Science as a belief system
The key feature of science is its cognitive power: science enables us to explain, predict and control the world.
Science as an open belief system
Popper (1959) claims science is an 'open' belief system, open to criticism and testing.
- Science is based on the principle of of falsificationism. If evidence contradicts a theory, the theory is discarded and a beter one sought.
- However, scientific knowledge is not absolute truth. It can always be tested and potentially falsified.
The CUDOS norms Merton (1973) argues that science as an organised social activity has a set of norms that promote the growth of knowledge by encouraging openness:
- Communism knowledge must be shared with the scientific community.
- Universalism scientific knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria (testing).
- Disinterestedness - seeking knowledge for its own sake.
- Organised Sceptism - every theory is open to criticism and testing.
Evaluation - Some argue that science is a self-sustaining. closed belief systems reject fundamental challenges to their knowledge claims science is no different.
Closed belief systems
Horton (1970) distinguishes between open and closed belief systems. However, religion is a closed belief system: it makes knowledge-claims that cannot be overturned.
- A closed belief system has 'get-out clauses' that prevent it from being disproved in the eyes of its believers.
- Polanyi (1958) argues that belief systems…