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Sociology 2259 Chapter Notes -Avail, World Psychiatric Association, Conduct Disorder


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2259
Professor
Kim Luton

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Sociology Notes
CHAPTER 9- SCIENTIFIC BELIEF SYSTEMS
Religion Compared to Science
-despite proclaiming truths, religious and scientific belief systems are subjective, as
they both emerge through processes of social construction
-two different relationships between deviance and science- science as deviance
(when deviance occurs within science) and science as a social typer of deviance
(when science tells us what is or should be considered deviant)
-science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths of the operation
of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
-therefore, science consists of both scientific belief systems (proclaimed truths) and
technologies (techniques and methods used to obtain that knowledge)
-first, there are claims about the nature of reality- the way the world works
-secondly, there are ethical and moral claims embedded in the scientific belief system
-the technology known as the scientific method is broadly shared among sciences, but
specific techniques and methods are also used within each sub-discipline of science,
such as in physics and genetics
Science as Deviance
-scientists may be socially typed as deviant when they engage in scientific misconduct
or violate ethical guidelines; this is deviance in science
-secondly, scientists may be considered deviant when they are part of a discipline that
is not recognized by the scientific community as being real science; this can be called
deviant science
Deviance in Science
Forms of Deviant Science
-19th century physicist Charles Babbage identified several forms of behaviour that are
considered deviant in the scientific community
-1.) forging, which refers to scientists who falsify their data, reporting observations that
never really occurred
-forging is similar to the second form of deviance in science:

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-2.) hoaxes, except hoaxes are distinct in that it is expected they will be discovered or
they are intended to be similar to practical jokes
-i.e. --> Piltdown Man hoax in 1912- partial skull and jawbone of an unknown form of
early stone-age human were actually taken from separate species, put together, and
treated with a chemical to make them look older
-Clonaid--> contacted the media claiming they had successfully cloned a human being;
however, the rest of the scientific community declared this to be a hoax and the Clonaid
scientists have refused to come forward to offer evidence of their cloning success
-3.) trimming, which means manipulating real observations so that they will support a
theory in questions
-4.) cooking; selectively reporting only that data that supports a theory in question and
suppressing or ignoring remaining data
-Judson (2004) describes fabrication, which is equivalent to forging and hoaxes, and
falsification, which includes trimming, cooking, combining two experiments into one set
of results
-some scholars mention ethical violations as another form of scientific deviance
-the Hippocratic oath: doctors vow to balance the protection of their patients with the
pursuit of science and the practice of the art of medicine
-all scientific disciplines governed by codes of ethics and are subject to the Research
Ethic Boards of their institution
-scientific misconduct can be used as the umbrella term to refer to fabrication, falsifi-
cation, breaches of ethics, plagiarism, and any other scientific practices deemed unac-
ceptable or inappropriate
-concerns about the extent of scientific misconduct intensified in the late 1970’s, partial-
ly due to the 1974 Patchwork Mouse incident
-this incident involved a researcher who claimed to have grafted skin from a black
mouse onto a white mouse, but had actually drawn patches on the white mouse using a
black marker
-social sciences also face these issues of misconduct
-several of the twin studies and adoption studies from the 1970’s and 1980’s that
claimed genetic determinants to various psychological and behavioural characteristics
(i.e. criminality, personality traits) have since been called into question, and accusations
of scientific misconduct made

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-however, misconduct continues to be associated primarily with the hard sciences, es-
pecially biomedical research, because it is more likely to be looked for and detected (es-
pecially if these experiments are heavily funded and have a lot of media coverage)
-The U.S. Office for Research Integrity reports that “the financial cost of gross miscon-
duct in the biomedical fields has been estimated to be as high as $1 million per case”
-any type of scientific misconduct can be combined with yet another type- junk science
-junk science refers to the ungrounded claims of people with little or no scientific back-
ground or people using their scientific credentials alone to try and to convince people of
the validity of their claims
Laura Schlessinger & John Gray
-popular author and radio show host Laura Schlessinger does have a doctorate, howev-
er, her PhD is in physiology and is not associated with the relationship advice she gives
in her syndicated radio show and books
-40% of adult New Yorkers were certain that she was either a psychologist or a psychi-
atrist and only 30% were quite sure she was neither
-her advice is not supported by scientific research; in fact, it frequently contradicts the
findings of science
-critics say she uses her spurious scientific credentials as a validation of the religious
belief system that she promotes in her radio show and books
-all of her behaviours are violations of the ethical codes that govern the work of psy-
chologists
-these include respect for the dignity of persons, responsibly caring, non-discrimination,
and a responsibility to maintain currency with psychological research (e.g. Canadian
Psychological Association, 2000)
-label of “junk science” has also been applied to John Gray, author of Men Are from
Mars, Women Are from Venus
-his background is theological, and he spent many years as a monk
-his doctorate is from Columbia Pacific University, a non-accredited university that of-
fers doctoral degrees via correspondence courses in extremely short periods of time,
and has since been shut down
-despite his non-accredited doctoral credentials, he has become an accepted member
of the psychological and counseling communities and currently sits on various interna-
tional boards involved with marriage and family therapy
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