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Science As A Belief System
Science has had an enormous impact on society
Its achievements in medicine have eradicated many diseases
Many features of daily life are due to science
This has lead to a widespread belief that science can `deliver the goods'
However, this faith can be somewhat dimmed with the recognition that
science can cause problems…read more

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Open Belief System
Popper: Scientific theories are governed by the principle of falsification.
Science builds on cumulative knowledge which gives us a better
understanding of the world. No knowledge is regarded as sacred so is
therefore, open to scrutiny
No theory is ever taken as true ­ it can always been questioned
For centuries, it was held true that the sun revolved around the earth until
Copernicus proved it false…read more

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The CUDOS Norms: Merton
Science can only thrive as a major if it has the support from other institution
and values
Communism: Scientific knowledge is not private property, it must be shared
with the community
Universalism: The truth or falsity of scientific knowledge is judge by a
universal, objective criteria
Disinterestedness: Being committed to discovering knowledge for its own
sake. Having to publish findings make it difficult to practise fraud.
Organised scepticism: No knowledge claim is regarded as `sacred', every
idea is open to questioning, criticism and objective investigation…read more

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Closed Belief Systems
Religion claims to have special, perfect knowledge of the absolute truth
Knowledge is seen as sacred and cannot be challenged
Horton: Distinguishes between open and closed belief system. Religion makes
claims which cannot be overturned or challenged. Whenever a fundamental
belief is challenge, they offer a `get-out clauses'.…read more

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Witchcraft Among The Azande: Evans-
Pritchards
Azande believe natural events have natural causes but they don't believe in
coincidence or chance
When misfortune falls, they blame it on witchcraft
They will administer a potion (benge) to a chicken, asking the benge whether
the accused is the source o the witchcraft and telling it to kill the chicken if
the answer is yes
This belief system is highly resistant to challenge…read more

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