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lecture two

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Reza Barmaki

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SOC307- Lecture #2: Scientific Approach to the World
Wednesday, July-07-10
Criminology is a branch of sociology:
the scientific approach to the study of deviance
Science: methodical rule bound observations, data collection, hypothesis testing,
formulating theory, measurement, comparison, prediction
Examples are biology, physics and chemistry
Where do you learn all this? University
What are other approaches? How is a scientific approach different from them?
Pre-scientific and unscientific approaches (religious)
-premises of all religions
-there are supernatural forces (beyond ordinary human powers such as
demons, gods, angels, spirits )
-control/intervene natural and social worlds
-this can be direct or indirect (through humans or animals)
-some for good some for bad (evil)
-an example would be during an earthquake, people would be blamed for
upsetting god and thats why the world shook
-Good Forces
Preserve: harmony, order, normality, happiness, enlightenment, peace of
mind, salvation
-Evil Forces
Destroy all that (disorder, chaos, unhappiness, darkness, disharmony,
-Brings about punishment
Different types of Religion

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Polytheism: many gods/goddesses such as in ancient Greece and Rome
Monotheism: one god (omnipotent, omnipresent God) such as Judaism, Christianity,
The BAD guy is usually the devil or Satan
-Religious explanation of crime says these forces make you do good or bad
things, to break the law or to obey it
-The original sin where Adam and eve eat the fruit in Christianity. Satan in
the form of a serpent deceives Eve so that Eve deceives Adam and touches
the tree and both were expelled from Heaven.
-The first murder: Cain kills Abel workings of Satan (supernatural powers
Why humans commit evil acts (crime)?
1. Influenced by evil forces
2. Their own nature (wicked and sinful && weak and easily tempted)
-These observations and explanations are not testable therefore not scientific
Punishments: eternal damnation in Hell, ex-communication, burning at the stake,
suffering and physical pain and torture
Middle Ages Europe (Christianity)
-Possessed/influenced by witches/demons (Satan)
-Other direct/indirect ways (Satan)
-Punishments: burning at the stake
-Demonologists (are usually priests) systematized/explained these practices
-This is how crime was explained in the middle ages
-The people who came up with these ideas and organized the knowledge such
as how do you know if someone is possessed or not were usually clergy
members because they are the educated class
-Some people claim they can communicate with God
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