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How does the social context effect the questions and results of the scientific enterprise?

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Introduction

How does the social context effect the questions and results of the scientific enterprise? Social context has quite a significant effect on the questions and results of the scientific enterprise. This is because scientific research has always been largely affected by society, as it is society that often controls what is researched in science. A lot of what is researched depends on what people want to know, and what they believe in. There have often been restraints on what is researched due to social factors such as religion, government, and even the general public. One factor that has always had a large effect on the questions and results of the scientific enterprise is religion. Throughout history, there has always been an ongoing conflict between religion and science. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, for example, came into direct conflict with several religions, namely those of Christianity and Islam. This was, of course, because of the challenge Darwin's theory of evolution proposed to the Creation stories in both religions. Scientists tend to disagree with the Tower of Babel story in the Biblical book of Genesis that describes precisely how humanity abandoned a single language and separated into many different cultures, consisting of various languages - this disagreement has, in the past, angered the conservative wing of Christianity. ...read more.

Middle

This way, the dictatorship in question can maintain its authority over the public. Even non-dictatorial governments have a significant effect on scientific research. The government's permission is usually required when carrying out and publicizing the scientific research that is currently taking place. The government often bans research that it feels can harm the public or is too 'revolutionary'. There are also frequent requests to scientists regarding their research when it comes to technological issues and warfare. The militaristic side of the government will make special requests to researchers regarding the building of weapons of combat, such as nuclear bombs. Pharmaceutical companies do much of their scientific research on their own, and that too for the benefit of the company. Such companies are continuously doing their own medical research in order to enable themselves to issue a successful drug or medicine. Their main goal is naturally to make money, and in order to do so they have to issue a successful drug, for which endless hours of research is required. Medical research, for that matter, influences much of the scientific research that goes on today. Of course all the motives behind such research are not economical, but also humanitarian. ...read more.

Conclusion

Producers are aware of society's hunger for technology, and therefore invest a large sum of their money in technological research to lure consumers into purchasing their products. In conclusion, social context largely affects the questions and results of the scientific enterprise. The questions are mostly based on what people think are important, what the government thinks is important, including situations of urgency such as disease and war. Religion has an important relationship with science because of the overlapping beliefs involved. Many people prefer to know only what they believe in, and therefore societies centered on religion may not be so interested in research that collides with their own beliefs. It is most often ultimately the people themselves who decide what questions are asked and what sort of research is carried out by the scientific enterprise. They can do so both directly, by clearly stating what research they would like to see carried out, or indirectly, such as sending signals to producers about what sort of technology interests them. Social context is, therefore, essential when concerning the questions and results of the scientific enterprise. It is society that is affected by the research that is carried out at the end of the day, and therefore social context is an element of research that simply cannot be overlooked. Sabrina Siddiqui Theory of Knowledge May 12, 2003 1232 words ...read more.

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