is a statement with its roots in reality and psychology; it gives a vivid
picture to the person inquiring. If a young child asks why the sky is blue, he
will definitely not understand a deep scientific answer. An explanation needs
to be easy to understand. At the same time, an explanation must rest on truth.
It should refer to reality. A good explanation is one which meets what the
For example, if a priest asks a
robber why he robbed a bank, and the robber said he robbed it because he wanted
money, the robber did not give the priest a good explanation for him. In this
inquiry, the robber is supposed to tell the priest his moral
intentions/thoughts behind the robbery. The explanation that the robber gave
was a scientific one. The robber’s explanation looks more towards the practical
side of the argument, making it scientific. On the other hand, it ignores the
moral and ethical side. There are lots of different types of explanations, but
the most important two are scientific and historical.
Science is just one way of obtaining
human knowledge. The three aims of science are to predict, control and explain.
The biggest one is scientific explanation. Scientific explanations are just propositions.
They are given to capture the best outlook on a matter. However, scientific
explanations can be evaluated and modified. They are valid deductive arguments
whose conclusion is the event to be explained. Scientific explanations are
worked out from laws. For example, there is a law that whenever the Earth is
between the Moon and Sun, an eclipse will occur. Because of that law, any
single eclipse can be explained as an occurrence of that law. The law that
gives that explanations gains more strength if it is shown to be a consistent
Historical explanations explain
events which have already taken place in the world. In more specific terms, they
explain a certain occurrence in the context of history. In some cases, the
explanations can give causes as well. A good method for explaining history is
analyzing history in terms of power. To do this, one has to assess the power of
certain entities, determining the entities’ use of their power, and accounting
for their use of that power. To assess the power of certain entities, deductive
theory needs to be used. Someone’s power depends on what other people can be
expected to do. For determining the use of one’s power, this mostly requires
basic historical accounting. To account for their use of the power, one would
need to use the rational choice theory.
Scientific explanations and
historical explanations can be solved using perception, emotion, and reason.
Just one example of differentiating between the types of explanation is the
mystery of the Stonehenge. Many people have wondered where it came from, and
there are numerous theories about its origin. Theories have been given not only
by historians, but scientists as well. These theories, as expected, harshly
contrast each other. All these theories are based on nothing but perceptions,
reasons and emotions.
Someone’s perception of events is
dependent on the state of mind they are in during that moment of time. It also
depends on the way people are brought up in their life. A person who is given a
certain set of values in their upbringing will have a different perception than
someone who was brought up somewhere else with different values. There have
been numerous theories that relate the existence of the Stonehenge in Britain
to the existence of God and aliens. Some theories even mention that it may have
something to do with wizards. However, there have also been theories which make
a bit more sense, justifying the monument as a cemetery/burial ground, a
laboratory, and more.
Many people think that religion
might not necessarily affect historical and scientific explanations. However,
this is not true. In this specific case, a person that is brought up with
religious and more mythological values would be more inclined to believe in
God. This would obviously lead this person to try to justify that the
Stonehenge is a temple, maybe even a temple of God. On the other side, an atheist
would likely not try to justify the Stonehenge this way, as atheists do not
believe in God and would immediately reject the idea. This would be caused by a
reason or an emotion.
A religious person can definitely
measure out/create a historical explanation. Even though this is true, one of
three methods of historical explanation needs to be used. Historians may
believe in something by using the observations they make from certain piece of
archeological evidence that is discovered. It is emotion, however, that bring
out fear in someone’s heart, and this emotion can definitely alter one’s
perception as well. Again, when someone is brought up religiously, the priests
or higher ups in the temple that they go to would build the element of the fear
of God in his heart. This fear is what leads people to believe that monuments,
such as the Stonehenge, may actually be temples of God that were built by God
to perform certain rituals. This is a though that would almost certainly be
cast aside by either an atheist, a less-religious person, or a more person who
bases his/her opinion more on practical thought. However, as a counterpoint, we
must go back to the definition of an explanation. This explanation may not
necessarily fulfill the question that was asked by the inquirer. Explanations
are relative, and they depend on the reason and perception of the inquirer.