Theory of Knowledge
Given access to the same facts, how is it possible that there can be disagreement between experts in a discipline? Develop your answer with reference to two areas of knowledge Disagreements are caused by contradicting opinions on a specific idea or topic between an approving side and an opposing side. Experts often disagree upon each other’s theories and ideas since they acquire their knowledge based on both shared and personal knowledge.
Even when experts have the same facts and data, it is possible for them to conclude with different arguments because of their various interpretations of factual ideas.
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For instance, as everyone has different perspectives and background knowledge and experience, it is more than natural for experts to generate opposing conclusions. By using the two areas of knowledge, Natural Sciences and Human Sciences, I will analyze how experts in a discipline disagree with each other despite having the same facts. I n the area of natural sciences, scientists having disagreements on the issue of global warming proves how experts can disagree while having the same data.
Global warming, an increase in average temperature and extraordinary climate changes, is an issue that is known world-wide that is proven by data of trends in changing temperatures compared to the past. Scientists from multiple areas, such as environmental scientists, biologists, chemists, botanists, and etc have created a scientific consensus on global warming, thus there is a number of scientific experts who go against the consensus under the same facts and data.
For example, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and scientists work under NASA, believe that global warming is true due to factual data of increasing overall temperature from climatic data centers and meteorological agency. Thus, this leads up to another question, “What makes something factual?”. I believe that facts are generated from arguments and evidence which leads up to an indisputable idea.
Nonetheless, unlike NASA’s opinion, there is a number of scientists around the world who opine that global warming is a factless idea and theory. According to a biologist, Philip Stott and his conversation with the host of “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” he discussed general scientific ideas on global warming and specifically on whether or not a scientific consensus on the issue of global warming exists. While analyzing the same data graph demonstrating the overall temperature increase, two different experts came across opposing ideas as Stott questions the accuracy of climate projections and believes global warming is just a hypothesis.
To sum up, two experts’ contracting ideas validate how experts can go against each others’ ideas despite having access to the same data. Moreover, related to global warming issues, unlike experts developing contradicting ideas from the same facts and evidence, there are also times when experts develop an agreement from using different evidence and factual ideas. For instance, like the majority of scientists, NASA has a scientific consensus on global warming.
Thus their argument was developed from the fact, “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities” (NASA). Therefore, despite NASA agreeing to the existence of global warming, they opine that the main cause is from humans.
However, scientists from other groups have also argued over the existence of global warming, but it was developed from different facts. One example is from Tad Murty, a scientist who wrote a review on climate change in 2007. In his review, he opined how global warming is primarily caused by nature, saying. “there is no global warming due to human anthropogenic activities” (Robinson). While both science experts made up an agreement on global warming’s existence, their ideas were developed from two
different factual ideas, one saying that it is mainly caused by humans and other saying it is caused by nature. Therefore, these questions, “How can there be contradicting factual ideas?”. This is due to individuals having different perspectives, prior knowledge, and even are biased due to based on their background and culture, meaning fact to one group might be different from another group which brings up a further question, “What is considered factual?”.
In sum, despite experts ending up with disagreements with the same facts, it is possible for experts to make a consensus from using not the same authentic ideas. In the area of human sciences, regardless of economists having the same factual information and data, they expand arguments. For instance, in macroeconomics, two of the main economy experts, Milton Friedman and John Keynes each developed their own economic theories, Monetarists’ economics, and Keynesians’ economics, having access to same facts and data.
Specifically, Friedman’s monetarists’ economic theory is focused on the government not intervening at all in the economy due to their belief that a free economy can manage the economy. On the other hand, John Keynes’ Keynesian theory is focused on how stable and well-functioning economy can be reached by the government and private sector interventions. Thus, under having the same facts, monetarists do not depend on government interventions while Keynesians depend on the overall economy on government and it’s interventions. This does not depend on how expertise each economist are but their perspectives when analyzing economic issues.
Furthermore, these questions “to what extent can disagreements in discipline lead to a greater depth of knowledge?”. From economists creating controversy in discipline, it definitely does lead to a wider range and greater depth of knowledge due to letting both other experts and non-experts to develop further ideas and evaluate them. In a nutshell, while economists have same knowledge background, facts, and data it is possible for them to end up rebutting each other’s arguments. However, also in the area of human sciences, there are times when experts with having access to different facts end up with an agreement.
In psychology, the theory of flash ball memory was discovered by two different psychologists while having varying approaches using different data. The flash ball memory theory advocates how people have access to better memory through exceptional experiences that are vivid compared to that are average. In 1977, psychologists called, Brown and Kulik suggested the theory of flash ball memory, using the data and real-life situation of John F. Kennedy. They supported their claim of how humans have flash ball memory using one of the most outrageous public incidents, the assassination of the former US president, John F. Kennedy.
The analyzation of peoples reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination was determined more clear and vivid compared to other usual events as people’s memory of how they felt and what they did was more detailed. Nevertheless, there was another psychologist named, Sharot et al, who proposed the theory of flash ball memory. In 2007, Sharot suggested that the theory of flash ball memory agreeing to Brown and Kulik’s proposal.
However, although he made a consensus, he used a different fact and real-life situation from Brown and Kulik. Sharot used the September 11 attacks that happened in 2001 to support his claim. He investigated the existence of the flash ball memory by examining a number of witnesses of the 9.11 attack and specifically asked them to recall memories from September 11, 2001, along with their summer vacations. Due to this experiment, Sharot proved that people do remember appalling and consequential events more vividly in their life compared to others that are not.
In spite of Brown & Kulik and Sharot using different data and facts, they still maintained to develop consensus between them which proves how different facts could lead up to agreements, not disagreements. In conclusion, it is possible for experts in a discipline to disagree with each other despite having the same facts.
Experts in discipline, such as scientists, economists, and psychologists can end up disagreements no matter if they have corresponding factual information due to humans contrastive interpretations. As mentioned previously, scientists do end up having opposing ideas to the existence of global warming while having access to same facts, and economists also create conflicting theories, such as Keynesian theory and monetarist theory having the same information.
To sum up, although experts in the same field of study are expertise in their subject, it is natural for each expert to come to unalike conclusions.
- “Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate Is Warming.” NASA, NASA, 24 Apr. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/ .
- Global Warning? – Controversy Heats up in the Scientific Community – Spring 2005 – Carleton University Magazine, web.archive.org/web/20080419015656/http://magazine.carleton.ca/2005_Spring/1535.htm.