What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

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What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#1  Postby OrdinaryClay » Oct 24, 2012 8:25 pm

What makes the Social Sciences scientific? It seems the only thing that makes social science a science is the mathematics of statistics and probability.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#2  Postby Clive Durdle » Oct 24, 2012 10:02 pm

Who says they are? I have a social studies degree in Arts.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#3  Postby ramseyoptom » Oct 24, 2012 10:34 pm

Social Scientists want respectability, and this is what they get by using the word science. Mostly it is the equivalent of using seaweed to forecast the weather, just not as accurate. :)
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#4  Postby VazScep » Oct 24, 2012 10:50 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:Who says they are? I have a social studies degree in Arts.
I win. I have a maths degree in Arts.

I then went into computer science, which is an oxymoron worthy of hacker humour.
Here we go again. First, we discover recursion.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#5  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Oct 24, 2012 11:20 pm

Where social science can provide hypothesis, deduce what the necessary implications of that hypothesis would be, then measure or experiment to see if observation matches that, it is science.

So yes, there is plenty of science in social science.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#6  Postby Rumraket » Jun 06, 2017 5:53 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:Where social science can provide hypothesis, deduce what the necessary implications of that hypothesis would be, then measure or experiment to see if observation matches that, it is science.

So yes, there is plenty of science in social science.

Pretty much this.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#7  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Jun 06, 2017 6:23 pm

If they apply the scientific method to their studies, what they're doing is science. They're just applying it to a field outside of science like politics.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#8  Postby Cito di Pense » Jun 06, 2017 7:02 pm

Rumraket wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:Where social science can provide hypothesis, deduce what the necessary implications of that hypothesis would be, then measure or experiment to see if observation matches that, it is science.

So yes, there is plenty of science in social science.

Pretty much this.


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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#9  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Jun 06, 2017 7:11 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:Where social science can provide hypothesis, deduce what the necessary implications of that hypothesis would be, then measure or experiment to see if observation matches that, it is science.

So yes, there is plenty of science in social science.

:this:
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#10  Postby Cito di Pense » Jun 06, 2017 7:22 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:Where social science can provide hypothesis, deduce what the necessary implications of that hypothesis would be, then measure or experiment to see if observation matches that, it is science.

So yes, there is plenty of science in social science.

:this:


Anybody can have an opinion, Thomas. When you support it with some data, then it might become something more. I don't doubt that you'll try, given a little push.

Poverty is correlated with malnutrition in children. Suicide bombers are frequently influenced by Wahhabist Islamic ideology. Who knew? When you can say how it happens, then you'll have some science. In both cases I cite, the hypothesis turns out to be what you can back out of the data.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#11  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Jun 06, 2017 7:38 pm

Anyone can troll Cito. When you actually put some effort into, it might actually become something more. I doubt that you'll try since your other troll posts these past months haven't been particularly sophisticated either.

Also you seem to be unaware that science works exactly as you just described: a theory is derived out of the available data.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#12  Postby VazScep » Jun 06, 2017 8:58 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:Also you seem to be unaware that science works exactly as you just described: a theory is derived out of the available data.
I'll join in by asking for examples.

It's not that I don't believe that there aren't examples. It's just that I think science is more nuanced than this, and the quality of scientific research is to be found in the details, not in a single sentence summary of the slogan "Scientific Method."

I anticipate a semantic quibble over the difference between science and shit science. I don't really care about that quibble, since I don't think scientific aspiration is a good thing if you're doomed to end up with shit, and I've already criticised my own field on this matter.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#13  Postby tuco » Jun 06, 2017 9:10 pm

Quality of scientific research, as in: how precise predictions of a theory are?
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#14  Postby Cito di Pense » Jun 06, 2017 10:13 pm

tuco wrote:Quality of scientific research, as in: how precise predictions of a theory are?


I know it doesn't help much to say that quality research is that which people don't have to keep repeating because they're not sure they got it right the last time. The predictions of climate science are somewhat imprecise, and we know why, but we don't have to keep collecting sea-bottom cores from the same site to get a series of data points for sea-surface temperatures during the Miocene. Instead, we want cores from as many localities as we're willing to pay for. Crappy research is full of confounders that its authors never considered, leaving them for future readers to discover, in effect forcing us to pay twice (or more) for the same data points.

Should we keep collecting data on Miocene sea surface temperatures if our climate models are not going to be improved thereby? Even though the research is of 'high quality'? It costs a lot of shekels to send an RV (research vessels are not recreational vehicles) out to sea. What's preventing our climate models from getting better? Can social scientists help us out?
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#15  Postby tuco » Jun 06, 2017 10:30 pm

Its like asking if astrophysicists can help with digital marketing, in other words cool story bro.

To me it comes down to strength of prediction, for a theory and also science, unless someone will convince me otherwise which is not likely.

Scientific makes social sciences the scientific method, this is definition. What makes them so called soft sciences is weakness of predictions and questionable interpretations.

What is the big question here?
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#16  Postby Rumraket » Jun 13, 2017 8:35 am

tuco wrote:Its like asking if astrophysicists can help with digital marketing, in other words cool story bro.

To me it comes down to strength of prediction, for a theory and also science, unless someone will convince me otherwise which is not likely.

Scientific makes social sciences the scientific method, this is definition. What makes them so called soft sciences is weakness of predictions and questionable interpretations.

What is the big question here?

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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#17  Postby Norsely » Jun 17, 2017 4:10 pm

The social sciences are constantly seeking good ways to measure behaviors and decision making - good design, strong predictive values, reversely engineerable, etc. - since that's what we're talking about here. The last I checked, some of the most interesting attempts toward the lofty goal of normalizing social behaviors into mathematically precise work are being made by people like the Wolfram people, santafe.edu, and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita; rather than playing grab-ass with anecdotal or insufficiently persuasive examples, there's a short list of people and research groups with which to become familiar, and so impress the living bejeezus out of the next social scientist you chat up at a cocktail party.
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#18  Postby Cito di Pense » Jun 18, 2017 6:40 am

Norsely wrote:The social sciences are constantly seeking good ways to measure behaviors and decision making - good design, strong predictive values, reversely engineerable, etc. - since that's what we're talking about here. The last I checked, some of the most interesting attempts toward the lofty goal of normalizing social behaviors into mathematically precise work are being made by people like the Wolfram people, santafe.edu, and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita; rather than playing grab-ass with anecdotal or insufficiently persuasive examples, there's a short list of people and research groups with which to become familiar, and so impress the living bejeezus out of the next social scientist you chat up at a cocktail party.


That's the dilemma of the social sciences: Drawing conclusions that are general enough to be considered 'scientific', one finds that the conclusions don't apply to anyone in particular. When you try to point out who in particular is described, you have to listen to stories about exceptional cases, until you find out that everyone's a special snowflake. But you already knew that, didn't you?
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#19  Postby scott1328 » Jun 19, 2017 5:58 pm

Same problem with Boyle's Law. And we all know how useless that is.

:roll:
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Re: What makes the Social Sciences scientific?

#20  Postby Peavey » Aug 18, 2018 3:37 am

Wishful thinking. I say this as someone who majored in history and sociology. :lol:
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