When they will be very confident in their
When people learn more they start to doubt their existing knowledge. People are often unaware that they only know very little, and since they are unaware of their ignorance, they will be very confident in their own knowledge, certain that their knowledge is correct or accurate. However, when they learn more they will realize their ignorance, and this will cause them to doubt their pre-existing knowledge. When we gain knowledge, we are exposed to more explanations for the same case, and some of the explanations may have conflict. The conflict between the explanations may cause them to be uncertain whether which explanation is correct. This is often seen in religion, as their faith may waver when they find new explanations for certain phenomena that may be deemed by most as scientific. When a “scientific” explanation emerges, people of religion might doubt what their religion taught them and lose faith in it. However, even natural science, which is generally regarded as accurate, can have different explanations for the same case, especially over time. The development of natural science is interdependent with the development of technology. With improvements in science, we can improve our technology; with improved technology, we can make new discoveries. When scientists discover something new or find new explanations for something already known, they are usually doubted by the public at first. People are confident in what they already know, and having more knowledge might make them uncertain, so they might resist new knowledge, even if that new knowledge might be correct. The knowledge question discussed will be: How might religion and natural sciences be invoked in explaining when doubt and confidence arise in knowledge production?Religion conflicts with natural science in many ways. It is often regarded as a set of designated behaviors and practices, beliefs and values, usually based on certain texts and sanctified places. Religion often consists of a god-like character that people of that religion trust and have great faith in. This strong faith causes people with religion to be sometimes resistant to new knowledge that may be considered by others as scientific. One common example is the conflict between creationism and theories like the Big Bang theory and evolution. Creationism the belief that the universe and living organisms originated from specific acts of divine creation. Although this term usually refers to how the God in Christianity created the world in six days, most religions form theories of a divine being creating the universe and how. Islam has Allah, Hinduism has Brahma, Taoism has Pan Ku, and so on. These theories are often very different from what some scientific research has found. One widely accepted theory of how the universe was created is the Big Bang Theory. It suggests that the universe began from a singularity and expanded from a very high-density and high-temperature state. Lawrence Krauss, a famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist, said that the big bang picture is too firmly grounded in data from every area to be proved invalid in its general features.” The earliest evidence of the theory is the discovery and measurement of the cosmic microwave background and the relative abundances of light elements that were theoretically produced by the Big Bang. Recent evidence such as observations of galaxy formation, evolution and the distribution of large-scale cosmic structures further prove the validity of this theory. The Big Bang theory is widely accepted not only because of the empirical evidence supporting it, but also because it explains naturally occurring phenomena that cannot be explained otherwise. These phenomena include the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background, large scale structure, Hubble’s law, etc. However, many religions feel strongly about this theory because it contradicts with their belief that a divine being created the universe. Many people believe that the Big Bang Theory controverts the idea of a creator, suggesting “a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator to do.” (Sagan C., God, the Universe and Everything Else, 1988) However, sometimes instead of resisting the new knowledge, religious people might start to doubt their existing religious knowledge. Since there are more and more scientific evidence and more people starting to believe this theory, they might doubt whether the Big Bang Theory might be accurate about the creation of the universe, instead of what their religion has taught them. Natural sciences are different from religion in a way that natural sciences focus mainly on the evidence, while religion relies on faith. However, the modern culture encourages us to trust evidence and what you can see and touch instead of blindly trusting something someone else told you. So, their faith in their religion might waver when they are shown new evidence. This contrasts greatly with religion in the past, because there were less scientific research and theories, so people usually have complete faith in the religion of the culture they are brought up in, and seldom question it and bring up issues, unlike now, so they are very confident in what they believe, i.e. their knowledge. This shows how when they knew little they were very confident, but as over time more and more new knowledge is produced, people will start to doubt what they knew before.Another widely accepted theory that is believed to contradict many religions is the theory of evolution. This is taught in every high school biology textbook, but still many religious people still do not accept it. Charles Darwin argued that life began with very simple cells and later developed into other organisms, also suggesting that natural selection was what drives evolution. Some Christians find Darwin’s theory a threat to their faith because it appeared to challenge the authority of the Bible. It was written in the Bible that the world as created in six days, but the theory of evolution suggests that life had developed over millions of years. As more evidence that supports evolution is found, like fossils and DNA, more and more people are starting to accept this theory, but these raise questions for Christians, for example, if evolution is real, then is the Bible incorrect. This presents a conflict for Christians, as they are unwilling to give up their religion, but the evidence for evolution seems very convincing, so this conflict between their faith and reason might cause great doubt in what to trust and whether the knowledge they have is actually correct or accurate.Progress in natural science can also cause doubt in scientific knowledge itself. People are confident of what they know when there are no other theories that say otherwise, but when new scientific discoveries are made or new theories are formed that are contradicting with previous knowledge, people might not be so sure which to trust. One theory that changed greatly over time is the atomic theory. When new models of the atomic structure are suggested, as both previous models and new models have scientific research backing them up, people might not be sure which one is correct. The previous and new models sometimes contradict, particularly in the past when there is fewer possible scientific evidence to prove the models. The Greek philosopher Democritus proposed the theory of atoms that are small hard particles made of a single thing, and that make up the different matter by forming different shapes and sizes. However, Aristotle believed that there was no limit to the number of times that matter can be divided. They will wonder whether the new idea is actually right instead, at the same time doubting the previous ideas, and they cannot be sure which one to trust more. This shows how gaining new or more knowledge will increase the doubt a person has of their knowledge. On the other hand, the development of natural sciences might be a confidence boost. When new scientific discoveries are made that correlate with past findings or support old theories, people become more confident in their existing knowledge. People are very confident of the modern atomic structure nowadays as more recent developments of the atomic structure confirm previous theories and have no contradiction. When the physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus, it did not contradict J.J. Thomson’s plum pudding model of electrons. Instead, it enhanced the model and developed it. When Rutherford’s student Neils Bohr further discovered orbitals, it was also based on Rutherford’s model, so it did not contradict it but further confirms it, boosting people’s confidence in this model. Due to the new knowledge that is produced to support old existing knowledge, people will be more confident instead of doubting their knowledge like in the religion case. Further research on atomic structure nowadays is also based on previous knowledge, so this shows that new or more knowledge does not necessarily cause doubt. JW von Goethe said that “we know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.” This is not completely true, instead, it is because we know little that we think we know accurately. In the past, since people are not taught any contradicting knowledge they believe completely in the religion they are brought up in. There is relatively less knowledge produced, less research and less science in general, so people have complete faith in their religion and can be very confident in their knowledge. However, when a contradicting knowledge like natural sciences is presented, they will have a conflict between their faith and reasoning and will start to doubt whether their previous knowledge is accurate, or correct, and doubt which knowledge they should trust. As more and more knowledge is produced, there is a larger conflict and people with doubt more. Although sometimes scientific progress can reaffirm previous knowledge and boost their confidence in the knowledge, new knowledge mostly presents conflicts and raise new questions. New questions that are raised will cause doubt as there might be many possible explanations that contradict each other, so doubt will increase. We can see how religion and natural sciences, especially when there is a conflict between these two, are invoked when explaining when confidence and doubt arise in knowledge production. The most crucial aspect for knowledge to gain confidence is that there is no or little contradicting knowledge. When more knowledge is produced, doubt will increase.