PT: 1 “The quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it.”
Diamond A. Balam
Andress High School
PT #1: “The quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it.”
Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Breaking it down, it's possible to hear a thought out without claiming it or accepting it as tru. The title is saying that knowledge is only valid when there are more people to accept it than those that don't. Quality can be defined as “a peculiar and essential character.” Measured means “marked by due proportion” and accept means “to receive or take willingly.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) In some areas of knowledge such as the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the statement proves to be true and the question raised is to what extent is acceptability an accurate way of measurement?
The quality of knowledge can be measured in three ways: validity, accessibility and diversity. Validity is a must in any area of knowledge. One cannot present invalid information to a person or group of people and expect people to accept it. The knowledge one has obtained should be valid in the sense of accuracy and reliability. There should be no loopholes left open to allow for any leeway to occur. Accessibility could play a role as well. Everything should be in easy access, whether it be a book or online. Decent quality knowledge should be publicly open to a wide audience and not hiding where one has to go and dig for it. Another way to measure the quality of knowledge is through diversity. The information should be able to be used in more than one topic of a section if possible.
The quality of knowledge is not best measured by how many people accept it. There are two sides to every story, so I could be on this side while you're on the other. For example, in the area of knowledge of art, quality knowledge is produced individually by each person. Only they can determine what “quality” work is. An artist could draw a picture of a person hanging themselves and to the artist, it could be considered quality because of tools they used, the colors, etc. To another person who's not the artist, they could think that the painting is bad just for the simple fact that the man is hanging himself. As an artist as well as a citizen of the United States, we are free to do what we want. We have the freedom of expression. So the artwork could and may be bad and offensive to one person, but at the need of the day the artist can do what he/she feels. The example of the man hanging himself may not be appropriate for a child setting to display that artwork, but regardless the artist has the right to draw and express themselves through art however they want.
As well as the painting and drawing side of art, there is a musical side where the quality of knowledge is still not best measured by how many people accept it. In 1996, Metallica released their album Load after their last album in 1991 entitled the Black Album. The album incorporated blues, country, southern rock, and alternative rock, which was not the thrash metal style that Metallica fans were used to. (Erlewine, n.d.) Fans labeled them as “sell-outs” and said “they betrayed metal when it needed them the most, and that to me is unforgivable.” (“Eddie Trunk on Backlash,” 2018) They also thought that them cutting their hair and changing their styles was a marketing technique. On Metallica: Behind the Music, in response to the name-calling, the group responded, “Yeah we sold out. We sell-out every single night, every seat in the house, everywhere we play.” (Metallica: Behind the Music, n.d.) No matter if fans accepted the different piece of art or not, Metallica's album Load still spent four weeks on the Billboard's Top 100 chart. The fans' reasoning as to why they were upset about Metallica's change did not faze the group at that time. They later returned back to their old ways of music.
Acceptability is not an accurate way of measuring the quality of knowledge. In Singapore, according to the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), polygamy is only allowed for Muslim men, only after they've gotten the approval of the Kadi. Kadis have the power to consider marriage applications and solemnize marriages. (“Kadi and Naib Kadi,” 2015) If one is not Muslim, polygamy is considered to be a criminal offense to Singaporean law. To Americans our ethical system is different. Polygamy is illegal in every state except Utah. Our ethical side of this stems from faith of religion. For Christians, thou shall not commit adultery. In Matthew 19:5-6 it is stated, “...that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,' and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Bible Gateway, n.d.) Although it doesn't clearly say that polygamy is unlawful in this excerpt, it is implied that God only wants one man married to one woman and vice versa.
Some may say that acceptability is a accurate way of measuring the quality of knowledge, but no one would know. When people are introduced to something they are not used to, they tend to talk negatively about it or dismiss it. Just the other week we had drifted off from the conversation in JROTC and began talking about seaweed. Being that I have lived in Asia before as a military child, I knew that seaweed was good because in Korea it's kind of a midday snack there. Another girl in my class is actually Korean so she knows all about it. But the rest of our classmates were so closed about the idea of eating seaweed by itself. My teacher (SAI) went to his office and brought back a tray of seaweed. Of course they didn't want to try it. They just left it sitting on the table for someone else to eat. This confirmation bias that they've had previously sets the foundation. They are so used to saying that seaweed is nasty that if and when they try it, they are trying to prove themselves right.
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