Religion, science and ideology

When did sociologists believe the rationalization process began?
with the protestant reformation of the 16th C
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Give some positive and negative examples of sciences impact of society
Transport, leisure, medicine, global warming, war, landfill and pollution
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Open belief systems
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Who believes that science is an open belief system?
popper (1959)
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Why does Popper explain this ? (called falsifiable)
Data collected by science is always open to rational scrutiny, criticism, and testing by others
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What is falsification?
When scientists deliberately set out to prove their theories false, whether that be through experiments or observations
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Why does falsification bring people closer to the scientific truth?
Because if evidence contradicts a theory, a new and better theory will get made - so knowledge will grow
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Provide an example of Popper's belief scientific is that not absolutely true and through falsification, a theory can change or be proven to be right
For centuries, it was held truth that the sun revolved around the Sun until Copernicus demonstrated this was false and it was actually the other way round
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Therefore why is science an open belief system
it does not claim to have the sacred and absolute truth
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However, who claims that science is actually a closed belief system?
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Why does Polyani believe this?
because science is no different to other belief systems and rejects fundamental challenges
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What is the other theory that science is an open belief system?
Merton & The Cudos Norms
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What 2 things does Merton (1973) believe that science will only thrive as a major social institution if it has the support off them ?
Support from other institutions and values
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What are the four norms that Merton believes science as an institution needs to increase scientific knowledge?
Communism, universalism, disinterestedness and organized skepticism
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Explain communism as a norm?
science is not private property- scientists must share with the scientific community otherwise knowledge cannot grow
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Why is universalism a norm of science and increases scientific knowledge?
Science is judge by a universal, objective criteria and not be the scientist who produces it
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What is disinterestedness (opposite of what it means really and makes no sense)?
seeking knowledge for their own sake, having to publish their finding making it harder for scientists to practice fraud
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What is organized Skepticism (just what it sounds like )?
no knowledge is sacred, every idea is open to criticism and objective investigation
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However, who published the worlds in a collision that put forward a new theory for the origins of the universe?
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What was the response from the scientific community?
reject his work and boycott Velikosky's publisher
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Therefore, what does this show?
science to be a closed belief system because it rejects criticisms
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Closed belief systems
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What is religious knowledge?
Scared, perfect, special
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What are religious ideas not open to?
criticism, questioning or scepticism
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What is regarded as the absolute truth and why?
religion, because religious organisations claim to hold God's divine authority
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Who are accused of hearsay?
those who challenge the absolute truth of God - historically could be executed or excommunicated
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Thus, what does this mean for religion?
It cannot changed and cannot grow - it is fixed and non-falsibfiable
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Who argues Science is an open belief system but religion is not closed?
Horton (1973)
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Why is this?
because the knowledge within science cannot have 'get-out clauses'
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Where why is religion a closed belief system in terms of when its fundamental beliefs are challenged?
a closed belief system will have a number of 'get-out clauses' that reinforce the belief system and prevents it from being disproved - at least in the eyes of the believers
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Self-Sustaining beliefs
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Who comes up with the 3 devices to sustain themselves in contradictory evidence?
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What are the 3 belief systems?
Circulatory, subsidiary explanations, Denial of Legitimacy to rivals
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Explain the belief system Circulatory to sustain themselves in the face of contradictory evidence
Each idea in the belief system is explained in terms of another, and so on, round and round
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Provide an example of Circulatory
'I know God exists because I have faith'
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Explain how Subsidiary explantions to sustain themselves in the face of contradictory evidence
closed belief systems have a number of 'get-out clauses' they can deflect arguments
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Provide an example of Subsidiary explanations
'God works in mysterious ways'
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Explain denial of legitimacy to rivals to sustain themselves in the face of contradictory evidence
Belief systems reject alternative worldviews by refusing to grant them any legitimacy (validity). Thus, closed belief systems can convince their followers that are the only possible answer
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Provide a rival theory that religion denies
Darwins evolution theory
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Science as a closed belief system
Kuhn (1970) - (historian of science)
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Why does science not always open according to Kuhn? (fancy word)?
Because it works within Paradigms
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What is a Paradigms?
are a shared set of assumptions about the natural world into which all scientists are socialised into believing through their education
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What does Kuhn refer to as normal science?
a successful career in science
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What does Kuhn argue happens when a scientist works outside the paradigm or attempts to challenge it?
they face 'career suicide' - professional mockery
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Thus, what do scientists have to do to be rewarded with things such as grants, Nobel prizes etc?
work within the guidelines of the paradigm
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What are the expectations to this theory Kuhn argues?
When there is 'Paradigm shifts' or 'scientific revolution'
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What is this?
When old ideas are replaced with new - but this could take decades
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Provide an example of a Paradigm shift
Newton's paradigm in physics being replaced by Einstein's
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The sociology of scientific knowledge
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What do Interprevists argue about all knowledge including scientific knowledge?
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What do interpretivists believe becomes institutionalized knowledge and believed to be the objective truth and fact?
In science established theories that are based on people's interpretation of the world
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What do scientists conduct their research within?
These theories and then apply their evidence to these theories
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What do Interprevists argues happens when evidence contradicts a theory?
'Reconstruct their logic', than challege the established theory
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What does Knorr-cetina (1999) claim?
the invention of telescopes, microscopes etc. permits scientists to make new observations and construct or 'fabricate new facts. What scientists study in the lab is highly constructed and far removed from the natural world they are meant to be studying
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Who argues scientists have to persuade the scientific community to accept their interpretations of the world?
Woolgar (1988)
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Why goes Woolgar argue about a scientific fact being socially constructed?
It is a shared constructed belief and not necessarily a real thing out there
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What did researchers at Cambridge astronomy laboratory see on their radio telescope and when?
pattens and labeled them as little green men - 1967
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Why did the researchers settle on the notion that it was a type if star science they currently couldn't explain?
New it was deemed as an unacceptable interpretation
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Marxism, feminism & Postmodernism and science
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Who sees science as serving the interests as the dominant group - men or R/C ?
Marxists and feminists
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Thus, what is certain scientific knowledge ?
Driven by capitalist to make profits
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What does Lyotard (1984) argue about science and religion?
they are metanarratives or 'big stories' that falsely claim to possess the truth
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What has happened in the postmodern world about metanarratives?
people have become disillusioned or skeptical about them
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Thus people have become more disillusioned with science, provide examples
believe that it causes more problems that it solves warming or nuclear weapons
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What is an Ideology?
a system of values and beliefs
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What is the aim of an ideology?
to legitimize the power of certain groups in society
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How does an ideology do this?
by misleading people about the reality of the situation and thus, preventing social change
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Marxism and ideology
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Why do Marxists claim society is divided?
with the bourgeoisie exploiting the proletariat
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Why to the R/C take advantage of this?
to prevent the W/C because it is there best interest to overthrow capitalism
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How do the R/C prevent a revolution?
By producing an ideology to make false class consciousness
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Who refers to the R/C ideological domination of society as hegemony?
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What does Gramsci mean by the phrase 'counter-hegemony'?
He argues that W/C can develop ideas to challenge the R/C hegemony so ut is possible for them to develop class conciseness and overthrow capitalism
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According to Marxists, why is science an ideology?
the majority of discoveries are motivated by generating mass profits - (fueling capitalism further)
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For example, What did Mickalowaski and Kramer's study find in pharmaceutical companies?
pharmaceutical companies produce medicines needed for society but sell their products at only wealthy societies can afford
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However, what is there little evidence of happening?
A communist revolution has not occurred and there is little evidence of a worldwide communist society of ever happening
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Postmodernism and ideology
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What do Postmodernists claim religion and science are?
Meta narratives
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What do postmodernists mean by this in terms of ideology?
they are ideologies that seek to explain the 'truth'
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But, what has happened to the ideology of science and meta-narrative in a postmodern society?
people have lost faith in these 'big stories'
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Why is this in a postmodern society?(individual)
knowledge is relative to an individual and thus, scientific fact and religion are no longer automatically accepted as truth
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What does Baudrillard (2005) claim about the cause of our inability to accept information?
the expansion in the media
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What do the media present us with in terms of images?
images that are meant to reflect reality but do not
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What does Baudrillard mean by the phrase 'hyper-reality'?
we are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not
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Thus, why is science and religion can no longer be trusted?
we are unable to grasp reality from fantasy
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Who claims science falsely claims to find the truth about the world works as a means to progress society?
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Thus, what is society used to do?
a way of thinking to control people
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However, how do Marxists criticize postmodernists?
claim they fail to examine power and inequality
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What do postmodernists ignore the use of the media according to Marxists?
ignores how the R/C use the media as a tool of domination
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What do postmodernists wrongly assume about the truth?
people cannot distinguish between reality and media images
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An ideology and Utopia
Karl Mannheim
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What are the two types of beliefs?
Ideological thought and Utopian thought
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Why is there 2 types of belief systems?
are partial because one sidenessess results from being the viewpoint od a particular group/class and its interests
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What does the Ideological thought attempt to do?
justify traditional and the maintenance of society and thus, resisting change
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Why is this (relates to capitalist ideology)?
because those who control the ideology personally benefit from the current state of society and therefore use ideology to maintain their position of power
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What is Utopian thought?
The style of worldview attempts to promote social change because the current state of the world does not suit those who wish to construct a utopian (better, perfect), belief system (counter-hegemony)
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Why does Mannheim believe why there is conflict in society today?
different intellectuals linked to different groups and classes produce opposed antagonistic ideas that justify the interest and claims of their group against others
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Does Mannheim believe belief systems give the truth?
no only the partial truth
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When was Mannheim's work in ideology was done?
Between World Wars
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Why did this influence his views and thus his research?
time of intense political and social conflict
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However, what it hard to imagine?
That all different political ideologies would synthesises
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Provide an example of why this would be unlikely?
Marxists' ideology about capitalism is unlikely to be synthesized with the NR views
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Feminism and Ideology
Feminists see gender inequality as the fundamental division in society and patriarchal ideology playing a key role in legitimising it
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What type of research does Oakley believe is a good example of science acting as an ideology?
Bowlby's research on material deprivation
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How does Bowlby's research justify inequality?
claims the devolvement of young children was 'damaged' by working mothers
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Thus, how does this ideology strengthen patriarchal views?
reinforces traditional gender roles
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Give 2 examples of how religion acts as an institution to reinforce traditional gender roles
Preventing women from leadership roles within the church, the image of Christian gids being male ( could legit pick anyhting)
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However not all elements of religious belief systems subordinate women, provide 2 examples
in Hinduism many important gods are women which are worshipped, In COE women can now become Bishops
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Functionalism and ideology
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What do functionalists see nationalism as?
a secualr civil religon
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because it integrates individuals into larger socials and political units by making them feel part of something greater than themselves
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What are people in modern secular societies be willing to do but unwilling to do?
unwilling to believe in supernatural beings but may be willing to see themselves as a part of the nation
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What does nationalism do irrespective of their religion or social class?
unite people
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Why is this important within a modern society?
modern societies contain a number of different faiths and religion is a source of division
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for example, Why does education play an important part in creating social solidarity through nationalism?
collective rituals take place such as the flag, national anthem or learning the nations history
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How does Marxists criticise nationalism?
says its an ideology just to benefit the r/c
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Thus, what do functionalism fail to examine>
how ideology can be used as a means to justify equality and the promotion of 'shared values' us merely a clock concealing the interests of R/C
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Give some positive and negative examples of sciences impact of society


Transport, leisure, medicine, global warming, war, landfill and pollution

Card 3


Open belief systems


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Who believes that science is an open belief system?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Why does Popper explain this ? (called falsifiable)


Preview of the front of card 5
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