SCIENCE V. HUMANITIES, ROUND 2
Megan revises and extends her remarks that spawned a delightful blogosphere-wide debate here and elsewhere. She clarifies but defends her previous statements, basically tells anyone who doesn’t like it where to go, and reminds us that she’s merely “a chick typing into a box while she waits for her dinner companion.”
What more could we want?
I find the whole attempt to make a distinction between “scientific” economics and “non-scientific” political science pretty laughable myself. But hey, what do I know?
IMHO the essence of science is empiricism. If you use the scientific method, you’re a scientist. If you don’t, you’re not. This applies whether you’re studying quarks, dollars, political actors, or Shakespeare.
This is what I posted on the comment board where the debate was being held:
I did enjoy Jane’s comment: “Sociology I think is interesting, but 99% of what I’ve read in the field relies on either qualitative observations or surveys, which I don’t regard as rigorous data. People lie, they have poor memories, or they don’t care, and their responses are far too variable.” I agree with such, as surveys are so full of wholes they have no basis or foundation to support any scientific conclusion. Although I have a BA in Poli-Sci, I do not remember it being really scientific, and I did not get a BS but got a BA. Science is based upon quantitative data. While there are trends in social situations that both Poli-Sci and Sociologists can look at, such are only trends, not constants which can be used as foundations for scientific study. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Geology are sciences. Theology, Political Science, Philosophy and Sociology are not Science, but can properly be labeled as behavioral sciences, as there is some evidence upon which theories can be based, but as such behaviors are constantly subject to being modified by unknown forces that appear spontaneously in day-to-day life. Psychiatry is somewhere in the middle, as some of it is based upon knowledge of Biology and some of it is based upon behaviors. Psychology is less so because more of it depends upon behavior than with biology. The study of Economics does have some known constants, has some empirical data upon which some theories can be based. It is similar to Psychiatry in that it uses a great deal of mathematics with some known constants to derive some verifiable conclusions.