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Theories in the Human Sciences and Natural Sciences

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2012 12:23 PM
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The theories which have been developed in the natural sciences and the human sciences, more so than the other areas of knowledge, are generally accepted by people to be convincing and true. When analyzing why these theories are convincing, it is necessary to also consider the methods of verifying scientific theories. How do we verify that scientific theories are justified and accurate? This knowledge issue is central in our understanding of why theories in natural and human sciences are convincing. In the science areas of knowledge, hypotheses proposed by experts are testable. Hence, studies and experiments can be conducted which therefore produce data and evidence. It is the fact that empirical data is available to support scientific conclusions that makes theories in the human sciences and natural sciences convincing.
In biology class, we learned about the discovery of the structure of DNA. James Watson and Francis Crick used X-ray crystallography images of DNA, produced by Rosalind Franklin, to generate a theory of how DNA is structured. Watson and Crick inferred that the DNA had a double helix structure, based on the information that they observed in Franklin’s famous Photograph 51.   This demonstrates the dominant ways of knowing used are sense perception to observe the collected data, in this case the X-ray crystallography images, and reason to interpret the data and develop an explanation for the evidence, which was that DNA has a double helical structure. Knowledge derived from sense perception and reason is typically considered more objective, and is often more universally accepted, than knowledge derived from emotion which is perceived as more subjective and more of a personal knowledge. Since theories in natural sciences are fundamentally based in sense perception of empirical data and reasoned interpretations drawn from this information, these theories tend to be quite convincing to most people.
However, a counterclaim is that the majority of people...


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