? Ashley Montague once said, “Science has proofwithout any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.”Does it present a more compelling and believable alternative to faith? The differencebetween belief in science and faith is that belief in science is based on trust. Thepsychology behind it suggests that one believes in science in much the same way thatone believes their ceiling won‟t collapse, thanks to a record of functionality. Roofsstay put more often than they break down, and science has proven itself right moreoften than wrong.Even the trust we have in the roof staying up is because of scientific evidence.Science has proved to be accurate for a long time because of which most theorieshave led to major advances in human development, even the development oftechnology works well for our convenience today. The trust people have in thesetheories has taken time to mature, and with many instances of being proved right,human beings today are easily convinced. When I go through science magazines andread through all the different theories, I easily get convinced by what is written. Whatis it about these theories that makes them so convincing? Is it the way they have beenwritten? Or because they have been proved right most of the time?Additionally, human beings generally want to believe in something, and since humansare skeptical in nature, many tend to go down the logical route, the methodical andexplanatory path that science offers. We generally tend to automatically trustsomething that majority of the people we associate with also trust, and this could evencomprise of our family. In regard to natural sciences, proof and reason is mostly allthat is required to prove a theory. 2
  3. 3. The fact that all these theories fit perfectly into each other, help scientists concludethe missing puzzle pieces.Natural science begins with a hypothesis supported by experiments, results andevidence. Human sciences have been observed for generations and these theories havebeen developed over a long period of time. There is a major difference between thestudy of human and natural sciences. Natural sciences can be hypothesized, beingproven by further evidence and the result will be expected. But the same cannothappen with human sciences. The behavior of the human species isn‟t easy tohypothesize, let alone experiment on.Human science depends on the general behavior of various societies and the theoriesderived from them cannot always be experimented on. We know that if the helium gasif filled in a balloon, it will fly upwards because it is lighter than air, but can wepredict human behavior in the same way?Many theories begin with intuition even before they are even proved. A theoryexplained well can sometimes make another person believe that it is true without eventhe requirement of proof.The process of spontaneous generation which was discovered by Louis Pasture was ahypothesis which was then experimented on and proved to be correct. This wasbelieved by the public during the 19th century even before the experiment took place,after which Louis Pasture proved it correct. People considered this as the strongestproof of god‟s presence in the world.In business and management, there are certain motivational theories that thebusinesses use to motivate their employees. These theories use sense perception,emotion, language and experience to motivate their human resources. These theories 3
  4. 4. after being developed have been applied to general human behavior in a companywhich proves them to be correct according to the situation in the management. If atheory is unsuccessful, there are other theories to choose form, for better output. Allthese theories are based on simple human characteristics and emotion which isdependent on the output of work they provide to the company. Theories like thiscan be assumed and not hypothesized, based on human sciences, whereas, in naturalsciences, proof is all that counts, and no assumptions.The common characteristics between natural sciences and human sciences is that bothrequire observations and understanding over a long period of time, enough to makethem convincing. But the most important difference between natural and humansciences is that natural sciences use formula, experiments and data to be proved.Human sciences require an information and observation about the general behavior ofthe human species. This can predict certain situations making theories convincing, butthese theories can be proved wrong and can change course at any instance. For peopleto believe in theories stated in human and natural sciences, they need to have a goodreason and sufficient knowledge to base the beliefs and faith in these theories. 4
  5. 5. BIBLIOGRAPHY1) "Quotation Details." The Quotations Page. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.<>.2) "What Is Human Science?" Lutz-San Filippo. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.<>.3) "Natural Science." Web. 01 Mar. 2012.< science>.4) "Quotations by Subject." Science Quotes. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.<>.5) 6) "Mytokessay." Mytokessay. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.<>. 5