TOK: Natural Sciences

Reflecting on our discussions in class, and with inspiration from the TED video, what distinguishes Natural Science from other AOKs?

There are several things that can distinguish Natural Sciences from other Areas of Knowledge. Firstly, natural science is measurable, unlike concepts in the Arts like beauty which can’t be measured, everything in natural science is quantifiable. While it may seem as though concepts like gravity and the speed of light are aspects that aren’t tangible and therefore can’t be measured, there are still measurements to quantify them. Other AOKs like religion and beliefs aren’t measured and are instead located within our minds, you can’t quantify beliefs because it is all subjective and relative to the culture and environment one is in. It is important to acknowledge that the definition measurable isn’t restricted to what we can visibly see, but as long as it is somehow quantifiable it applies.

Another aspect of natural science is how it’s aim is to disprove rather than prove, and how it isn’t based on proof but rather on evidence. Many concepts in science aren’t definite, the term “theory” while based on scientific evidence doesn’t always have the complete proof it needs to be 100% truth. For example there is a theory that the world was created from a big collapse in the galaxy and is known as “the big bang theory” while this has scientific evidence to support it, no one alive today has the proof to deem this as true. Science is much better at disproving than proving, unlike Maths which has the main aim to prove an equation to be true, science can only have enough evidence to disprove a theory. People theorised that there was a possibility that living organisms could be created from non living material, this was disproved by Louis Pasteur’s Swan Flask experiment. The Swan Flask experiment couldn’t prove how living organisms were formed in the past, because we can’t know the conditions at that time, but it could disprove the conditions of living organisms now. It is important to note that this doesn’t mean nothing in science is truth, with the correct technology there is some theory that is 99.9% true almost no room for falsity.

These are merely some things that distinguish natural sciences from other areas of knowledge.

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