Assess Sociological Explanations of Science and Ideology as Belief Systems

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Sociologists argue that science and ideology can both be belief systems. A "belief system" is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these. In the 18th century was the era of the enlightenment. People started to think and question was there more than just a God and that’s where science was introduced. People started to use rational ways of thinking to explain things that happened. Science has been used to develop different parts in society such as medicine and technology that we use in everyday life. But it has also caused problems such as pollution and global warming. Science has cognitive power, it can allow us to explain, predict and control the world. The first argument made about science and ideology as belief systems came from Karl Popper. Popper believed that science is an “open belief system” in which scientist’s theories are criticised and are open to testing by other scientists. He further states science is regulated by the principle of falsificationsim. This principle declares that in order for a hypothesis to be scientific, a basic requirement is that it is falsifiable. If it cannot be refuted, it is not a scientific claim. According to Popper, by discarding falsified knowledge claims, it allows the scientific understanding of the world to grow as scientific knowledge is cumulative; it enables scientists to build on the achievements of previous scientists that will develop a greater understanding of the world. However, even though previous achievements of scientists have been approved by the scientific community, there is always another scientist who will disprove previous theories e.g. the Catholic Church led people to believe that the Sun revolved around the Earth until Copernicus disproved this. Merton believes that science can only
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