The Justification Of Science Essay

4897 words - 20 pages

The Justification of Science

What does the average person think when they hear that an idea is supported by science? Often, it makes people assume that this idea must be objectively true, and will necessarily be more right than a theory that doesn’t have the backing of “science.” While in many cases, objective science really does produce better results than mere conjecture, there have also been influential movements in history that were justified by “science,” but which we see today as unjustifiable. These include biometrical methods like phrenology and craniology, the empirical definitions of racial difference in the 19th century, and the “scientifically” racist ideology of the Nazis, ...view middle of the document...

His Essays on Physiognomy, widely read throughout Europe for many decades, gave a newly scientific justification to an idea that had been present in popular thought since ancient Greece. There, Aristotle recorded observing that certain physical traits in people are often linked to distinctive personality traits, and Pythagoras is said to have selected students for his classes based on who “looked” to have potential (Mainwaring 1980). As this concept reached the 18th century, it was given the explanation that God makes a connection between a person’s face and their “inner state.” Therefore, a careful examination of the face would reveal the moral character of the person as it is reflected in their external appearance (Meijer 1999, Schwartz and Miller 1986).

What made Lavater’s work distinctive is that he justified this by collecting volumes of meticulous, empirical observation, and based on those observations, he formed a complete, systematic system of physiognomy. He therefore saw physiognomy not as an art but as a science, with distinct classifications and a scientific method of “careful observation and comparison” that must be followed. John Graham suggests that this scientific methodology could have been part of Lavater’s popularity, since there was an increased interest in biological sciences at the time that Lavater’s method would appeal to. Interestingly, Graham also says that the way Lavater mixes science and religion in his work appealed to people by giving them a way to comfortably reconcile biology with religion (Graham 1979, P. 45). So, it appears that people wanted to be able to have a scientific basis for what they believed, but at the same time, they did not want to give up on the religious thinking that had been so central to previous thought.

Phrenology was similar to physiognomy, but instead of attempting to reveal a person’s nature through their facial features, as physiognomy did, it tried to use the physical qualities of a person’s head to determine innate mental abilities. This “science” was founded by Franz Joseph Gall in around 1800, and was based on the assumption that the brain could be mapped into distinct “organs” that each controlled a specific tendency. Then, the size of each of those “organs,” which could be examined based on the size and placement of bumps on the head, determined the extent to which an individual would exhibit a certain trait. These traits could be of either personality or ability; for example, an enlarged frontal lobe would indicate enhanced language skills, while a “prominence” on a different part of the skull suggested that a person would be extraordinarily friendly (Parssinen 1974, Mainwaring 1980). The functions of the “organs” were determined empirically, when many people were observed to share both a particular trait and a bump on a certain part of the head.

One of the main reasons for the popularity of phrenology was that it attempted to give an objective, reliable way...

Other Essays Like The Justification Of Science

The Origins Of Modern Science Essay

3252 words - 14 pages The origins of modern science date to the seventeenth century, a period so marked by innovative thinking that it has been called the `century of genius.'...Breaking free of the bonds of tradition, these sixteenth-century thinkers developed the scientific method, a means of understanding based on a systematic observation of natural phenomena and experimentation regarding causes and effects (Merriman, 311). The ideas of many scientists, and

Necessity or Murder? Justification of Odysseus’ Slaughter of the Suitors in Book 22

880 words - 4 pages Necessity or Murder? Justification of Odysseus’ Slaughter of the Suitors in Book 22 Since Odysseus left for Troy, his kingdom has fallen into turmoil. A hundred and eight of the most vile, arrogant, and self-absorbed men have been occupying his palace for the past three years of his absence, in hope of marrying his wife, Penelope. These suitors have behaved like pigs during this time, consuming all Odysseus’ food and wine, and

Ethics in the Name of Science

1369 words - 6 pages Ethics in the Name of Science: A detailed Comparison Between Milgram and Zimbardo’s Internationally Renowned Attempts at Ethics in Social Science Experiments David Baxter Park University SO220 Ethical Issues in Social Science Kris Reichart-Anderson 2 October 2011 Abstract For years many experiments have been scrutinized for their ineffective use or lack of establishment of ethical principles within their research. Zimbardo’s Stanford

The Role of Mathematics in Engineering Science

2538 words - 11 pages of materials and structures. Applied mathematics plays a fundamental role in engineering analysis and design. Without calculations engineering science would only be a study of theories without any mathematical proof. According to Albert Einstein, “there is another reason for the high repute of mathematics: it is mathematics that offers the exact natural sciences a certain measure of security which, without mathematics, they could not

Evaluate What Determines the International Success of Hotel Companies and Recommend, with Justification, Which Hotel Company Is the Most Successful in Managing Internationally

2884 words - 12 pages Evaluate what determines the international success of hotel companies and recommend, with justification, which hotel company is (or is likely to be) most successful in managing internationally. According to the press release of Reuters (David, 2009), the latest financial crisis which took place in 2007, is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since 1930s. Due to its characteristic of global impact, almost all of the

On the Road to a Unified Science of Culture

1797 words - 8 pages On the Road to a Unified Science of Culture: Beware potholes Culture has developed far beyond the requirements for survival, such that our forays into art, music and pure mathematics are 'useless' from the biological point of view. In "The Selfish Gene", Dawkins (1987)5 introduced the concept of the meme, analogous to but separate from the gene, to explain this puzzling phenomenon. The resultant field, memetics, has been a recent

Silicon Science: The Job Of A System Analyst

1502 words - 7 pages Silicon Science: The Job of a System AnalystWhat is it like to be on the forefront of technology? New technology is constantly being designed and developed. The people who are responsible for this new technology in the field of computers are most likely system analysts. This paper will attempt to give the reader some insight into the career of a system analyst.People who work as system analysts work as teams and are constantly dealing with some

Sleep Is One of the Richest Topics in Science Today

622 words - 3 pages Sleep is one of the richest topics in science today: why we need it, why it can be hard to get, and how that affects everything from our athletic performance to our income. Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., has looked at the most important question of all. In 2002, he compared death rates among more than 1 million American adults who, as part of a study on cancer prevention, reported

American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, And The Science Of Nationalism

1157 words - 5 pages American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism Works Cited Missing Nancy Ordover argues that current attempts to regulate marginalized social groups are eugenicist movements couched in new language. While "today, the preoccupation with immigrant fertility is couched in concerns over expenditures rather than in classic eugenicist worries over the depletion of the national gene pool" (54), that supposed strain on the

The Science of Customs and Rituals in Hindu Dharma

3901 words - 16 pages THE SCIENCE OF CUSTOMS AND RITUALS IN HINDU DHARMA What is the definition of a Hindu : Aa sindho: sinduparyantham yasya bhaaratha bhoomikaa maathru bhoo: pithru bhoo (punya) schaiva sa vai Hindu iti smruthaa: whomsoever, is considering the land between the sapta sindu ( Indus valley river) upto Indian ocean as the motherland/ fatherland and holy land, is known as Hindu. This land is known as Hindustanam which is defined as

“the Effect of Study Habits on the Academic Performance of Computer Science Students of Usm”

3249 words - 13 pages  “THE EFFECT OF STUDY HABITS ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE STUDENTS OF USM” A research proposal Presented to: Arellano In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Subject By Amina S. Kalamag March, 2013 Table of Contents Chapter Page I. The Problem Introduction 1 Conceptual Framework

Related Papers

Justification Of The Church Essay

1030 words - 5 pages “The Justification of the Church: Religion used to uphold social justifications” The Middle Ages of Europe are generally considered to be from 5th century AD to 16th century AD, lasting roughly a millennium, commonly dated for the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the beginning of the Early Modern Period. In this millennium, many important events have changed Europe, such as the humanism rise of the Renaissance and the Protestant

Foundationalism, Coherentism, And The Justification Of Knowledge

796 words - 4 pages In this short paper I will examine the positions of foundationalism and coherentism, and argue that a form of weak foundationalism is the most satisfactory option as a valid theory of justification for knowledge and is therefore a viable way of avoiding any sort of vicious regress problem and skepticism. Foundationalism addresses the infinite regress problem in the following way: if person O is to be justified in having belief X, X must be

The Science Of Soccer Essay

458 words - 2 pages The Science of SoccerSoccer, the world's most popular sport is played by people of all ages around the globe. Like any other sport, many scientific laws and terms are applied to it.How the game is played Soccer is played by two teams of eleven people on a field a little bit bigger than a football field. The object of the game is to kick the ball into the other teams goal, which is guarded by a goalie.Newton's 3 laws Newton's 3 laws of motion

The Influence Of Science Fiction Essay

1297 words - 6 pages science fiction films of the 1950s were no exception and reveal some of the widespread fears of that era. The 1950s was indeed a decade of contradiction. Americans were both optimistic in the post-war economic times and scared in the shadow of the Cold War and the Atomic Age. Hollywood released many films during this period that reflected society’s paranoia and fears. Their paranoia was perpetuated by their fear of invasion and espionage, the