Assess Sociological Explanations of Science and Ideology as Belief Systems (33 Marks)

940 Words4 Pages
A belief system is any set of ideas that a person holds to be true. There are many types of belief systems such as science, religion and political ideologies, like feminism. These belief systems often give meaning to a person’s life and guide their behaviour. These belief systems are constantly conflicting and competing against each other to become the more dominant belief system within society. In recent times, religion has been the most dominant belief system but science has challenged religion which has led to secularisation. Replaced by religion? Many sociologists have argued that both religion and science are ideological. Ideology is a set of ideas or beliefs that support the interests of a dominant group by legitimating their social position. Religious belief systems have been challenged by scientific belief systems which emergenced during the period known as enlightenment. This period had two key principles: the belief that reason could provide an understanding of the world and that this understanding could be used to improve the lives of human beings. These two principles resulted in the procedure for doing scientific research being created. Sociologists such as Frazer, believed that the introduction and grounds of scientific explanations would cause religion to disappear. However, sociologists are divided on whether the impact of science has been positive or negative due to the many achievements science has made such as weapons of mass destruction and the eradication of many fatal diseases through drugs. Science is a very successful and dominant belief system according to Karl Popper; there are two main reasons why science is very successful in explaining and controlling the world. First of all he believes that society is an ‘open’ belief system where every scientist’s theories are open to scrutinising, criticism and testing by others. The
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