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Bridging Natural Sciences and Indigenous Systems

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Human-Written

Words: 1587 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 1587|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

The idea of knowledge could be interpreted as the accumulation of intelligence from posteriori (experimental) learning. As a society, we learn to rely on others to gain information. The prescribed title assumes that any knowledge presented is consistently a product of combined effort. Collaboration simply refers to two or more individuals working together towards shared goals. Furthermore, what can be defined as a product of knowledge? Personally, I believe the production of knowledge is the act of piecing information (respective throughout a period of time) to create a finalized product. Essentially, the act of evoking the thought of a new idea and pursuing it further, or refining an existing idea to stem new information.

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I decided to discuss this claim with the natural sciences and indigenous knowledge systems as they best connected with me. This essay will therefore focus on the knowledge question, “To what extent does the production of knowledge in both the natural sciences and indigenous knowledge systems represent collaboration by questioning established knowledge?” The example of the Big Bang theory illustrates the essence of collaboration in the natural sciences. In 1927, George Lemaitre suggested the universe began from a single atom. His idea, inspired by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativism, sparked curiosity in other scientists such as Edwin Hubble and Robert Wilson. This brought forth theories such as Hubble’s Law and cosmic microwave radiation, that supported the idea of an expanding universe. With the help of newer scientists, not only was Lemaitre’s theory buttressed, but new evidence, yet to be further analyzed was introduced.

The role of collaboration questions the primary source of knowledge in the natural sciences. How is knowledge initially extracted in the natural sciences? Many theorists have unconsciously relied on serendipity as a source of knowledge in developing new theories. Though plausible and occasionally ingenious, the intention of many scientists, however, is to further enhance the behaviour of nature using knowledge established from previous theories. For instance, if one was to question the density of a metal object after being suspended in a body of water, one would come to the conclusion that the densest objects face an upward force relative to its mass. However, a more reasoned conclusion can be further confirmed with the application of Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy that addresses the behaviour of objects propelled in fluids.

As discoveries delve from exposure to shared knowledge, I derived the claim that the validity of reasoning in the natural sciences contributes to shared knowledge. The process of drawing general conclusions from specific cases, also known as inductive reasoning, is an example of collaboration with the validity of our conclusions stemming from our certainty in previously acknowledged experiences. Skepticism is also an important role in the production of new knowledge. Skepticism, the act of questioning the attitude or doubt towards one or more items of belief, suggests scientists develop their knowledge through continual testing and analyzing. Popper’s falsification theory states scientists should dedicate time in proving theories that are open to question. By doing so, new scientists are able to develop anomalies by improving from flaws in the known theories.

Skepticism can also suggest the presence and necessity of a paradigm shift in the knowledge acquired in the natural sciences. A scientific revolution involves scientists becoming dissatisfied with the continuing model reinforced throughout scientific history. Hence, they present a new perspective to achieving scientific discoveries. With lessons gained from other scientists, “paradigm shift” results in the ability to produce new models, intended to replace scientific standards rather than branch off of old ones. However, does the problem of induction suggest that scientific knowledge is essentially an unreliable source? Issues regarding induction arise due to the risk of losing knowledge as scientists continue to inaugurate theories based on their limited experiences, resulting in drastic leaps within scientific history. Though paradigm shifts radically alter perspectives to understand reality, the history of science suggests scientific knowledge is a cumulative process that may obey or disobey established knowledge to further encourage the production of new knowledge.

Collaboration can also be seen through peer reviewing. Peer reviewing refers to the process of supervising one’s performance to ensure it meets a specific criterion. By working in groups, peer reviewing eliminates mistakes in scientific reasoning to ensure a fast delivery of knowledge. If peer reviewing requires the ability to identify mistakes in scientific research, to what degree are experts required in reviewing the authenticity of knowledge established in the natural sciences? Since scientific knowledge can be fallible, it is important for qualified experts to evaluate research and evidence prior to its debut. This allows poor research to be rejected at an early stage and only encourages the production of supported knowledge.

One can argue that the importance of collaboration in the natural sciences is neglected with the theory of dogmatism- the tendency to avoid a theory as incorrect without the consideration of other opinions. In such cases, scientists are certain that their theory is closer to reality and therefore reject the other opinions as null hypotheses. Another reason for individuality in knowledge may derive from the subjective nature of science. The theory of relativism is the belief that there is no absolute truth and the belief of others depends on their judgements and culture. As a result, an opposing argument could be that excessively opposing ideas can lead to further errors in knowledge. It is reasonable to reduce the extent of questioning as it can contribute to self-doubt, however science has to be self-correcting. As proven throughout scientific history, any errors found in scientific knowledge must be dissected to be corrected by another individual in the future.

Another area of knowledge that can be considered is the indigenous knowledge systems. The indigenous knowledge system refers to a minority community that has deep historical links to a particular geographical area. The mutual link amongst members in a community is the idea that they are shaped by culture- the beliefs and practices which are passed on from one generation to the next As a result, indigenous communities are based on collectivism ideology. Collectivism refers to the interdependence and social harmony that dominates throughout cultures. As per the Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, indigenous knowledge is adaptive (related to historical experiences), cumulative (acquired throughout years living in close proximity with nature), and dynamic (adapted over time). Knowledge is generated by communities working together throughout time, in an effort to integrate with their environment. Thus, many communities believe in the sustainability of their practices and traditions by passing the knowledge down the generations- an effort to cherish the rich culture.

In order to transmit knowledge through word of mouth, there must be an origin or teller to the story. Tribal elders are members of the community honoured for their recollection of stories, often based off of memory. Yet, a medium is required to communicate the memories to the younger generations. From this, I have derived the claim that language is a crucial aspect of collaboration in the production of knowledge within indigenous communities. Traditional societies are reliant on the knowledge derived from oral communication. Language can be thought as a symbol responsible for communicating thought and experience, with the ability to mold beliefs of others. Thus, how does language, or the lack thereof, limit the potential knowledge available within indigenous communities? The risk of assimilation is heightened in communities with predominance of English. Cultural assimilation can hinder collaboration if there is a restriction on the language used to explain it. For example, the First Nations in Canada have been experiencing the early stages of what is considered to be the death of their language. According to UNESCO’s criteria, more than two thirds of the 90 indigenous languages in Canada are endangered. Personally, being raised in an English prominent environment, it is imperative that I continue to speak my mother tongue, Malayalam, as an effort to rejuvenate the cultural heritage. Without proficiency in Malayalam, I hinder my share of knowledge to the next generation. Hence, without language, thought is restricted in communities and without thought, knowledge is limited.

One can pose an alternate claim to the necessity of language within collaboration with the idea of tacit knowledge. In indigenous communities, memories may evoke from situations regarding one’s instinct or feeling known as tacit knowledge, that is otherwise hard to transfer to others. In this instance, knowledge is derived from personal experiences. As a result, the production of knowledge is credited to a single individual and cannot be expressed to others. Although learning from personal experience is the best form of self-teaching, collective knowledge expressed through language has values amongst the narrator as it increases the confidence in their belief, but is also archived for others to learn from it.

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Throughout the essay, it can be seen that the production of knowledge in the natural sciences and indigenous knowledge systems is in fact a collaborative task. The prominence of inductive reasoning, skepticism, and peer reviewing to further enhance theories in the natural science suggest the presence of collaboration throughout scientific history. Similarly, the role of language in integrating generations amongst indigenous communities demonstrates the necessity of collaboration to preserve cultural heritage. As Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. We have the ability to seek new knowledge because of our understanding in the foundations established by others. Collaboration is essential in providing opportunities to grow, while also providing a shield for failures. Whether it is science, music, or our daily functioning, learning is a cumulative task that continues to advance from the brilliance of others.

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Bridging Natural Sciences and Indigenous Systems. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/bridging-natural-sciences-and-indigenous-systems/
“Bridging Natural Sciences and Indigenous Systems.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/bridging-natural-sciences-and-indigenous-systems/
Bridging Natural Sciences and Indigenous Systems. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/bridging-natural-sciences-and-indigenous-systems/> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Bridging Natural Sciences and Indigenous Systems [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 13 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/bridging-natural-sciences-and-indigenous-systems/
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