There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
The obvious interpretation of ‘a neutral question’ is one where the questioner has no vested interest in the answer. Ie, the questioner will accept the answer which emerges, eschew confirmation bias and refrain from seeking to weight the outcome of an inquiry in favour of preconceived ideas, prejudices or predictions. So, a neutral question is a detached, impersonal, open question, and yes, some people are capable of asking them.
Or least, they would be if there was any such thing as a neutral question. The problem is judging whether a question is neutral or not.
Clearly, the scientific method is predicated on the existence of such questions, but the history of science is riddled with instances where the treatment of answers – ie experimental results – reveals rampant confirmation bias, and suppression of experimental data which threatens a cherished hypothesis, a career-building hypothesis, a triumphant, vindicating hypothesis, a hypothesis which would make sense of the universe and make somebody very famous. Continue reading “TOK essay 2015: Is there any such thing as a neutral question?”