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We know with confidence only when we know little: with knowledge doubt increase 

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    In order to explore the statement ‘We know with confidence only when we know little: with knowledge doubt increases’, it is important to establish an understanding of some of the key terms. ‘Confidence’ can be considered to be a feeling of certainty whereas, ‘doubt’ can be seen as a feeling of uncertainty leading to questions and challenges to certain beliefs. In examining the issue it is important to consider a number of issues. With the idea of increasing knowledge are we are referring to it as something related to depth? Is the relationship between doubt, confidence, and knowledge equal across all areas of knowledge? How is this knowledge established and are our feelings of doubt and confidence influenced by where knowledge comes from?

Claim 1
Knowledge can be challenged in different ways depending on where the knowledge has been acquired from and the apparent validity of that knowledge. How knowledge is established in certain Areas of Knowledge impacts upon how confidently an individual feels about that knowledge.  We tend to have confidence in knowledge from areas of knowledge like the Natural Sciences because it is acquired through the process of the scientific method. The strict methodology of acquiring knowledge is based on the idea that a scientist comes up with a hypothesis, tests the hypothesis, then collect evidence to support it, and publishes his findings and then finally his peers review it with the results being subjected to falsification. This long process and the depth of knowledge acquired on the subject gives us confidence in the knowledge that is produced by this method.  
    However, the confidence in scientific knowledge can sometimes create moments of confusion and doubt. This is clearly seen in the controversial case of the measles and autism study: a theory that 1 in 48 people who have vaccines could, because of the vaccine,  develop autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder). This was published by Andrew Wakefield who suggested that measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines can cause disorders in children. This theory was tested by other scientists who they spent money to disapprove the results. They finally discovered it to be false. However, many parents still believed this theory to be true and have avoided giving their children vaccines. In this instance, his original theory was widely published and accepted by a large number of the public who accepted as a reliable scientific study. The fact that this theory has been widely disproven does not seem to have greatly influenced how some members of the public view that knowledge.  According to Eggertson L., there was an outbreak of measles in 2008 and 2009 in the UK, largely because of a great number of people not vaccinating their children (Rao).  This is was considered to be a serious medical fraud. The subsequent checking of his data and the increase in knowledge that he has brought did not have the effect one would imagine. It did not restore people’s faith and confidence in the Natural Scientific field of medicine but in fact, has to lead to more doubt with people becoming suspicious of this field of knowledge. This may be as a result of the way that the members of the public viewed this information with emotion. The fact that it dealt with children and the impact that decisions that they, as parents, made had on their children influenced the way that they viewed this respected field of study. 

Claim 2 

No matter the area of knowledge, if one considers a great amount of knowledge to be the depth of knowledge, then one could say that this causes doubt. It could be said that the more one knows, or society knows, of the shared knowledge in a particular subject or discipline the more questions can be asked, and so then there is more doubt in that knowledge. For example, in the natural sciences, the scientific method itself is dependent on a depth of knowledge in a particular area. This is because the scientists need to have the knowledge and vocabulary with which they use to create questions and ideas from which they create a hypothesis which they then need to test. In completing this process they create an even greater depth of knowledge in that specific area that they are researching. For example, the Expanding Earth Theory (Expanding Earth) is a theory that states that the crust of the earth expands. This theory is very controversial and used to be taught in schools with evidence (Hurrell).  This was a hypothesis used to explain the earth’s movement of continents and also mountain formation and earthquakes before the continental drift theory was presented and accepted in 1915.  However, the original theory has not disappeared as one would have thought and the onset of the internet has meant that it has had something of a rebirth and has continued to spread as people have shared their ideas to why this theory is true, many want others to believe the earth is expanding. This is particularly shown in a research article written by several university students (Shen). In this case, having access to lots of different theories, and maybe only a breadth of knowledge,  allows there to be room for more questions which increases doubt as further research is needed. 

Counterclaim 2 
Although a depth of knowledge can lead to more questions and queries, it can also lead to a secure and confident understanding of a concept or idea. For example, Hubble’s Law of Cosmic Expansion (10 Scientific Laws) was a research-based discovery that galaxies move away from each other. Hubble’s did astronomical research and created his law with an equation. With his detailed measurements and depth of understanding, he also managed to make connections with the Big Bang Theory. The process by which he got to the conclusion was driven by the Scientific method which places emphasis on a reliance on evidence to prove a point, idea of the hypothesis. However, in order to be confident the research needs further research with other people allowing there to an expansion of knowledge. Once the information is gathered there is checkpoint which allows all the research to add up and see where the falsifications are. Now, if the research is considered to be correct, and the different challenges have been analyzed and the results published, then the knowledge can be confidently accepted. The type of knowledge that is gathered in the natural sciences has evidence, plus it has a strong relationship between doubt and confidence as there needs to be doubt in order to acquire knowledge and then be confident about the knowledge.
    However, the relationship between doubt and knowledge is not consistent across all areas of knowledge. In the case of Religious Knowledge systems, confidence is of overriding importance and knowledge are largely acquired through faith and possibly emotion. For intense, Creationism is a religious belief that the universe was created with a natural process from God. It is being taught in school as a normal topic. Teachers in the US teach this belief to the student as the law has allowed it, however, too many believers this is seen as a scientific theory. There are still many Americans that think it is science, In fact, 42% of the people believe in creationism (Gallup). A teacher Terry Wortman teachers science at a public High School in Hayes Center, Nebraska. He encourages students to step away from the religious point of view in order to understand the information about evolution within creationism. The fact that there has been scientific research on why creationism is false, people still have confidence in what they know despite what others tell them. This links into faith because there is a strong belief and is considered to be a personal knowledge. It allows one to determined in the knowledge they have to acquire through cultural. Even emotion allows one to be confident as one knows a particular topic for certain and their culture would follow through with emotion. experiences, traditional stories

After completely exploring these knownledge issues, it has appeared to me that doubt and confidence are significantly important when acquiring knowledge. We tend to have confidence in the Natural sciences because of the scientific method, yet doubt increases when more information is acquired as it allows us to ask questions. Although, with Religious Knowledge Systems there is confidence with knowledge which has been either shared or obtained through experiences. The importance of faith allows one to strongly believe in what they know disregarding other knowledge like research.  different in the Religious Knowledge systems as there is a conference in the knowledge until more knowledge is obtained allowing there to be doubt in what they are faithful to. However, with knowledge, there can be either doubt or confidence regarding the area of knowledge, and when knowing little there is confidence depending on the area of knowledge.