Theories of science

Science seems like an odd topic in an a Unit that is mainly about religion but the Unit is called Beliefs and science is a belief system.

An open belief sysetem

According to Popper, science is an open belief system that is governed by falsification. This means that the aim of science is to constantly try and prove existing theories as false so knowledge improves. This means that in science there is no absolute or sacred truth and everything is open to scrutiny by the scientific community which means there is a possibility forĀ a theory to be proven wrong. What this shows is that scientific knowledge is constantly building up – it’s cumalative. This differs from religion which has a fixed, sacred truth that cannot be challenged.

The CUDOS norms

Merton, a Functionalist, argues that every belief system has a set of norms and values. These are the norms for science:

Communism – scientific knowledge is not private, it must be shared so it can grow.

Universalism – scientific knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria (not influence by age, gender or ethnicity etc)

Disinterestedness – committed to studying science for science’s sake – no vested interest

Organised Sceptism – no knowledge is sacred and everything is open to scrutiny