Confidence in natural science as knowledge furthers? To discover

Confidence is the “full trust or belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing” (Dictionary.com). Little, in terms of the prescribed title, meant a  “small amount or degree or not much” (Dictionary.com). Doubt, in the prescribed title, meant “to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief” (Dictionary.com). As someone learns more about an area they become hesitant on what they really know. When we learn more we gain more doubt and when we don’t increase our knowledge about something we feel more confident. To what extent do theories increase doubt in natural science as knowledge furthers? To discover whether a person only has confidence when they only know little about an event or if doubt increases as they learn about an event, it is important to know what is meant by the words confidence, little, and doubt. In natural science, doubt can increase because of new information that is found about a topic, or a theory that could be proven wrong. An example of a debunked theory is the aether theory. The aether theory was once known as the medium that light transmitted through. The aether theory seemed rational during the late 1800s with the knowledge and understanding that “light was an electromagnetic wave” (Forbes) and previous knowledge that “all other waves propagate through a medium” (Forbes). The aether theory was later debunked by the Michelson-Morley experiment. The Michelson-Morley experiment was “an attempt to detect the velocity of the Earth with respect to the hypothetical luminiferous ether, a medium in space proposed to carry light waves” (Britannica). Since the aether theory was debunked by the Michelson-Morley experiment, it proved that there are not any different velocities of light and that they are the same in all directions and their value is c, the speed of light, which always remains true to itself, constant and unchangeable. Another example of a debunked theory is the Fleischmann–Pons Nuclear Fusion. In 1989, chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann claimed that they had produced fusion at room temperature, “cold” fusion. Usually fusion is made in high temperatures which all scientist thought was required. This was thought of as a “simple experiment with results that could reshape our understanding of physics and change our lives” (University of California). However, the discovery was missing good scientific behavior. Every time scientists would try and perform this experiment they would not get the same data. After the debunkment of the Fleischmann–Pons Nuclear Fusion we learned that there was many problems with this experiment such as the results the scientists get after performing the experiment. Even though there has been many theories debunked over the years because of the gaining of new information, there have also been lots of new discoveries that have been strengthened because of the amount of new information that has been found. An example of an event becoming more accurate over time with the gaining of new information is DNA sequencing. DNA sequencing is the “process of determining the sequence of nucleotides in a piece of DNA” (Khan Academy). Sequencing an entire genome has always been a complex task. DNA sequencing requires the breaking down of genomes in DNA. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four building blocks, also called “bases”, that make up the DNA molecule. The sequence tells scientists “the kind of genetic information that is carried in a particular DNA segment” (Genome). DNA sequencing includes the nucleotides adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. Adenine always pairs with thymine and cytosine always pairs with guanine. As we gain knowledge about DNA sequencing people and scientist become more and more confident on the subject. This is just one topic that has increased confidence and has not increased doubt by the gaining of knowledge over time. DNA sequencing has been supported and strengthened with the new developments and discoveries found over the years. To what extent does increased knowledge in history lead to controversy that creates doubt? Deciphering the question step by step, the reader should understand certain words such as controversy and doubt. A controversy is “a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion” (Dictionary.com). Doubt, according to this question is referring to “a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something” (Dictionary.com). In history, controversy can occur because of new information that has surfaced after a while. Doubt can also take place once new information comes up and puts a strain on what other information is already known. This could also affect how historians view the situation. It could make historians think that there was another reason something happened or another way an event happened. An example that represents controversy and the increasing of doubt over time is the John F. Kennedy assassination. Over time the John F. Kennedy assassination gained more information and started to make people doubt what really happened that day. John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. He was killed by two bullets, one to the head and one in the neck, while riding in a limo with an open top through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the killing of John F. Kennedy. According to investigators, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination. “A 2003 ABC News poll found that 70% of Americans believe Kennedy’s death was the result of a broader plot. The trajectory of the bullets, some say, didn’t square with Oswald’s perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Others suggest a second gunman — perhaps on the grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza — participated in the shooting” (Time). Some people, after hearing this information, started to doubt what investigators told them and how they thought the events played out. It is believed that some “Americans do not trust their government to tell the truth about most issues, and the widespread and systematic cover-up of critical evidence by various government agencies has persuaded most people to doubt the of?cial explanation of Kennedy’s murder” (Kurtz). The advocates of the assassination conspiracy “argue that the physical and scienti?c evidence demonstrates that more than one gunmen ?red shots at President Kennedy” (Kurtz). “They contend also that if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, with no conspiratorial involvement by any other individual or organization, then why did the government go to such lengths to suppress the truth by classifying millions of documents and destroying thousands of others (Kurtz)?” After learning more and more about what really happened and how the event occurred more and more people became doubtful about the assassination. Even though the assassination brought up lots of doubt and conspiracy, not all events had this much doubt surface through time. An example of this is the sinking of the Lusitania. The sinking of the Lusitania occurred on the 7th of May, 1915. The Lusitania was torpedoed, without any warning, by a German submarine off the south coast of Ireland. The vessel sank, in 20 minutes, into the Celtic Sea. “Of 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 people were drowned, including 128 Americans. It was revealed that the Lusitania was carrying about 173 tons of war munitions for Britain, which the Germans cited as further justification for the attack. The announcement was placed on the same page as an advertisement of the imminent sailing of the Lusitania liner from New York back to Liverpool. The sinkings of merchant ships off the south coast of Ireland prompted the British Admiralty to warn the Lusitania to avoid the area or take simple evasive action, such as zigzagging to confuse U-boats plotting the vessel’s course. The captain of the Lusitania ignored these recommendations, and at 2:12 p.m. on May 7 the 32,000-ton ship was hit by an exploding torpedo on its starboard side. The torpedo blast was followed by a larger explosion, probably of the ship’s boilers, and the ship sunk in 20 minutes” (History.com). The sinking of the Lusitania was strengthened over time with the information that was found by historians. The more information that is erected, the less that doubt and controversy can occur. Confidence can affect the way people believe certain things they are told over the years of living. Theories and experiments, over time, can be debunked and proven wrong. At the same time, many theories and experiments can be strengthened after a while of finding and discovering new developments. This can also occur in events that have had new developments to create doubt about a situation. Doubt and confidence can completely change an event, experiment, or theory by changing the way people see it or comprehend the situation.

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