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Are the Social Sciences a Pseudoscience

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 458
  • Category: Science

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With globalization booming and with the availability of knowledge which can be accessed easily online, the credibility of the branches of science is getting more blurry by the second. This is further enforced by fact that the practitioners of science themselves is having an internal war with each other. This war is popularly known as the Science Wars—the academic war between the natural and social sciences. In the articles Is Psychology a Science (Lutus, 2009) and Social Science as Theology (Postman, 2005) indicate the widespread believe that social science, despite its name is not real science.

In order to build their points, the writers of these articles defined the term science and they argued that the field of social sciences does not produce conclusive evidence. Results of experiments in the social sciences are not reproducible. Despite proven methodologies in Economics, Political Science and even History, there is no guarantee that two experiments using the same methods will produce the same results. Despite the exhaustive discussion of these articles proving social sciences is not a real science, we can still say these articles are mistaken.

Michael Schermer would say “science…is a verb. It’s a way of thinking about things. It’s a way of looking for natural explanations for [a] phenomena” (TED Conferences, 2006). Science is not all about measuring and weighing, instead it is all about understanding why something happens. By using this definition, then we can say that the two articles by Lutus and Postman are not as scientific as they claim because they only used the parameters unique in the natural sciences to substantiate their claims. As defined by Schermer, science is not a thing.

It does not solely refer to the physical world, but instead, to anything observable in the world. It can refer to relationships, human interaction, social systems and culture. It is about looking for the explanations why these phenomena occur, and why it happens in one way and not the other. The methodologies of social sciences are designed for these. This academic war is still an on-going battle between two disciplines. Both of which are essential in our understanding not only of the physical world but also of the ties that bind the people to each other and to the world we are living in.

The natural sciences have all the right to insist that their methods work because after all, these methods were the ones that brought us our current knowledge about the world. However, it is also appropriate for us to consider what the social sciences have to offer because at the end of the day, both of the disciplines have one goal: to analyze the world and give us not only knowledge but a perspective to understand why things are the way they are.

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