social sciences vs real sciences

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social sciences vs real sciences

Postby TerraFrost » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:23 pm

i think this is a telling / funny quote comparing them:

The social sciences are also fairly bogus, because they're so much influenced by intellectual fashions. If a physicist met a colleague from 100 years ago, he could teach him some new things; if a psychologist met a colleague from 100 years ago, they'd just get into an ideological argument. Yes, of course, you'll learn something by taking a psychology class. The point is, you'll learn more by taking a class in another department.

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Postby Exalted Ugu » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:06 am

*laughs* Not suprisingly. that was written by someone with a focus on the computer sciences. Actually, if you took a physicist from today back a hundred years, he'd find that much of what he had to teach mainstream science was already known or theorized, but that it had taken a good part of the century to convince scientists of it's validity. (think of Einsten's long efforts to discredit quantum mechanics)

Moreover, he only mentions one social science, psychology, which relates to other social sciences much as medicine relates to biology. Take a doctor back a hundred years, and see what kind of discussion HE has with his ancestral peers. Ideology, like it or not, is a factor in all sciences, at all periods in history.

Now, as for the general dislike of social sciences, much of the blame for that must fall upon two things, (1) the absolute ignorance of the general public when it comes to statistics and the scientific method, and (2) a misunderstanding of the nature of social science itself.
Social science is much like meteorology, it seeks to study a system so complicated it cannot be properly studied. Just as you cannot come up with a pat newtonian formula to predict next month's weather, you cannot predict what a group of people (or even an individual) will do. However, a good grounding in the social sciences may allow you to make limited predictions, as well as understanding WHY things happen.
As to the misunderstanding of statistics and science, this should be obvious to anyone with a decent education, but sadly, few have one. Statistics are complicated, but not overly so, and yet whenever i hear or see statistics presented to people as arguement, i never hear the relevant questions asked. Who gathers them, how were they gathered, no-one asks for depth in statistics, prefering pat and therefore false results. When false results are shown as such, people blame statistics themselves, rather then their own ignorance, and since most of the social sciences have statistics at their heart, people distrust the social sciences.

Sorry for muddle, i'm tired.

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Postby OmegaFrost » Sun Apr 03, 2005 6:22 pm

Good work Ugu :)

I will just take this moment to show that social science has gone a long way over teh past 100 or so years by renacting what a modern and a victorian psychologist would say about the guy Terra quoted.

Modern: "You do not suffer from any mental illness other than ignorance."

Victorian:"You obviously are suffering from aggressive tendencies originating in the phallic stage of your life. You have serious imbalance between your Id and Super Ego, making you unable to stay grounded in reality. Now come sit on my couch and we shall put you under hypnosis to show you how your father tortured you as a young child."

Now if psychology hasnt advanced over the past 100 years than I dont know what has.
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