Topic 7:Ideology and science

  • Created by: sara..
  • Created on: 22-04-19 13:59

Science as a belief system

The impact of science

  • society have faith in science because it has helped us to protect ourself against natural dangers such as diseases and famine by creating medicine to help us fight them
  • science and technology have revolutionised economic productivity and raised out standards of living
  • society's faith in science has start to fail because it causes problems like pollution and global warming and weapons of mass destruction
  • cognitive power of science means science enables us to explain, predict and control the world in a way that non-scientific or pre-scientific belief systems cannot do

Open belief systems

  • Popper says that science is a open belief system because every scientists theories are open for scrutiny, criticism and testing by others everyone can judge the theory or findings
  • the principle of falsificationism means scientists set out to try and falsify existing theories deliberately seeking evidence to disprove the theory
  • science is culmulative which means it builds on the achievements of previous scientists to develop a greater understanding of the world around us
  • Popper points out that scientific knowledge is prevented from being sacred or absolute truth because someone can always disprove the theory as it can be questioned, tested, criticised and perhaps shown to be false

The CUDOS norms

  • Merton says that the Protestant reformation was the first who supported scientific thinking as he says science can only thrive as a major social institution if it recieves support from other institutions and values
  • CUDOS norms that makes scientists act in ways that serve the goal of increasing scientific knowledge:
  • communism - scientific knowledge is not private property, scientists must share it with the scientific community otherwise knowledge can't grow
  • universalism - the truth or falsity of scientific knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria and not by the particular race, sex etc of the scientist who produced it
  • disinterestedness - being committed to discovering knowledge for its own sake. Having to publish findings makes it harder for scientists to practise fraud, since it enables others to check their claims
  • organised scepticism - no knowledge or claim is regarded as 'sacred' every idea is open for questioning anf investigation

Closed belief systems

  • religion is a closed belief system because religion claims to have special, perfect knowledge of the absolute truth
  • its knowledege is literally sacred and religious organisations claim to hold it on God's divine authority, this means it cannot be challanged those who do try to challange the truth may be punished
  • what prevents a closed belief system from being disproved is because when their fundemental beliefs are threatened, closed belief systems has a number of devices or 'get out clauses' that reinforce and prevent it from being disproved
  • these devices varies from one belief system to another an example is witchcraft beliefs

Witchcraft among the Azande

  • Azande explain misfortune in terms of witchcraft such as a jealous neighbour is practising witchcraft against them
  • they believe natural events have natural causes meaning they do not believe in coincidence or chance
  • Azande deal with an suspected witch by consulting the prince's magic poison oracle. Here, the prince's diviner will adminster a potion to a chicken, at the same time asking the benge whether the accused is the source of witchcraft and telling it to kill the chicken if the


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Religion and beliefs resources »