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Doubt Is The Key To Knowledge

659 words - 3 pages

Knowledge is most often arrived at after thorough questioning to ensure that what is claimed to be true is in fact accurate. However, being human, we make mistakes and not all of these “proven” knowledge claims hold true. When stating a knowledge fact in an area such as science or history, one can be assured that their theory will be tested and questioned by several professionals in the field. This leads to the following quote, a Persian Proverb: “Doubt is the key to knowledge.” Doubt alone cannot lead to knowledge, but is surely capable of being the key to knowledge. By further assessment of a knowledge claim that has already been “proven”, one is revealing his doubts on the claim. Although these doubts could lead to a dead end, often, in the areas of knowledge of science and history, they develop into experiments that factually counter the claim. In this essay, I will explore the truth behind this quote and prove that the consideration of doubt is the linchpin to any investigation, but is not the only essential input.
When a previously accepted fact is proven wrong, new knowledge is created and doubt is often the reason behind the discovery. In the area of knowledge of science, this is frequently the story. A relevant example of this is the discovery of the now hypothetical planet Vulcan. Vulcan was proposed by French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier to be a small planet that orbited between Mercury and the Sun. Le Verrier used the existence of Vulcan to justify peculiarities in Mercury’s orbit, now which can be explained through Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Soon after, scientists around the world began to claim to have observed the new planet in orbit. Until La Verrier’s death in 1877, scientists continued to report sightings of Vulcan. However, after his death, “without La Verrier acting as a cheerleader for Vulcan’s existence” , it suddenly began to be doubted by many scientists and...

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