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Ryerson University
SOC 503
Stan Benda

SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012 Mid-term Final Ultimate Questions Modern world is dominated by science and its child which is technology Steve Jobs dealt in technology technology comes from science In the application of technology, steve jobs was talented and as a business man He was a technology guy, using technology right now as am i Technology comes from Science New Kids On the Block social sciences, natural sciences, been around much longer o Social sciences, psychology, economics, political science Sciencesociologists knowledge of the world is attained from research What sociologists try to use is the scientific method Scientific approach cannot answer all questions we have about life Some of the more important questions we have about life/existence Science cannot deal with these issues Science cannot handle ultimate questions Is it possible to lead a meaningful life, full of significance and content Are all ways of life futile Science has no answer Important question 2. Is there an unmoved mover? o Means a first cause of the univers (unmoved mover) o Science cant give us an answer to that 3. What happens to us when we die? o Questions on the soul are specifically reserved for religion and sometimes philiosphy o Religion deals with ultimate questions Science deals with factual questions Factual questions are imperical questions Imperical questions represent evidence and evidence is obtained from using the scientific method Scientific method brings facts to bear on a question When science talks about a first cause of the universe, it can appeal to scientific facts or what appears to be the first cause, the big bang theory (happened 13.7 billion years ago) Big bang in world According to many physicists Stephen Hawkins nothing existed If you know a little bit about philosophy, it is illogical to say something comes from nothing Something must have existed prior to the universe What religion says about that is first cause or God We can work out when big bang took place But when we asked what came before the big bang then you have to employ religion That is why god figures are common in religion and are responsible for creating the universe SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012 Many people get carried away with science that gives us answers virtually to everything Science gives us some answers and can answer some questions where we can gather evidence o We call that empirical evidence Science is based on experience Experience shapes perception, how we see reality, what patterns we see in the world When he talks about experience he is talking about culture by and large Experiences in research Four stages o Stage 1 values determine what problems you investigate. For example if you are in occupied movement, you are going to use conflict theory, and occupy are mostly left wing, and Marxists. They dont like capitalism, they dont like current system of economics, they see captilism as cruel exploitive. So values help shape things you investigate. Conflict theory normally investigages exploitation, general nastiness of place we live in o Stage 2 values lead researchers to for e.g. if you are feminist you are going to take feminist approach investigage feminist o Stage 3 if you are feminist you will be influenced by previous research. o Stage 4 what you gather will help you perceive the world. Absence of objectivity presence of bias. Sociological research is not completely objective, there are subjective elements involved. How does research filter perception Summary on previous slide Values are shapped by subjective inclinations or ooutlooks theories, previous research, methods reality all of these are filters or forms of bias. This is much more objective way of learning about social learning of the world as oppose to common sense everyday opinion. Finally when it comes to experience, every day life, our biases easily influence our everyday observations and leads us to draw incorrect conclusions what sociology does to do is collect data, and tries to reduce bias, but never completely gets rid of it as a matter of fact, the bias can be found in natural sciences we call them sumptions Two types of sociological Studies o There are descriptive types of studies and there are explanatory types of studies o Descriptive 1. Static means a point in time. Photograph freezes reality at a certain point in time. That is what static research does. Static studies are not interested in relationships. However, they can deal with trends, what takes place over a period of time, who doesnt try to explain what causes a trend. Static studies show a snapshot of what something was at a state in time. Infant mortality number of infant deaths per 1000 births example of static study what was the infant mortality rate in Canada 4.92 infants per 1000 births dont make it to 6 months. that is static study. Best predictor of development is infant mortality. Underdeveloped communities have high infant mortality. AnotherSOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012 example of descriptive, static study, number of murders in Toronto in 2009 69. Population in scarborough, 2010, 593, 000 people lived in scarborough. 2. Trend example of trend divorce rate in Canada from 1952 2002 climb from 15% to 50%. Gradually increasing. This is a descriptive trend. It doesnt attempt to tell you why divorce rates increase. It just gives you number many reasons though. One of the reasons is the women movement is that women have more independence, economic independence, and dont need to be married to survive. it is easy to get out of marriage today. At one time divorce was almost impossible to attain came with problems. Difficult to find a balance Explanatory Studies o Try to explain why things happen or try to explain relationships between what we call variables. So for instance, how can we explain university attendance. One of the best explanations is parent income is associated with university attendance. Higher the income of parents, the more likely their children are to attend university. That is explanatory. Parental university and social class of parents is one of the most solid predictors of university attendance by offspring. Another explanatory study, people who live in cities, larger the cities, are more likely to commit suicide than people who live in villages, small towns, or the country side. Infant mortality is related to wealth. Wealthy people, middle class, upper middle class, infant mortality rates are lower more educated, more knowledge, more likely
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