Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge - The Natural Sciences Summary & Analysis

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The Natural Sciences Summary and Analysis

The Enlightenment rightfully believed that science allows for understanding physical reality. Humans know that their vision is incapable of seeing the world in its true state, as human retina registers only 400-700 nanometres. Animals perceive the world outside of our spectrum. Our limitations can be conquered by science that can expand our senses, giving us greater auditory range, where we can communicate even with electric fish through generators and detectors.

All signals in the environment can be picked up by some species. Human physical capability is limited to the most necessary devices to survive, filling the appropriate niche, and maximizing only its fitness, but nothing beyond. Some questions such as the capabilities of mind remain unanswered. It is through these mind qualities, such as curiosity and creative drive that humans attain the techno-scientific age in three centuries between 1600 and 1900. The laws of physics can transcend cultures and other civilizations. Science achieves the ability to measure the ultimate smallness such as the size of electrons, and such trend drives the Western natural science. Another scientific quest involves visual observations through telescopes and microscopes. These trends result in nanotechnology as well as other inventions, such as data storage, timing of charged reagent molecules, and assembling of molecule-sized machines.

Our brain is designed to multiply our genes, delve into theories, and apply them in context. Scientific theories are constructed in such a way that they can be discarded if proven wrong. Science gathers knowledge in an organized and systematic ways, using repeated experiments as proofs, abstracting information in the simplest and aesthetically pleasing form, generalizing if something can be measured, stimulating further research, and using phenomena in one area to provide explanations in other areas. Unlike astrology, ufology, and Christian Science, natural sciences can be locked in theory and evidence that forges the base of modern civilizations.

Science delves into complexity through reductionism, where elements are separated and analyzed further. if it leads to chaos, search points entries can be identified. Science questions elements of systems while attempting to integrate them. Laws and principles can be transferred to various levels through consilience. Even though there are different levels of laws, they can be reduced to the laws of physics. Science also poses questions that pertain to religion and philosophy. Scientists use various methods of research, but what matters most is the final result. Some scientists are driven by ambition while others have utilitarian aims. Ideally they think like poets while working like bookkeepers. It is best when one uses everything in the subject including procedures that can be duplicated, observing events with attention to detail, under different circumstances, styles, causes, effects, statistical arguments, and logical arguments. The audience should be also kept in mind.

Scientific evidence consists of blocks, where some claims are accepted as final. When evidence is gathered and confirmed by interlocking theories, some knowledge is accepted universally. No external objective truth can measure the extent to which the evidence will be accepted. According to Mark Kac, proof can convince a reasonable man, while a rigorous proof can convince an unreasonable man. If many hypotheses are used, a method of science is satisfying. Science seeks objective truth based on hypothesis. The fifth International Congress for the Unity of Science in 1939 agreed that the best knowledge for humanity is rationally recognized.

The standards that measure scientific knowledge should be based on something real. Even mathematics is unable to inform us of the world in which we live, only directing us towards the objective truth. Logical positivism fails due to its inability to distinguish between concept and fact, as well as generalization and mathematical truth. It also lacks research on how the brain works. When the biological process of concept formation is defined, both the world and the brain can be researched through superior investigative methods.

This section contains 645 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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