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Doubt is the key to knowledge ( Persian Proverb ). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

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?Doubt is the key to knowledge? (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge? If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.[1] Since our ascent on earth, we have progressed to an era that can arguably be called the golden age of our species. The advancement of natural sciences has been at the heart of our progress, with the last century bearing witness to incredible discoveries and inventions that have contributed to making our lives better. Today, we know that microbes are responsible for most of the diseases that were once ascribed to the wrath of god, such as plague and cholera; we have forensic science to determine guilt and innocence without the need to resort to testimony and oaths. We would not have reached this age had it not been for our incessant quest for knowledge and an appetite for doubt. Our natural curiosity has made us think in order to find better and newer ideas for every facet of our lives. Had the sword of doubt not penetrated the misconception about the shape of the earth, we would still have believed the earth to be flat. ...read more.


The first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning ... For by doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at truth.[3] The key to most of the incomprehensible mysteries of the world is frequent questioning. Jennifer Michael Hecht, a well-known historian, celebrates doubt as an engine of creativity and as an alternative to the intellectual dangers of certainty. She views doubt as a means of making attempts in progression that have forever changed the world for the better. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty ? some unsure, a few nearly sure, none absolutely sure. This gives birth to and makes room for doubt and leads to the expansion of knowledge. The only way a human being can acquire knowledge about what?s real and have any confidence in it is by using his or her reason to determine the best explanation with the facts available, i.e., by ?doubting?. If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.[4] We have been able to reach the existing phase in science largely due to our inquisitiveness. There can be no compromise or complacency in the true spirit of our quest for knowledge. ...read more.


Thus, axioms and assumptions are such where the instinct of doubt is rendered ineffective more often than not. However, subjecting them to the spirit of doubt may sometimes give them a new dimension and a new meaning. Science resurrects itself and beliefs change over time, but each new premise is closer to the truth than the previous one. The scientific spirit that is opposed to the uncritical acceptance of dogma has been responsible for the enormous growth of knowledge. We should not forget that if necessity is the mother of invention, doubt is its father. It is clear from the continual endeavors of man in the twenty-first century that what was claimed to be an innate truth has often been challenged by the seeds of doubt. We construe that in almost all fields of knowledge, the role of doubt cannot be underrated under any circumstances. Will you not agree when I say that doubt should also be a ?way of thinking?? It can be amicably concluded that the more a person doubts the higher will be the levels of pursuit in seeking knowledge, which can then be called a ?universal truth?. ________________ [1] Rene Descartes [2] Potter Stewart [3] Peter Abelard [4] Orville Wright [5] William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1910 [6] Albert Einstein ...read more.

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