Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

IntroductionEinstein said, “To these elementary laws there leads no logical path, but only intuition, supported by being sympathetically in touch with experience.” This implies that scientists need to have an observation first which will provide inspiration for their scientific investigation. After that, they have to do experiments to prove their hypothesis and explain the phenomenon clearly. On the other hand, although science can explore many phenomenon in the world, there are still some limitation of science. It is therefore important to understand the method of discovering nature by illustrating several examples and discuss the limitation of science.Science is based on sensory experienceAristotle claimed that “the processing of acquiring knowledge begins with sense experience” (Lindberg 20-21). When scientists make a close observation of nature repeatedly, memory can be built up in their mind. Therefore, they can understand the common features of things through intuition. Researchers are able to deduce rules behind the facts in order to know the truth. This is a process of scientific investigation proposed by Aristotle which emphasized that “knowledge is empirical” (Lindberg 20-21).Intuition is very important for discovering elementary law. Poincaré also stated the role of intuition in mathematical discovery which is very similar to scientific investigation. He stated that not everyone can have the mathematical intuition. This intuition enables scientists to understand and discover mathematical theories or procedures, distinguishing themselves from others. In addition, they have a sense of beauty to select some facts which are useful for scientific or mathematical discovery. And those facts are simple and have a higher chance of recurring.( Poincaré, 165-168)From the above, it can be seen that intuition and sensory experience are conductive to scientists’ work. ExamplesPhysicsGeorg Ohm was a German physicist who studied the relationship between current, voltage and resistance. He conducted experiments with the use of galvanometer and thermocouple. He then used different lengths and properties of wires to complete the circuit, showing that the current is proportional to the voltage when there is a constant resistance. This gave rise to the Ohm’s law. In addition, Newton carried many experiments to prove the law of motion. He also illustrated the universal gravitation with cannonball-thought experiment. These two examples show that physicists do experiments to observe the pattern of a phenomenon and clearly explain the law with the experimental results or examples.Biology Gregor Mendel was a scientist and friar. He made a great contribution to the discovery of inheritance. At that time, he was inspired by Abbot Napp, his father superior, conducting experiments on hereditary. He crossbred green and yellow pea plants which were both pure-breeding in a garden. After the experiment, he discovered that the ratio of red pea plant to yellow pea plant in the filial generation is worthy of attention. He also proposed that the colour of the pea plant is determined by a pair of factors which can be inherited to the offspring. (Factors are regarded as genes in modern science.) Green pea-colour gene is dominant while yellow-colour gene is recessive.  The offspring will receive one factor from each of their parents. Mendel discovered that if a parent pea plant contains both colour gene, sperms produced by it will have 50 percent contain a green or yellow-colour gene. From Mendel experience, we can see that observation is very important in discovering the nature.(Watson, 102-105)Limitation of scienceSubjectivitySubjectivity is beyond the grasp of science. Kandel stated in his book that consciousness can be divided into unity and subjectivity. Compared to unity, subjectivity is the biggest challenge in science. Although we can understand the mechanism of the transmission of nerve impulse and the integration of sensation in our brain, it is now impossible for scientists to know the reason why people will have different feeling when they are facing the same situation. For example, when we see the same blue sky or listen to the same middle C, scientists can detect similar neuron activity in particular part of our brain. However, the significance of the blue and the note will be different from each other. We will have our unique emotion and response. As a result, the complex change from the neural activity to subjective experience remains mysterious in science.moral and value judgmentScience does not make any moral and value judgment. When scientist develops a new technology, they seldom take the ethical issue into consideration. One of the examples is in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to fertilize eggs and sperms outside the female body in a laboratory setting. After fertilized eggs successfully develop into embryos, gene screening is used to choose the best embryo to prevent genetic disorder in a foetus. However, other embryos which are not used for implantation may be destroyed. As a result, IVF gives rise to several moral issues. Is destroying embryos right? Science cannot give us an answer. Undoubtedly, if we consider embryos as the human being, destroying embryos have no difference from homicide. Apart from the above, IVF interferes with the religious belief that babies should come naturally from sexual intercourse between parents, destroying the traditional family value. From the above, it can be seen that science mainly consider the benefits of an invention but does not distinguish right from wrong.In addition, science cannot prove whether God exists or not. For example, Newton indicated that there may be a god that gives a force to the planets and therefore they are in the circular motion in the universe. If not, the attractive force from the sun will cause planets to move straightly toward the sun.(Cohen,61)Technological limitationThe use of technology greatly affects the development of science. One of the most important inventions is the telescope. It was invented in Netherlands first and later greatly improved by Galileo. Galileo used the telescope to explore the universe and he discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter. He observed that the surface of the moon is rough and the phases of the planet Venus is similar to the moon which revolve around the sun. This proves that Aristotle cosmology is wrong. From the above, the invention of telescope enabled Galileo to explore the space, which facilitates the development of astronomy. Apart from the telescope, microscope plays a crucial role in biological discovery. With the advance of microscope, it enabled scientists to know more about the microscopic world. In 1665, Robert Hooke examined a slice of cork and saw many tiny pores under the microscope. He called them as the cell. After this breakthrough, many scientists started to investigate in cells, eventually leading to the introduction of cell theory which proposed that cells are the basic unit of all living things. Therefore, science is limited by the availability of technology and equipment at that time.TentativenessSocial and cultural limitationScience is socially and culturally affected. As mentioned before, Mendel contributed a lot to the study in hereditary. However, since he was a monk who was unknown to the outside world and most scientists had very little knowledge on genetics at that time, his experimental result was totally ignored by other scientists until the discovery of chromosome in cells. Another example is that Galileo was suppressed by the Church. In seventeenth century, most people believed that earth is located at the centre of the universe, but Galileo opposed to this belief after his investigation. In contrast, he supported the claim of Copernicus that the sun is the centre of the solar system and other planets will revolve around the sun. His claim was regarded as heretical by people and the church at that time. In 1616, Galileo was therefore not allowed to teach and express his opinion on Copernican heliocentrism. Moreover, after he published the book called “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, he was deprived of his freedom and forced to stay in house for the rest of his life. This show that when an existing theory is deeply rooted in people mind, a new research result which conflict with it will not be easily accepted by public. On top of that, people may even ignore it. Consequently, this will impede the development of science.

Post Author: admin


I'm Eunice!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out