By approaching this quotation with a simplistic viewpoint the knower may feel more inclined to disagree with Miller’s statement. They might ask themselves, “How can this be true? If we know something, we know it. ” However, when considering this quote from my perspective, I could not help but think they are wrong. It must therefore be questioned whether this idea of Miller’s can be both true and false. Placing myself into the position of the knower I deliberated over this statement and concluded that, yes, it is valid.
However, as I am a physics student I may be considered bias, as there may be a great likelihood that I am more inclined to apply this statement to the scientific areas of knowledge. Although this may be the case I found that throughout science we use reasoning and observations to conclude answers to our questions, often through experiments. Nevertheless, after these experiments have been completed we are often left facing many more questions than we had to start with.
To use a personal example as a way to further explain this point, recently I participated in an experiment in physics where we used a jelly-like substance to model human’s skin, and dropped ball bearings at different heights, in an attempt to recreate and compare gun shot wounds. Upon completion of my experiment the question, at what speed will the ball bearing penetrated the skin, was answered, however, I was face with many more questions, such as what variables affect this and why?
Often throughout my lessons, I find myself overwhelmed with questions, and with each door of ignorance that is opened I am faced with three more closed ones. It is because of this that I feel this statement of Miller’s to be a perfect literary representation of the emotions I feel every physics lesson. Thankfully, I am not drowning alone in this pool of ignorance. In Richard Feynman’s article of “Cargo Cult Science,”1 he articulated the same overwhelming feelings of being consumed by ignorance.
In his article he endeavoured to find out all the “wonderful things” people believe these days, such as UFO’s and spiritual chakra healing, and was curious why “most people believe[d] so many of them”, especially when he found many of them to be “ridiculous”. However, in the article he also described how he, “didn’t realise how MUCH there was” he didn’t know about. By embarking on, what he believed was going to be, a simple task of understanding why people believe such ludicrous ideas, he was met with many new paths leading further into the horizons of ignorance.
It seems as if, by the end of the article Feynman had discovered, and not only fully understands what Miller meant by the quotation from the question, but is in full agreement with it. After reading the article the knower can realise that when he embarked on his journey to learn about the “Cargo Cult Sciences” he was ignorant, not only to the answers he sought, but also ignorant to the fact he was ignorant. He was not aware that for every new answer he had found he would be forced to ask himself many more questions as a result of it.