Do we have to think Scientifically to Find the Truth

Is it essential to think from a scientific point of view to find truth? What is science and what is scientific thinking? And what is truth, can we even begin to define it? These are the questions we often attempt to answer but to no avail. Science has always been a very controversial subject, where logic and other “rational” ways of thinking have closely intertwined with it. Can we say that those logical ways are simply variants of scientific thinking itself? As for truth, it is well known that many, if not all, have failed to even attempt to fully define its quintessential values and have done even worse at trying to find truth itself and the answer to the “Supreme” question. In order to answer the question we must understand it, and in order to understand it we must analyze it. Firstly we will have to define science and scientific thinking, to then try to describe truth and to finally try to see whether other ways of finding truth, other than science, are possible.

Science comes from the Latin word scientia which means knowledge. So we can say that science is a theory of knowledge and it’s really just a way of gaining information. However, we generally see science as just a means to find answers when it is also a way for humans to discover and explore the world around them. The essence of science is probably the need for development and understanding of our Universe. What we strive for is knowledge, our brains are conceived in such a way that they are capable of retaining huge amounts of information, and still have space for new things to be learned and memorized. Animals who don’t have such developed brains don’t ever “feel” bored because they do not have this curiosity and power to learn and maintain complex information for long periods of time. They do not want to understand the world around them, as they only want to survive it. This is why humans are always coming up with answers which pose more questions. We need to discover more and more everyday otherwise we would simply be bored with life.

The problem is that we cannot define science precisely, we know that it is a way for us to discover and develop but is it a way of finding truth and is it the only way? Science is certainly able to discover facts but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it always does or that it’s the only way we can find new information. When trying to define science we often come across logic, for instance, we know that an angle on a straight line is going to be 180 and so logically if a line cuts the straight line perpendicularly it means the 2 formed angles will be 180/2 which is 90 and therefore they are right angles. It is tempting to say that it is just logical and not really scientific but in a way logic is a branch of science and is closely linked to it. Logic is really a scientific way of thinking because it is something that makes sense and can be proved because of other occurrences. To think logically is to think from a point of view where we can explain happenings easily and plausibly so that they make sense. However, could there be any declaration, any statement that was once made that was logically true and yet false after scientific investigation (i.e. something that made sense at he time but was proved wrong by science) or vice-versa? For example, in early antiquity it was generally believe that the Earth was flat, this seemed, at the time logical since the horizon was flat and went as far as the eye could see. It seemed plausible to assume the Earth was a vast and level continent. It is only in the 1st century that people finally acknowledged the Earth as being round, because of navigators sailing from east to west (or west to east) trying to go as far ahead as possible where coming back to the point where they departed. This is a great example of the contradiction between logic and science. However, the problem is whether the navigators used logic or science to understand why they would come back to the point where they left. Where are the boundaries of logic and science? Maybe they are both one and the same and help our brain to cope with knowledge that is sometimes hard to comprehend. We need to break down information in order to gradually get a grasp of it, because it is not enough to know something is true, we need to know how and why it is a truth.

In order to think scientifically we must analyze data or information and test it to come up with a hypothesis which might turn out to be a true hypothesis, and hence a fact. By definition facts are pieces of information which are absolute truths and never become untrue, facts are truths but it is possible that a fact might change. For instance we know for a fact that the earth is round and yet we don’t know that it doesn’t evolve or that it might change shape later on, this is because of evolution and even us humans are still evolving and changing. Therefore does the fact that the Earth was round in the year 2000 and not in the year 3000 changes the truth? Can a fact become false? By definition it cannot therefore you could see it as: The fact that the Earth was round in 2000 is a fact and always will be regardless of whether it changed after the year 2000. Consequently, we could say that science is really a way of monitoring changes as well as discovering them, and that science uses facts to compare them with future or past facts. This would mean that thinking scientifically also involves the comparison with other truths, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way to find truth. However, in this case we’ve only investigated “hard” truths, truths that one can see hear or palpate. Some people will say that truth lies in the spiritual world, and that the mind is the key to finding answers, spiritual answers. To some people the truths worth knowing are things like “is there a God?” or “What comes after death?”, those questions have answers but here it has a lot to do with belief and not so much science, since science has had a lot of troubles answering those sorts of questions. Indeed, it would seem that to answer the question “Do we have to think scientifically to find the truth” all of the answer relies on what is the definition or the meaning of “The truth” here. It could be the ultimate everlasting question of “What is the purpose of us?” or it might be “hard” truths, tangible truths, truths which do not involve personal beliefs. In fact it would seem that the other way to find truth (if truth is about the “intangible”) then belief is the key to the answer, and each person has his own truth and idea about these sorts of truths.

We have seen that science isn’t exact and that obviously truths aren’t either, however we can look at truths (tangible truth) as facts which are true in one moment in time and hence will be recorded as having been a fact at that precise moment, regardless about whether it later changes. For instance the fact that “Robert” had two legs before the war stays a fact independently of the reality that he then lost one of his legs during the war. We can see that truth is dependent to the where and the when in the question if we want to know that something is an absolute fact. However, some people might argue that if something changes and evolves it isn’t a fact and only things that are what they are and remain what they are can be defined as absolute facts. However; this means that a lot of “facts” are false and won’t remain true and it would imply that facts have been overused to define occurrences. This is why this statement is too easy, because the term “fact” was created in order to classify things we knew for sure. And I don’t believe that we know for sure that any of these facts won’t change in the future. And even if we were to only label facts as things which will never change it is impossible to say if there is even such a thing. We can’t say for sure that something will never change, because even we, humans, have evolved to become what we are now and it has been scientifically proved that we are still evolving. Facts are here to try and make us aware of our surroundings and how they evolve and the world around us is always changing and restless.

Science is universal, or more correctly, thinking scientifically, is simply something humans do, out of curiosity or because we strive for information and understanding. Scientific thinking is essential to make justified statements, but sometimes the questions cannot be touched by science but by belief, and truths can be absolute truths to some people and not to others. Some people believe in God others don’t believe in Superior Beings. Even people who don’t believe in God, believe in not believing in Him. People who claim that they “don’t believe in anything” are wrong the more accurate way of saying such a claim would be to declare that they “only believe in not believing in anything”.

So we could say that the answer on whether or not scientific thinking is the only way to find truth depends on how we interpret the question itself, and what we see as “the truth”. Overall, we’ve seen that science is just like any theory of knowledge; it comes up with hypotheses and tests them to verify their validity, however, we’ve also seen that it is closely linked to logic and that logic is really a way of thinking scientifically. We’ve also seen that truth can seen differently, it can be seen as facts or as spiritual and existential and depending on those we’ve seen that, really, scientific thinking, logic and all the branches of science are the only ways of finding facts and validating them, however, intangible truth can only be discovered by our minds, our personal feelings and thoughts, and our own beliefs. So really Truth as an “overall” definition of both “factual” and “fictional” can be found not only by scientific thinking but also by our beliefs and our convictions.