Science and Ideology- Religion and Beliefs

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 15-11-15 17:09
What is a belief system and examples religiously and scientifically?
A belief system makes claims about what the world is like, -E.g. religions are major belief systems that tell us about the world and how we should act in it and scientific systems claim to tell us the facts about how things are,
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What do many sociologists see modern science as a product of?
The process of rationalisation that began with the Protestant reformation in the 16th Century,
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How do some sociologists, such as what kind, argue that it has undermined religion?
-Secularisation theorists, -They argue it has undermined religion by changing the way we think and how we see the world,
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How is science as a belief system different to other belief systems?
It enables us to explain, predict and control the way the world in a way that non-scientific system cannot,
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What sociologist argues science is an 'open' belief system and what does this mean?
-Karl Popper, -Where every scientist's theories are open to scrutiny, criticism and testing by others,
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Why does Popper argue scientists try to disprove theories?
In order to allow scientific understanding to grow,
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What does Popper argue is key things about scientific knowledge?
Is that its not sacred or absolute truth- It can always be questioned, criticised and sometimes shown to be false,
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What sociologist argued what about science and norms?
-Merton, -Science has norms which scientists follow in order to increase scientific knowledge.
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What does Merton suggest are the four norms?
-Communism, -Universalism, -Disinterestedness, -Organised sceptism, (CUDO)
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How does the first Communism norm increase scientific knowledge?
Scientists share their knowledge and allow it to grow,
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How does the second Universalism norm increase scientific knowledge?
Knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria and not by the particular race, sex etc. of the scientist who produces it,
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How does the third disinterestedness norms increase scientific knowledge?
This means being committed to discovering knowledge for its own sake. Publishing findings means that others can check their claims,
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How does the fourth organised sceptism norm increase scientific knowledge?
Every idea is open to questionning,
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Why is religion a closed belief system?
In comparison to scientific knowledge, religion claims to have perfect knowledge of the absolute truth,
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Can religious beliefs be challenged and what can happen to those who do?
Unlike scientific knowledge it cannot be challenged- and those who do so may be punished for their heresy,
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However, what sociologist argues science can be seen as a closed system and why? An example?
-Polanyi, -He argues that all belief systems reject challenges to their claims- science is no different e.g. The Case of Dr Veliovsky
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In addition, what does what sociologist argue about evidence against scientists?
Lynch argues that scientists disregard evidence that goes against their thories. Little attempt to falsify hypotheses ever occur- they use evidence to confirm theories instead,
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In support, what does what sociologist argue about science being a set of beliefs and it therefore being a closed belief system?
-Khun, -Science takes place within a paradigm (a set of beliefs). This means that science is not objective as these assumptions influence the questions you ask, the way you interpret evidence.
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How do interpretivists see science and why?
They see it as a social construction. -Science, rather than being objective truth, is created by social groups using the resources available to them,
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What support foes Knorr-Cetina provide to support Interpretivist's arguments that science is a social construction?
The invention of instruments such as microscopes, permits scientists to 'fabricate' new facts. She points out what scientists study in the laboratory is highly constructed and far removed from the natural world,
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For the argument for science as an ideology, what two theories see scientific knowledge as far from the pure truth and why?
-Marxists and Feminists, -Instead, they regard it as serving the interests of dominat groups- the ruling class in the case of Marxists, and men in the case of feminists,
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What do Marxists say to criticise scientific knowledge?
They argue many advances in supposedly 'pure' science have been driven by the needs of capitalism for certain types of knowledge,
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What do feminists say to criticise scientific knowledge?
Feminists claim biological ideas have been used to justify both male domination and colonial expansion. In this respect, science can be seen as a form of ideology,
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Do postmodernists reject or accept claims science have "the truth"?
They reject claims,
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How does what postmodernist sociologist view science?
-Lyotard, -He views science as a meta-narrative or big story that falsely claims to possess the truth about how the world works as a means of progress to a better society.
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in reality, how does Lyotard see the purpose of science?
He argues it is just one more 'discourse' or way of thinking that is used to dominate people,
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Like Marxists, what do some postmodernists argue in relation to capitalism?
They argue some science has become 'tehcnoscience', simply serving capitalist interests by producing commodities for profits,
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How do postmodernists view scientific thought and why?
They reject the idea that scientific thought exists, -This is because all knowledge is uncertain. No scientific theory can claim truth because all knowledge is open to doubt.
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Therefore, what narratives do Postmodernists reject and instead argue?
They reject meta-narratives and argue instead that we should recognise and tolerate competing explanations of natural and social events,
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What is the definition of an ideology?
A worldwide or set of ideas and values so a belief system,
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However, in sociology, does it have negative aspects?
Yes, such as the ideas being distorted, false or mistaken about the world as well as being partial, one-sided or biased view of reality,
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What main conflict theory sees religion/ beliefs as an ideology?
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How do Marxists see society and relations between the ruling and working classes in general?
They see society as divided into two opposed classed: a minority capitalist ruling class who own the means of production and control the state, and a majority working class who are 'propertyless' and therefore forced to sell their labours,
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What do Marxists argue the ruling class controlling other than material means of production?
The means of production of ideas through institutions such as education, the mass media and religion,
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What ideology do the ruling class produce and what does this mean?
-Ruling class ideology, -Ideas that legitimate or justify status quo (the existing set up).
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Give some examples of ideas and beliefs ruling class ideology includes?
-Equality will never work because it goes against 'human nature', -Nationalist ideas that workers and capitalists of one nation have more in common than do the workers of the world,
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What does the ruling class ideology function to do?
It functions to prevent change by creating a false class consciousness
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Despite these ideological barriers, what does Marx believe?
They believe that ultimately the working class will develop a true class consciousness and unite to overthrow capitalism,
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However, what do some critics suggest to criticise Marxist theories about dominant ideology?
Some critics argue that it is not the existence of a dominant ideology that it keeps workers in line and prevents attempts to overthrow capitalism,
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What does what sociologist argue to criticise Marxist theories?
Abercrombie et al argue that it is economic factor such as the fear of unemployment that keeps workers rom rebelling,
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What sociologist provides links between ideology and utopia?
Karl Mannheim,
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How does Mannheim see all belief systems and why?
AS a partial or one-sided worldview. Their one-sidedness results from being the viewpoint of one particular group or class.
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What two broad types of belief systems does Mannheim distinguish between?
-Ideological thought, -Utopian thought
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For ideological thought, what do they justify?
Keeping things as they are,
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Who does ideological thought reflect the positions and interests of who and why?
Privileged groups such as the capitalist class. Because the capitalist class benefit from maintaining the status quo, their belief system tend to be conservative,
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For Utopian thought, what do they justify?
Social change
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Who does Utopian thought reflect the position and interests of and why?
-The underprivileged such as the working class, -They offer a vision of how society could be organised differently. They are disadvantaged by the status quo and may favour radical change to a classless society,
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What does Mannheim believe is a source of conflict in society?
The belief system of each class or group only gives us a partial truth about the world,
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However, due to the time period Karl Mannheim's work was based on and how may this have affected his views?
-During the two world wars, -This was a time of intense political and social conflict and this influenced his views,
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What is the other conflict theory that sees religion/beliefs as an ideology?
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How do feminists see society and the ideology in it?
Feminists see gender inequality as the fundamental division within society and see patriarchal ideology as playing a key role in legitimating it,
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Give an example sociologist who argues gender inequality occurs through scientific facts?
-Marks, -He describes ideas about science have been used to justify excluding women from education e.g. higher education would, it was claimed, result in women being unable to suckle infants,
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Give examples in religion of patriarchal ideology?
The idea that women are ritually impure or unclean, particularly because of childbirth or menstruation,
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However, why do critics criticise feminism and ideology arguments and an example?
They argue that not all elements of religious belief systems subordinate women. Eg. Hinduism, goddesses have often been portrayed as mothers or creators of the unverse,
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For critical points about ideology in general, what argument would all religions strongly reject and an exaple?
The argument that their teaching is ideological- Christianity would argue that they preach the word of God, rather than those of powerful groups,
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Also to emphasise this, what do religious people also point out that they help all rather than serve a few?
They point out all the positive action they have undertaken for the good of humanity. Christian aid is a faith based organisation that helps in all kinds of crises, suggesting that religion helps all rather than serves a select few
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What do many sociologists see modern science as a product of?


The process of rationalisation that began with the Protestant reformation in the 16th Century,

Card 3


How do some sociologists, such as what kind, argue that it has undermined religion?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How is science as a belief system different to other belief systems?


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Card 5


What sociologist argues science is an 'open' belief system and what does this mean?


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