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To What Extent Do Our Personal Beliefs Affect Our Ability to Reason? Discuss in Relation to the Natural Sciences as an Area of Knowledge

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“To what extent do our personal beliefs affect our ability to reason? Discuss in relation to the natural sciences as an area of knowledge”

“Belief has no place as far as science reaches, and may be first permitted to take root where science stops”. This is a statement that Rudolf Virchow-a German pathologist and statesman -abides by, explicitly ruling out personal beliefs- deemed one of the driving forces of our reasoning-when it comes to reliable scientific activities. Questioning the provenance and the basis of our beliefs and their limitations on our critical thinking and ability to reason- particularly in the field of the natural sciences, is conventional. Whilst on many accounts, with the observable existence of confirmation bias, obstinate and purposeful ignorance, personal beliefs can confine reason and impose limitations on critical thinking. Thereby some would, in my opinion, rightfully conclude that in order to be effective in the affairs of natural sciences, one must act independent of their beliefs as it births multitudinous doubts and biases, rendering them unreliable. However others are apt to assert that personal beliefs cultivate serendipitous discoveries and widen the scope of the sciences as it integrates other aspects of life allowing for more factors to be considered when making discoveries. This bring many to ask “To extent to which our personal beliefs affect our ability to reason in the field of science?”

By many scientists the word ‘beliefs’ connotes a set of restrictions and unreliable information. Moreover, when these sets of beliefs are personal to us, we tend to evade contrary information that could potentially disintegrate the foundation of these scientific hypotheses or presumptions-the source of their personal beliefs, something that is generally sacred to their identity or firmly planted within them. This introduces the confirmation bias shown through Rene Blondot’s discovery of ‘the N-rays’ an ephemeral existence that derived from a special crystal. Throughout his entire research he only tested his ‘discovery’ in the presence of the special crystal and had come to the conclusion that his discovery was legitimate. This was later verified by many researchers around the world who had testified that they too had seen the N-rays as deriving from the special crystal. However a suspicious American scientist, Robert Wood, visited Blondot’s lab and surreptitiously removed the chief constituent and source of the N-rays. The N-rays ceased to dissipate, hence proving Blondots discovery to have been tainted by confirmation bias as he had only perused evidence in favor of his pre-established scientific beliefs and in the same sense abandoned his critical thinking and compromised reasoning. Furthermore pre-established beliefs can breed delusion as one may become enamoured by the veiled fallacy encouraged by their beliefs, cultivating placebo effects. Nasal dilators, specially crafted sportswear that optimizes your performance and Gatorade are amongst many of the placebos that athletes claim have actually enhanced their performance, despite there being evidence to prove that these tools have little to no enhancing effect on an athlete’s performance – contrary to what the advertisement and packaging claims. This places emphasis on the power of belief on the reception of outside factors and tools by the human body and brain, undermining reason.

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(2018, 02). To What Extent Do Our Personal Beliefs Affect Our Ability to Reason? Discuss in Relation to the Natural Sciences as an Area of Knowledge. EssaysForStudent.com. Retrieved 02, 2018, from https://www.essaysforstudent.com/Philosophy/To-What-Extent-Do-Our-Personal-Beliefs-Affect/108870.html

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"To What Extent Do Our Personal Beliefs Affect Our Ability to Reason? Discuss in Relation to the Natural Sciences as an Area of Knowledge." EssaysForStudent.com. EssaysForStudent.com, 02 2018. Web. 02 2018. <https://www.essaysforstudent.com/Philosophy/To-What-Extent-Do-Our-Personal-Beliefs-Affect/108870.html>.

"To What Extent Do Our Personal Beliefs Affect Our Ability to Reason? Discuss in Relation to the Natural Sciences as an Area of Knowledge." EssaysForStudent.com. 02, 2018. Accessed 02, 2018. https://www.essaysforstudent.com/Philosophy/To-What-Extent-Do-Our-Personal-Beliefs-Affect/108870.html.