Reflecting on our discussions in class, and with inspiration from the TED video, what distinguishes Natural Science from other AOKs? Identify any potential issues or questions that may arise when you consider your definitions.
The Natural Sciences is an area of knowledge including subjects such as chemistry, biology and physics. It is distinguished from other AOKs in a few different ways. Firstly, as discussed in class, the Natural Sciences is only limited to the natural world. The natural world includes everything in our physical world. This means that any idea that cannot be explained by the natural world is not a part of this AOK. Ideas relating to the supernatural world exceed the limits of the natural world and cannot be answered by experiment, and thus is not part of the Natural Sciences. Questions regarding the natural world, such as how rocks are formed, or the speed of light can all be answered or investigated into through experiments and solid evidence. However, questions relating to topics such as life after death are not part of the natural world and thus natural science cannot explain these ideas.
The Natural Sciences is constantly aiming to disprove an existing theory instead of aiming to seek truth in something, as discussed in class. This distinguishes it from other AOKs as other AOKs such as history or math aims to find the correct answer. For example, in the development of the atomic model, scientists conducted experiments to disprove a certain point of the existing theory presented by another scientist. Through the gold foil experiment, Rutherford disproved the Thomson model and showed that there was actually a concentration of positive mass in the atom. Thus, this shows how scientists only strive to understand concepts and theories more rather than find the one true answer. In History, historians are seeking to find what truly happened and gain a better understanding of it, instead of placing more priority poke holes at facts that are already presented.
The idea of the Natural Sciences being testable and being built upon theories inferred from solid evidence also distinguishes it from AOKs where there is no single correct answer. For example, in the arts, there is no right or wrong answer regarding how a certain piece of artwork should be like, or what message the artwork communicates. Thus, if one were to try and disprove information in the arts, or test a certain piece of information, it would be difficult because technically nothing is wrong. Even though knowledge gained from the arts can be supported by evidence (e.g. supporting how a piece of work communicates a certain emotion), one cannot test it to see whether it is correct or not, as the arts can be interpreted different for each individual. Therefore, it is important that knowledge in the Natural Sciences can be tested in order to allow scientists to further seek understanding.