We know with confidence only when we know little, withknowledge doubt increases (Adapted from W Von Goethe). Discuss this statementwith reference to at least two areas of knowledge A world of new knowledge is a wholeworld of new questions. Knowledge is facts, information and skills that are acquiredthrough experience or education (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Varying levels ofknowledge may bring about the different aspects of doubt and confidence.Confidence is the feeling or belief thatone can have faith in or rely on someone or something. Doubt is a feeling of uncertainity about thetruth, reality or nature of something. In exploration of how confidence and doubt relate to influenceof knowledge, the following subsidirayknowledge questions will be employed; What extent and type of knowledge isrequired to bring about confidence of an idea, Does doubt increase with knowingmore or less and how does knowing more influence my questioning ability, and Howdoes personal and shared knowledge influence one’s confidence or doubt level? Thiswill be explored through natural sciences and religion as areas of knowledgeand faith, reason and emotion as ways of knowing in order to assert the ideathat confidence of scientific knowledge is based on proof arising fromreasoning while religious knowledge lends its confidence to faith and emotion. The firstknowledge question encountered being “What extent and type of knowledge isrequired to bring about confidence of an idea?” brings up a claim thatconfidence in an idea is based upon the type and extent of knowledge.
Faith inreligion is unquestionably not a choice for many people. Religious knowledge isbased upon one’s faith ingrained in a person at a young age. Being born in aChristian family, I was taken to Sunday school and taught Christian beliefs andvalues with stories from the bible; hence I formed a belief in the ChristianGod and worshiped him. The sensitivity of religious knowledge at the time aswell as it being ingrained in me at a young age led to my confidence. My belief, trust and confidence were builtupon my little knowledge and faith of my religion. At a young age I let faithdecide for me, with belief that my faith was superior. However with time I realized that the religiousknowledge that I had was commonly shared knowledge with nothing unique leadingme to read into greater depths of the bible in hopes of knowing more. This was also the time when I had becomeaware of my rights and was able to reason to my advantage.
Reading greater depths of the bible startedconfusing me as there was lots of information that I neither understood nor agreedwith. One of the verses that stood outto me the most was, “If a man takes awife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her abad name saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did notfind any proof of her virginity,” then the girl’s father and mother…shalldisplay the cloth(that the couple slept on) before the elders of the town…If,however, the charger is true and no proof if the girl’s virginity can be found,she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of hertown shall stone her to death.(Deuteronomy 22:13-21)” (Tarico, 2012). Before reading such verses I would have neverbelieved that my religion promoted oppression of women something that I wasagainst.
One of the first thoughts I had was questioning myself on why I wouldfollow a religion that infringes upon my own rights as female. Increasedknowledge of my religion led to increased doubt with many questions leftunanswered. As a female human being, using ethical reasoning to think beyondthe verses, building my own knowledge about Christianity and evaluating it, Icame to doubt my own religion as a result shying away from it. Therefore inthis case doubt increased only with knowing more. On the other hand, faith in my religion servesto control my emotions in times of difficulties. The bible has differentsections which are directed to guide people going through different circumstancesin life. This is such that the bible provides quotes for someone sad, angry,irritated, etc.
The bible finds a way to accommodate people’s emotionscomforting them. When anxious about an exam, I read about anxiety in the bibleand the more I read I get less anxious and more confident. Biblical knowledgeis able to provide comfort and assurance appealing to my emotions whichtherefore increases my belief and confidence in Christianity. By appealing to my emotion, confidenceincreases with increased religious knowledge in this case. The secondquestion encountered; Does doubt increase with knowing more or less and howdoes knowing more influence my questioning ability? In natural sciencesknowledge is taken forward once it has been proven, but never has proven meant true.In the heat of the moment, confidence level for that knowledge may be highconsidering the fact that it can be proven.
An idea once proven can befalsified later putting doubt on that idea. Falsification occurs once knowledgeon the latter has been increased. Observation, reason and experiment makes upscientific method. When it comes to natural sciences, basic theories aredoubted until proven correct.
Proof actsas a form of increased knowledge bringing in increased confidence answering allquestions. An example is Boyle’s law which states that “The absolute pressureexerted by a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to the volumeit occupies if the temperature and amount of gas remain unchanged within aclosed system.” This is a positive statement that calls for observation,experiment and reason. At the basic level I doubted it as there is no evidenceshown within the statement itself. Usingscientific reasoning alongside formulas like = allowed the theory tobe expressed and investigated in order to be proven right. Without proof doubtexisted however with proof, confidence sets in. Doubt in lies with unproven “scientific” theoriesbut confidence lies with proven theories with greater knowledge adopted.
On theother hand paradigm shifts also exists especially for sciences where an ideamay be accepted today but rejected tomorrow based on new discoveries and proof.”Paradigm shift is a very radicalchange in the whole structure of a scientific discipline. Kuhn’s paradigmshifts were inspired by and modelled on physics and its two major revolutionsof the time: The replacements of Newtonian physics by special and generalrelativity, and of classical mechanics by quantum mechanics, respectively. (Buhmann, 2015) Paradigm shifts occur when new knowledge isgained, with special and general relativity taking over Newtonian physics, itbecomes that confidence will be higher on the newly accepted idea and doubtreigns in the Newtonian physics. This means that paradigm shifts a result ofincreased knowledge may invoke doubt on previously proven theories questioningideas people were once confident about. With increased knowledge Newtonianphysics was refuted bringing in doubt.
Therefore in this case as knowledgeincreased, so did doubt. With increased doubt, people begin to question on thevalidity of today’s science.With thethird knowledge question being; How does personal and shared knowledgeinfluence one’s confidence or doubt level, implying that with the knowledgetype may influence confidence or doubt. In natural sciences, when personaltheories adhere to the laws of science confidence level increases but when itdoesn’t people begin to doubt it. DDTwas commonly used insecticide in the 1960’s until Rachel Carson wrote a booknamed silent spring which was based on realization that there were no birds inthe spring. She associated this with the widespread use of a chemical named DDTstating that when birds ate insects sprayed with DDT, they died.
This wentagainst what scientists had previously stated on the DDT effects. However as Rachel Carson pushed on herpersonal theory to the government, scientists became outrageous claiming thatshe knew nothing about the chemical filling law suits against her theory. Thenegative emotional reactions of anger and frustration from scientists are whatled to increased knowledge of the chemical being carcinogenic. DDT was now notharmful to birds only but humans as well.
Therefore personal knowledge filledwith doubt led to eruption of confident shared knowledge contributing to ban ofDDT. Emotion can guide whether we’re confident or doubtful about a theory. “WilliamCookson, an Oxford geneticist, has described how his rivals reacted to hisdiscovery of a link between asthma-susceptibility and a marker on chromosome11. Some were congratulatory. Others rushed into print contradicting him,usually with flawed or small sample sizes. One wrote haughty editorials inmedical journals mocking his logical disjunctions and Oxfordshire genes.” (Alchin, 2006).
When personal knowledge becomes sharedknowledge emotion does play a role in its perception as shown above. Withpersonal knowledge, confidence is high, but with shared knowledge mixedemotions set in bringing in doubt. In testing our confidence or doubt inknowledge we must often experiment, observe, imagine and relate while creatinga personal significance of the information we gain without disregardingglobally/scientifically accepted laws.
Faith and emotion do play a role inensuring that confidence increases with increased religous knowledge, howeverwith reason comes doubt. Scientific knowledge varies between reason and emotionand with existence of paradigm shifts and proof, perception of knowledge mayvary. Emotion, reason and faith act to play bring confidence or doubt onincreased knowledge on something. Perception of increased also depends on the discipline,extent of knowledge and way of knowing employed. Doubt and confidence exists with both littleand increased knowledge depending on the discipline explored and way of knowingemployed.
Bibliography Dictionary.com. (2017). doubt.
Retrieved from www.dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/doubt Alchin, N.
(2006). Theory Of Knowledge. London: Hodder Education. Bia?owolski, P. (2015, 09 05). Concepts of Confidence in Tendency Survey Research: An Assessment with Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Retrieved from link.
springer.com: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11205-014-0736-1 Buhmann, S. (2015, November 05). PARADIGM SHIFTS IN PHYSICS. Retrieved from FREIBURG INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES ALBERT-LUDWIGS-UNIVERSITÄT FREIBURG: https://www.
frias.uni-freiburg.de/en/events/lunch-lectures/former-lectures/lunch-lecture-stefan-buhmann-paradigm-shifts-in-physics Kristof, N., & WuDunn, S. (2009). Half The Sky.
New York: Vintage Books. Oxford University Press. (2017, 11 26). knowledge. Retrieved from oxforddictionaries.com: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/knowledge Tarico, V.
(2012, 03 9). 15 Bible Texts Reveal Why “God’s Own Party” Keeps Demeaning Women. Retrieved from valerietarico.com: https://valerietarico.com/2012/03/09/15-bible-texts-reveal-why-gods-own-party-is-at-