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Only by challenging existing knowledge, we are able to expand our thinking about the universe

impatient101 8 / 17 3  
Oct 10, 2017   #1


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.

"Question authority. Only by questioning accepted wisdom can we advance our understanding of the world."

The author claims that only by challenging existing knowledge, we are able to expand our thinking about the universe. While questioning authority can sometimes lead to more problems in overly sensitive issues and societies, I agree that for the overall development and expansion of knowledge, it is critical as human beings to not become slavish and blindly follow accepted dogma and conventions. Instead, we should have the courage to challenge preconceived notions and ideas as questioning authority can attribute to growth and broadening our horizon.

Living in a democratic society means we have the right to think freely. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to voice our opinions against the government if that means getting justice or even if that can lead to formation of better laws and regulations. Although, in a democracy, we choose representatives, it is not necessary that we have to agree with all the policies formed. In such situation, we can challenge the people in higher power to focus their energy and resources on more pressing issues which they might not be even aware of. For example, in the light of the recent hurricane that has caused great devastation in Puerto Rico, many people have questioned the efficacy of government in the rescue effort of the areas suffering from this disaster. Due to this scrutiny faced by the government, the rescue process has gained momentum and support is pouring from other sources too. Therefore, speaking out against any actions we feel is not fair can result the responsible leaders to act better.

Furthermore, various remarkable contributions have been made in the field of science and technology by people who were not afraid to think outside the box. Even when it was considered unorthodox and heresy, Galileo devoted himself in finding the alternate truth about the nature of the universe. He claimed that the sun was the center of the universe, disproving the geocentric theory , which was prominently held as the only reality by the Roman Catholic Church at that time. His discovery was a milestone in the field of scientific discovery. It would not have been possible if he had not questioned the accepted reality of the universe at that time. Such a contribution in Science could only be made because Galileo was willing to challenge accepted ideas and beliefs. His findings completely revolutionized our perception of the cosmos.

Opponents of the given argument may argue that authority should never be questioned and accepting conventional knowledge and wisdom is the only way to live without any conflict. Although being in compliance with authority may not cause real conflict, it certainly gives much power to the people who are in the authoritative position. It is not that people should resort to violent means when they oppose to something they don't prefer. Mahatma Gandhi is the perfect example of a man to challenge the British rule in India by his non-violent protests. He was able to successfully gain independence for India. This proves that even peaceful form of questioning can go a very long way towards the path of progress and prosperity.

To sum up, I agree that for the well being of people in any society, it is essential to question and challenge authority constantly. Indeed, challenging the status quo can lead to formulation and implementation of better democratic and legal norms. In addition, many profound discoveries have been possible only because people challenged accepted dogma. Moreover, peaceful form of defiance can be very powerful too.

Holt - / 7,528 2001  
Oct 10, 2017   #2
Since not all countries live under a democratic form of government, it would perhaps be best if you avoid making any political references in similarly themed GRE discussions. As your writing proves, one can create a strong discussion without referring to certain topics that might be explosive or not totally applicable across the world. Using general references makes the discussion more free flowing and removes the question of "how" in situations where the discussion you are presenting might not be applicable. Your concluding paragraph feels forced. It does not sound like it should have ended where it did. I feel like you need to add a more final sentence at the end that tells the reader "My discussion is finished". At the moment, it feels like you need to add another sentence along the lines of;

These reasons and evidences all prove that only by questioning authority can we develop a better understanding of our world in the context by which we live in it.

Overall, good work on the essay. You were able to consider the possible counter arguments to your own and you came back with strong evidence to refute the possible claims the other side would be making. Although there are 2 problem points in the presentation as far as I can tell, the essay is still well developed and presented to the reader.

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