In time that the theory was introduced,

In this essay I’m
going to be discussing the knowledge claim “Robust
knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement.” Which arises the
question “to what extent do agreement and
disagreement affect the certainty of the knowledge we possess?” While
looking at Natural sciences and Ethics depending on the type of knowledge whether
personal, procedural or propositional knowledge and the area of knowledge it is
being used we will see that all require both consensus and disagreement. In the
field of natural sciences both consensus and disagreement is needed to form a
robust theory, robust theory in this case is a propositional knowledge imposed
on and accepted by most scientists. Furthermore, in ethics both consensus and
disagreement is needed to form a robust knowledge.

 

In Natural
sciences both consensus and disagreement has to be used to form a robust theory
that is accepted by most scientists, the only means of gaining a more robust
propositional knowledge is through disagreement that then slowly lead to
consensus. An example of this is the paradigm shifting theory that is the
theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in 1855, which was ridiculed for
many years by the church and the wealthy, as at the time that the theory was
introduced, the western culture was very religious and everyone believed in
creationism; where everything in the universe was believed to be created by a
divine power. So to question this common place belief was unheard of and
unholy. To many, Darwin’s theory was absurd to them as they were pre-exposed to
the theory of creationism and they had extremely strong faith towards
creationism as it has been taught to them through the bible for many
generations, perhaps because of this; many objections to Darwin’s theory has risen,
his evidence, methodology, his morality and his theory’s plausibility was put
into question, but most of these objections were condemned by the scientific
community. His concept that new species emerge from common ancestors through
modification in a branching pattern of divergence, and his idea of natural
selection was widely accepted within the scientific community. However, the
idea that this was the main mechanism in which evolution takes place was
rejected, and objected right up until the late 1940s, where the discoveries in
genetics lead to the classification of organisms by their relationships using
systematic observations. Or in other words, the advancement in the field of
taxonomy gave almost definite proof that Darwin’s theory of evolution fits best
within what the human race currently understands about evolution. Nowadays,
Darwin’s theory of evolution is accepted by almost all scientists and has also
become the basic building block of modern day biology. This shows us that in
the process for the human race to gain robust propositional knowledge there
will always be multiple disagreement. Sometimes, over a period of almost a
century, but at the same time there is also consensus to a certain degree and
through multiple disagreements, any flaws within the theory will be found which
therefore helps create an even more robust knowledge.

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However, it can be
argued that the objections to Darwin’s theory used by the people believing in
creationism is more or less invalid, as most of these people weren’t scientist
and the fact that they believe in a divine being that created all the things in
the universe was ludicrous, this is because Darwin’s theory has been made
through physical observations that anyone can visibly see if they were to
repeat his experiment. Whilst with regards to the theory of creationism one may
argue that it is just a suspension of disbelief, as most people should know
that scientifically God doesn’t exist, due to lack of proof, but people are still
refusing to believe in Darwin’s theory despite the compelling amount of
research and evidence he proposed, this lack of open-mindedness may perhaps be
due to faith or more likely fear of the unknown, as if God didn’t create people,
then is there really a heaven up above? Hence making the objections toward
Darwin’s theory invalid. If we were to follow this line of thought, then
propositional knowledge should then only become more robust with consensus as
most disagreements about it is invalid.

 

Overall with
regards to my real life situation I believe that in order to gain robust
knowledge both consensus and disagreement is indispensable even though it can
be argued that the opposing argument was made based on fear, even though it is
true that it has yet to be proven if god exists or not, the possibility that
the heavenly father exists is still valid as he may lay within the quantum
field where our current methods of observation cannot measure or fully
understand the quantum field, therefore I believe that the arguments made by
creationism is just as valid as other theories proposed by other scholars.

 

Moreover, when
looking at robust knowledge in the field of Ethics, to me, robust knowledge in
the field of ethics is an understanding in the consequences of one’s actions
and how society has to responds to that particular action in a way that
provides a guiltless sense of justice to society. In ethics both consensus and disagreement
is needed to form robust knowledge. For example, in the never-ending debate of
whether if a person that commits a serious crime e.g. rape or murder should be
killed for their crimes or not. In this field we see both consensus and
disagreement being used to form today’s standard of judging a crime case by
case. Winston Churchill’s famous quote ‘if you kill a murderer, the number of
murderers in the world remains unchanged,’ is an argument you would hear many
times from people who are against executions of murderers, calling it immoral
and unholy and that no one has the right to kill a child of god because god
will be the ultimate judge. But it is easy to think this way because it clears
our conscience. However, if we were to take the perspective of the family of an
aspiring star senselessly murdered we would’ve argued for the execution not
only because of the great emotional pain but also as a mean of serving the
greater good because these people shouldn’t be able to take a life but keep
their own. Arguments like these are used throughout time to justify the death
penalty, provided that there is a general consensus that the accused is guilty
and the accused should be punished. Due to the disagreement in a set response
for a serious crime and a general consensus the the accused must be punished if
guilty to the extent of the crime considering the circumstances, a form of
robust knowledge is created, where society recognizes that a serious crime
isn’t necessarily binary, because not all murders happen intentionally or
without cause. Looking at our justice system today despite its fault, we can see
that we have formed a robust method of trialing and convicting a criminal
ensuring that the decision is not binary and all relevant circumstances were
considered.

 

However, when
dealing with minor crimes to society such as stealing or vandalizing there
seems to be little to no disagreement on the punishment given and the sentence
is often left to the judge’s discretion. So in this sense a robust knowledge in
understanding how to respond to a crime can be formed without disagreement. But
ultimately I believe that in order to understand and create a sophisticated
ethical knowledge on how to deal with crimes both disagreements and consensus
is needed to help formulate the knowledge. Crimes such as stealing and
vandalizing should get as much attention as more serious crimes so that no
precedent is set for criminals to think that they can get away with anything.

 

It is important
that we know that to form a truly robust knowledge both consensus and
disagreement should play a role in us formulating that knowledge as it will
save us from making invalid theories that without disagreement will never reach
its full potential as disagreement to knowledge will always make the knowledge
more robust as any anomalies or flaws in the knowledge will be found and fixed.

However, in some knowledge systems such as religious knowledge one may choose
to ignore disagreement to their religious knowledge as it may deter them from
having faith in what they believe is right.

 

Overall I feel
that both consensus and disagreement are valid factors in forming any type of
robust knowledge as it is a great driving force for scientist to be able to
identify flaws within their theories and even more important for ethics as with
listening from both sides of the table one will be able to form a more balanced
and well thought out knowledge than if they were to only listen to one side of
the argument allowing for compromise to be made in any areas of knowledge.

 

Bibliography

wikipedia, 2017. wikepedia. Online

Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objections_to_evolution
Accessed 2017.