Personally the concept of evolution being proven true or false has a large emphasis on each person’s own belief. It might be considered true and as an accepted theory to a person with a scientific background but false to someone who strongly believes in god and so might have a bias viewpoint influenced largely by emotion. Since I was a child having parents who believed in god their religious beliefs and practices were instilled in me. I was told that god created everything and everyone and nothing about evolution or natural selection. In that sense, faith and emotion was the primary way of knowing. Now as I mature and am more aware of the vast variety of concepts and theories, I am starting to believe more in the theory of evolution due to the fact of logical appeal.
The strength of emotion can be further emphasized when considering the theory that homeopathy medication has medicinal effects. Over the years there have been many skeptics of Homeopathy, including Stephen Barrett, M.D. who co-funded the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) and wrote “Homeopathy: The Ultimate Fake”, claiming that “memory of water” does not exist. In his writings he counter claims Hahnemann known as the creator of homeopathy who says despite the continuous dilution beyond the point of any active ingredient being present that the vigorous shaking during each step causes a “spirit-like” essence to be left behind, known as the memory of water, by saying his theory is unsubstantiated and for his theory to be true, “every substance encountered by a molecule of water might imprint an “essence” that could exert powerful (and unpredictable) medicinal effects when ingested by a person.” (6)
The Sceptics of homeopathy such as James Randi, prove the lack of active ingredients in homeopathy tablets and its inability to cure, by taking overdoses in front of crowds before speeches. In article in the guardian, according to a study for the German Medical Association (BÄK), half of the doctors in Germany prescribed placebos (referring to homeopathic remedies and vitamin pills) (7). The study showed that the higher the cost of the placebo and the better the patient feels the doctor understands them, the higher the success rate. Thus there was little to do with the actual contents of the medicine and more about the patients mind sets (7). So, How effective is reason as compared to emotion in the validity of a Natural science theory ?
On a different note, personally, I believe Homeopathy works as my relative suffered from severe joint pain took it and improved visibly and I too have used homeopathy medicines for my stomach cramps and they seem to have a healing effect and I feel better after taking them. Although this may be due to psychological or the placebo effect I still believe in it and the evidence against it has not deterred my consumption. Thus the use of logical reasoning in proving Natural science theories cannot be deemed more powerful than a similar effective use of emotion in proving another theory. In that sense, neither the proof of the theory nor the theory itself can be considered to be definite and indubitable, and both emotion as well as reason has its place in proving a theory. In fact, some might argue that the use of logical reasoning in scientific evidence is in essence the same thing as using emotion in proof of god? As Mr. John mentiones ‘faith’ is prevalent in natural sciences, ethics and in all areas of knowledge.
In contrast to natural science, the patterns in human sciences are less regular and so do not give rise to any laws about how all human beings act everywhere and at all times. For example when considering the ‘Boiling point’ theory, during experimentation according to scientiest the experimental conditions can be expected to produce results similar to those that might have been previously generated under similar circumstances. However in human science experiments people cannot be expected to react similarly even when they are faced with similar situations.
One of the many famous experiments relating to human sciences is the Milgram Experiment (8) which tested the theory that authority increases obedience. In theory it would be expected that most of the “teachers” if not all would not continue to shock the students up till the highest shock level labelled XXX. According to Milgram why the predicted theory didn’t show to be true was because many of the participant’s continued to shock learners under the psychological pressure of an authoritative figure i.e. Authority heightened the obedience of people.
Hence, Logic and belief are the primary factors one uses to check how convincing a Human science theory is. For example, the theory from a study done in the University of Oxford reported that drinking wine increased cancer, the study showed that “drinking a glass of wine a day caused approximately 7,000 additional cancer cases in women, especially breast cancer” amongst the 1.3 million people (9). In a place like UK where 55% (10) of the population consumes alcohol, this theory will surely be met with resistance and might not be accepted. Emotional and cultural bias convince people otherwise in this case. However the same theory in a non-drinking in Islamic will be accepted more whole-heartedly.
All in all, one primarily looks for soundness in reason and inductive logic in Natural sciences theories while appeal to emotive and cultural beliefs are the main factors that make a Human Science theory convincing. Emphasis on emotion to test the correctness of a theory is viewed rather negatively in the scientific community while in Human Sciences, the same emphasis on emotion and cultural beliefs are used for individual interpretation. In Art and Ethics too, one looks for intuitive and emotional appeal to judge whether the knowledge at hand is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Depending on which area of knowledge one is considering, it seems that the same way of knowing has different and rather contrasting roles.