Writing Task:

Science has been a process of continuousadvancement towards objective truth.

Explain what is meant by this statement. Argue tothe contrary. To what extent do you agree that science is a continuous processof advancement towards objective truth?


Belief, according to Plato, is the justified truththat we accept. Thus, if we believe in something, in this case the naturalsciences or laws, we accept these laws as justified truth. Hence, Karl Popperputs forward a theory, whereby he states that if a hypothesis in natural lawcannot be falsified or proven wrong, then it is accepted as the justified truththat a scientist can believe in. This theory of falsificationism, at least forKarl Popper, ensures that there is a degree of certainty in understanding andcomprehending natural laws. The laws are said to be certain because it has notbeen possible to refute or dispute them. Hence, it is said to be safe to acceptthese laws as truth.

However, Popper’s theory cannot be applied in certain circumstances or conditions to fully understand and accept natural laws. This is because not all hypotheses in science (which may be true) can be refuted through experiment. For instance, in the field of astronomy, scientists cannot travel to space and actually observe how the solar system and our galaxy respond to experimental manipulation. It is impossible! With reference to Popper’s theory, most of the scientific laws on astronomy postulated by scientists cannot be accepted as our justified truth. Does that mean our Earth is not a sphere just because no one has actually seen or observed it? Or, the claim made by Copernicus that the planets’orbitals arean ellipse and not perfectly circular cannot be accepted? This simply provesthat there must be other scientific methods which can be used to accept andunderstand scientific laws.

This brings my argument to the basic scientific method called‘naïve inductivism’which isapplied by many scientists to explain natural laws. In this basic scientificmethod, careful observations are made using our senses, the visual, olfactory,auditory, taste and touch that is. From careful and detailed observations, datais collected and a generalization is made from repeated experiments. Thesegeneralizations are made based on inductive reasoning. Hence, a theory isformulated and is then used to explain and make future predictions of naturallaws using deductive reasoning. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge that thismethod has its own weaknesses and flaws. For instance, can our senses be fullytrusted? Different scientists have different ways of interpreting those senses.Some may even choose to accept which senses they believe the most.Hence, defeating the purpose of an independent truth.

In conclusion, both these types of scientificmethods can be used to explain natural laws, depending on the purpose andconditions that go with it.

Examiner comments

This response misconstrues Popper and Plato, setting the tone for a logically structured but rather confused argument. It brings in relevant but misunderstood terminology, fails to explain the statement and does not explain what‘other scientific methods’must be available.

The conclusion is confused and unstructured,offering incorrect definitions of relevant terms and wandering off topic with adiscussion about relying on the senses.

Mark: 2.5A