Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Knowledge Within a Discipline Develops According to the Principles of Natural Selection, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1785

Essay

Throughout time, humanity has experienced the utility of knowledge and humans have been able to expand their understanding of the world around them by drawing connections between observations and attaching them to new ideas. The metaphor, “Knowledge within a discipline develops according to the principles of natural selection”, therefore appears to be useful because it demonstrates how knowledge is built upon in our society. Knowledge is defined the ability to obtain a factual understanding of a situation, while discipline is indicative of a field of study. Natural selection refers to the tendency for beneficial traits to remain in existence, while less beneficial traits will be removed (Agutter et al., 2008). Specifically, knowledge develops in a manner that is in accordance with natural selection; as knowledge becomes less relevant, it dies out. If it is useful, it grows to contribute to greater understanding rather than contributing to bias. Natural selection is applicable to knowledge in the fields of science, history, and mathematics; in all disciplines, we hold onto the knowledge we need and discard the knowledge that is deemed unnecessary through use of reason. In this manner, it is hypothesized that knowledge will transform as new knowledge is accumulated and inaccurate knowledge will be forgotten.

Knowledge changes in academic disciplines based on our ability to draw deductions from what is currently known and how this information could be used to understand the world around us. The theory of natural selection itself is used to define how living organisms die out. Species with useful traits survive and pass these traits to future generations, while traits that are not conducive to survival will cause them to die out. Information operates in the same manner. If information is not useful, it will not be transmitted to future generations. If the information is incorrect, it may be erased altogether. The survival of information relies upon its ability to change to reflect new understandings. We can use reason as a primary way of knowing which knowledge to retain and which to abandon. A primary example of knowledge that has now been refuted is the previous understanding that Christopher Columbus discovered America (Weiner, 2007). While this was previously considered to be a historical fact, it has now been eradicated because we now understand that the land was already claimed by its native peoples. Thus, our self-knowledge can evolve based on new knowledge, which helps us to continue to grow as an educated society.

In contrast, some individuals would argue that information never truly dies because it is used to generate a culmination of understandings that contribute to our present views, which is a bias to the belief that it evolves. These individuals consider the tendency to hold onto knowledge as science worship, although these individuals do not have a full understanding of the context of this scientific knowledge. In the field of mathematics, rules are typically held as facts. However, if we cannot refute these facts or use them to make new connections, we are not truly adding to knowledge. In this discipline and in others, subject content evolves from reasoning derived from previous areas to an extent, but we cannot truly grow if we are not able to refute already existing information in some disciplines as incorrect. An example of this is that mathematical knowledge constantly evolves from the foundation of knowledge that proceeded it; an understanding of basic arithmetic was needed to develop algebra. In order to solve for unknown variables, which is the substance of this discipline, we need to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (Burton, 1995). Furthermore, we need to know the order of operations in order to ensure that these equations are solved in a consistent manner. As such, even some elements of calculus are derived from algebra. A correct understanding of mathematics has contributed to a more complex appreciation of numbers and the rules that dictate their use.  It is reasonable that humanity will be able to make further contributions to academia if they continue to build upon already existing conceptualizations.

It is apparent that science grows according to methods of natural selection. We now understand that many medical beliefs of the past and general descriptions of the world around us are untrue. Therefore, we can use reasoning to expand our knowledge of science in a manner that will help aid the medical knowledge of society without encountering fallacy. It is therefore apparent that knowledge within a discipline evolves according to natural selection because information that is proven to be untrue is removed from our discourse. An example of this is the fact that Lamarck’s principle has essentially been refuted in favor of the theory of natural selection, for which this concept has been named. Lamarck’s theory states that inherited traits are passed down to offspring when they are used frequently and these traits will not be passed down if they are not used frequently (Coleman, 1977). On the other hand, natural selection states that traits will continue to exist if they are useful to the population, but will be removed from the population if they are not useful or directly contradict the population’s well-being. Scientific evidence has indicated the validity of natural selection through a modern understanding of scientific exploration and a new understanding of genetics. Due to this new understanding of genetics, we are able to identify and treat medical disorders in a revolutionary manner, allowing some individuals to live for many more years that originally thought possible. It is therefore important to allow outdated knowledge to die out, enabling more accurate knowledge that could create realistic change to replace it.

On the other hand, many people believe that the truth is not currently known because we do not have a sufficient rationalization of science. There are many different topics we do not know. There may be organisms living on distant planets, we do not currently have a cure for cancer, and we are currently unable to accurately gain an understanding of the reality of past historical events. However, not knowing whether there is a cure for cancer does not mean that we do not know truth; we have an understanding of the current truth of this matter with regards to treatments and medical observations and must expand upon this understanding in order to resolve this scientific question. Since we know some of the causes of cancer in addition to how physicians can individualize treatments to effectively help patients, it is apparent that our current truth may be simply that we have a starting point with which we can continue to build in order to find a cure for this devastating illness (Kleinsmith, 2006). However, it is challenging to acquire a full scope of truth when people consider truth to be the ability to know everything about a particular situation. The reality is that not knowing is beneficial because it allows us to explore and learn more. Thus, we must consider that truth can only be defined by the current knowledge that we have in addition to our ability to push boundaries and learn even more.

It is important to understand how knowledge develops because this can allow us to understand how new knowledge forms, or evolves over time. Developing new knowledge is a necessary part of the human existence. As we develop more needs, we create new questions that need to be solved. Occasionally, we have the manpower and resources needed to answer these questions, while other times, responding to these problems are not possible with the current knowledge available. However, this does not mean that we cannot determine how new knowledge is created, or that we cannot create new knowledge. There are some who believe that the only truth that exists is the truth that we currently have. These individuals are those without enough scientific knowledge to understand how new knowledge is created. In order to benefit society, it is important. For example, scientists believe that for truth to exist, new knowledge must constantly be created. The creationist theory of existence was replaced with the theory of evolution in this manner; scientists have shown how organisms slowly came to exist over time through this theory, indicating that we could refine our prior truths to incorporate scientific evidence (Agutter et al., 2008). This therefore allows for enhanced understanding. On the other hand, some individuals that believe only in creationism do not recognize the true value of scientific evidence. This is not to say that there is no such thing as God. Instead, we are able to incorporate what we are able to observe in the world around us into the definition of the roles that God and/or other forces played in the creation of the universe. Thus, information we collect from our observations and attempts to understand scientific applications have the ability to feed back into our development of knowledge. Thus, new knowledge is created in an evidence-based manner that adds to or replaces old knowledge. Simply adhering to old knowledge in spite of evidence is not a form of progress.

Overall, “knowledge within a discipline develops according to the principles of natural selection” is a useful metaphor because it effectively describes how knowledge transforms over time. It allows us to have a more concrete understanding of how knowledge changes throughout time. Useful knowledge is maintained and has the ability to evolve into even more descriptive knowledge, while knowledge that is inaccurate is more likely to be eradicated from existence. The way that knowledge has changed in the disciplines of science, history, and mathematics has reflected this form of natural selection. Because of the way that people think about these fields, we are now able to clarify misunderstandings and more effectively contribute to the creation of new knowledge. Creating new knowledge will positively influence academic discourse that pertains to a variety of fields. Thinkers can use an understanding of natural selection in order to achieve greater discernment with regards to how knowledge changes over time. It is valuable for thinkers, independent of their goal, to study the relationship between knowledge and natural selection to help them understand how knowledge has changed over time to benefit humanity.

References

Agutter, Paul S.; Wheatley, Denys N. (2008). Thinking about Life: The History and Philosophy of Biology and Other Sciences. Dordrecht, the Netherlands; London: Springer Science+Business Media.

Burton, David M. (1995), Burton’s History of Mathematics: An Introduction (3rd ed.), Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown.

Coleman, William L. (1977). Biology in the Nineteenth Century: problems of form, function, and transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kleinsmith, Lewis J. (2006). Principles of cancer biology. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Weiner, E. (2007). Coming to America: Who Was First? Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15040888

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!