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As We Acquire More Knowledge, Things Do Not Become More Comprehensible, But More Complex And Mysterious. - With A Free Essay Review



“Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.”

The statement that acquisition of knowledge is making things more complicated and uncanny and less understandable partially reflects the truth of human experience in history. Surely, human history, especially in recent centuries, witnesses the accumulation of knowledge. With the explosion of knowledge, we are exposed to comprehensive knowledge. When we were students, we got them in our classes. We know why the earth orbits the sun, why night and day occur in turn, how rain happens. In our daily life, computer technology greatly assists humans to absorb knowledge from the internet. When we are sick, we learn from doctors how it happens. In our daily work, we are trying to find out new information in our field to avoid being left behind. In leisure time, magazines relax and enlighten us. People cannot isolate themselves from society, and anyone must be influenced by knowledge accumulated by humans.

The statement proposes that the more we know about things, the more confused we are, and the more complex that things become. The standpoint is based on fact that we find ideas from different sources. For instance, in the history of philosophy, philosopher's opinions were different and even conflict with each other. So we are not likely to figure out whose idea is true. In the same way, researchers carried out their experiments in different methods on the same materials, but they got distinct results. So we are confused by their different research results. Researchers may air different views on a same subject in distinct perspectives, and their distinct views reflect different stages of a same process. The different stages make the process complex, and thus, we are puzzled.

However, learning knowledge is not always bound to make things less intelligible. The previous examples show that knowledge helps us understand our world. We have learnt the existence of gravity on the earth from Isaac Newton's discovery, so we more or less understand why a stone will fall down when we throw it into the air. Also, in our daily life, we are familiar with the widely used cellphones. The knowledge of radio makes it easy to understand how voice messages transmit to our parents thousands of miles away. In the same way, before we learnt optic principles, we regarded a rainbow as a phenomenon hard to comprehend, since we did not know how it occurred.

Contrary to the statement, we can see how knowledge helps human understand mysterious nature. Think about how the knowledge about evolution of life explains the beginning of life. Without the knowledge of evolution, the origin of life is confusing. So, the knowledge, to some extent, makes it easy to understand. The researches of photosynthesis in plants reveal that processes occur in plants' leaves. If it were not for knowledge from that research, we would still regard photosynthesis an an uncanny phenomenon.

In addition, knowledge provides human with hope to eliminate some diseases in the future. With Knowledge, doctors and patients understand the mechanisms of how cancer develops, how SARS causes disease, why HIV virus can be dangerous. . If not, we are unable to develop medicines to protect us from those diseases and prevent them from happening to us. Further researches on these fields will accumulate more knowledge, and this knowledge will help us understand it well, and thus, we can deal with these diseases more wisely, and we will definitely benefit from these knowledge.

Knowledge was accumulated in the human experience from making stone tools to the improvement of computer's function. Innumerable problems emerged in the human history, we human solved them one after another and accumulated knowledge, and there are still endless problems to be settled. Knowledge makes this world intelligible and understandable. Knowledge is essential to human since it provides clear direction to solve new problems.

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Essay Review

Your first paragraph makes a series of statements about the accumulation of knowledge without making an explicit argument relevant to the prompt. You claim only that we must be influenced by such knowledge, without specifically stating whether things become more comprehensible or not. Without such an explicit relevant argument, the value of your first paragraph is considerably diminished.

Your second paragraph apparently aims to explain why one might be inclined to think that in the history of the attempts to acquire knowledge (through philosophy or through experiments) things become more complex and mysterious. This explanation is not completely convincing to me. The fact, if it is a fact, that "we are not likely to figure out whose [philosophy] is true" does not immediately support the contention that things become "more complex and mysterious." Obviously one could argue that the accumulation of mutually incompatible philosophical views does not help clarify the nature of things; one could even argue that such philosophical views complicate concepts instead of elucidating them. But even if you made that point explicit, it would not clearly be a case of the accumulation of knowledge (as opposed to say, the accumulation of ideas or theories) causing things to appear more complex.

The same problem affects, I think, your claims about the effect of different results from different experiments. This seems to be an example of confusion that is caused in a discipline when researchers have a poorly worked-out methodology. It's not a result of confusion caused by the accumulation of knowledge.

Perhaps an example would help clarify the kind of experience the prompt seems to be concerned with. Take space. Once we thought it was absolute, uniform, Euclidean. Now it seems to be both something (in that it has properties) and nothing (there's no 'ether') at the same time; it warps under gravity, and expands under some unknown force, and seems to be inextricably bound up with time. You might say we know more about space than ever before but it is also more mysterious than ever. Light might be another example. Newton thought light was composed of particles. That seems a fairly simple understanding of light. It was later shown that light was wave-like. Waves are a bit more complex and mysterious than particles, one might say. Then we learned that light is both particle-like and wave-like. That seems to be much more complex and mysterious.

I chose the latter example, light, because, as you go on to point out, knowledge of the nature of light has also helped to explain certain phenomena, such as the rainbow. This part of your essay, in which you explain how knowledge has helped us understand some things, is the stronger part of your essay. You probably do not need as many examples as you offer here, however. When the instructions ask you to "consider ways in which the statement might of might not hold true," they seem to be calling for something a bit more abstract than examples. An abstract reason supporting the original statement, might go like this: "Things can become more mysterious the more we know because there is so much to know about apparently simple phenomena and because our knowledge is increasingly supplemented by technological ways of seeing or measuring things that we do not naturally possess, which means we have not evolved the cognitive apparatus that would allow us to understand intuitively the things we observe." Can you think of an abstract way of making the opposing argument?

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: alan
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