Assess the view that science, religion and ideology are different types of belief systems.

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Assess the view science, religion and Ideology are different types of belief systems.

Beliefs are a set of ideas of which people place faith into and celebrate as a mass, or follow as a guideline. They are things that we hold to be true, and that explain the world around us. However, there is an ongoing debate between scientology and religion, as both can explain the world around us, however, some with empirical evidence and others without. These belief systems cause conflict with one another, as they compete against one another in a search for the truth. There is a debate amongst Sociologists as to which is more accurate or more truthful.

Sir Karl Popper (1959) argues science is an open belief system where every scientist’s theories are open to scrutiny, criticism and testing by others, as well as the concept that science is based off of the principle of falsification. Scientists set out to try and falsify existing theories, deliberately seeking evidence that would disprove them. If the evidence from an experiment or observation contradicts a theory and shows it to be false, the theory can be discarded and the search for a better explanation can begin. Popper argues discarding falsified knowledge claims is what enables scientific understanding of the world to grow. Scientific knowledge is cumulative – it builds on the achievements of previous scientists to build greater understanding of the world around us. However despite achievements of scientists no theory is taken as definitely true; there’s always the possibility of someone disproving it. For example it was previously believed the sun revolved around the earth till disproved by Copernicus who showed this knowledge claim to be false. Popper argues the key thing about scientific knowledge is that it’s not a sacred or absolute truth; it can be always questioned, tested and perhaps shown to be false. However, functionalists disagree with such findings, for example, Merton.

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Robert K Merton (1973) argues that science can only thrive as a social institution if it receives support from other institutions and values. He argues this first occurred in England with the protestant reformation and especially development of puritan beliefs. Merton argues science is an institution that needs an ethos; a set of norms that make scientists act in ways that serve to goal of increasing scientific knowledge. He identifies four such norms called CUDOS – Communism; scientific knowledge is not private property. Scientists must share it with the scientific community (by publishing findings), otherwise science cannot grow. Universalism; ...

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