Assess the view that science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in society today? (33 marks)
It will be important to assess the view that science has replaced religion as the main ideological influences in society today. The enlightenment project could be seen as the start of the debate between religion and science as the main ideological influence in society today. As moments in the 16th century had lead to the first real questions of religion being asked. As the contribution of natural sciences such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics grew it lead to more doubts about religion. As Da Vinci acts can be seen as an example of this, he had stolen bodies from graveyards and drew the inside of them which was as ethically wrong but beneficial in helping scientist asses the human body. Leading to people questioning the amount religion had done for society.
Therefore showing science has replaced religion as the main influence in society today. As one sociologist Popper argues that science is a open belief system where every scientist’s theory can be falsified, as science can be open to criticism and tested by others. For example if scientist argues water boils at 100 degrees Celsius this can be tested (falsified). However with religion this is impossible as you are unable to test religious ideas on what happens after death. This leads to religion not being falsified and science ruled by the theory of falsification. Thus leading to Popper to believe science has been successful in explaining and controlling the world becoming the main ideological influence in society today. As Kuhn argues Religion consist on too many paradigms, as he believes there should be one dominate paradigm such as Science.
As in religion you have many different religious such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism making it difficult to have one dominate paradigm. While science has one dominate paradigm. As Kuhn accepts that paradigms can change for example it was believed the earth being flat which was the dominate paradigm however had changed. As religion consist of too many, thus for Kuhn science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in society today. Interactionist believe a scientific fact is simply is a social construction, it can’t be seen as a scientific fact because of the case study ‘little green men’.
Researchers from the Cambridge astronomy laboratory annotated the patterns shown their printout from the radio telescope as LGM 1 and LGM2 which being published would have ended their careers. This lead to them believing the patterns was a type of unknown stars bringing internationalist to the conclusion that scientific fact is simply a social construction. Thus science is not replacing religion as both are just social constructions. Beck a late modernist believes that science has lead to a negative impact on society, as science has caused an increase risk in accidents, illness and major disasters like never before. For example of nuclear bombs has lead to the fear of war and a loss of millions of lives.
Giddens similar to Beck believes science has lead to a negative impact on society such as the recession. As advancement in technology has lead to many losses of jobs, particularly in the financial industry which is more capital intensive then before. Thus leading to both Beck and Giddens arguing science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in society today but negatively. However Beck’s views on how were faced with risk of accidents, illness and major disasters on a everyday scale can be seen as over exaggerated. Lyotard a postmodernist believes both science and religions are metanarratives of modern society.
As a metanarrative is a ‘big story’ such as the enlightenment project, Christianity’s view of life. As Lyotard argues that people no longer trust scientist, as science has lead to a chance of nuclear war and fail to cure cancer. Leading to people not accepting science and postmodernist such as Lyotard believing it’s a metanarrative with no absolute truth. However Lyotard’s theory can also be seen as a metanarrative therefore contradicting him-self. Thus Lyotard believes both science and religion is a metanarrative and provides society with no benefits.
George Bush can be seen as Christian fundamentalist being a man of the Old Testament which led to his religion influencing his opinions and polices on certain issues. As being a Christian he believes abortion is the same as murder and single sex marriages are seen as a big sin. This may have lead to policies created to make both of these harder to achieve.
As being a born again Christian while George Bush was the Governor of Texas there were 131 state executions. Thus showing in the United States religion is still the main ideological influence in society today. To conclude it is inconclusive that science can be seen replacing religion as it varies depending on country and can change as more sociological views are brought forward.