The Contradictions of Atheistic Assumption in the Social Sciences
Created | Updated Oct 22, 2012
Defining Terms of Belief
A Critique of Belief | Neurotheology - is God in our Heads?
The Evolutionary Advantages of Faith | The Biological Basis of Belief
Why do we have Beliefs? | Why are Beliefs held so Dearly? | The Stages of Belief
The Contradictions of Atheistic Assumption in the Social Sciences | Science as Religion
Joining and Leaving a Minority Religion
Why Someone Might Choose Neo-Paganism Over Mainstream Religion
On Medieval Heresy | The Perceived Dichotomy Between Sexuality and Spirituality
Religion as a Tool for Social Control
The term 'Social Sciences', as used in this entry, is defined in slightly different ways by different academic institutions. It usually refers to any academic discipline which deals with the social and cultural aspects of human behaviour. In different institutions it may include or exclude: cultural anthropology, economics, human geography, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, social policy, social psychology, and the grand-daddy of them all - sociology.
These contradictions face those who are not only members of, but also advocates of, the social taxonomy of Atheism. Although at a personal level they may agree with the Social Sciences in disregarding God as a factor in explaining phenomena, there remains an issue with allowing professionals the intellectual indolence and arrogance that an individual may personally indulge to reach the same conclusion.
If the Social Sciences, tacitly or overtly, wish to deny the existence of a higher power, then they should either prove it or accept it as a possible confound.
Many people arrive at Atheism because it is in their nature to question and to demand reasonable and rational answers. Some atheists may find that religion does not address their questions adequately. The conclusion that God does not exist may be haphazardly researched, but it can still be informed. Many people become students of the Social Sciences because it is in their nature to question and demand reasonable and rational answers. Social Science does not prove the non-existence of God1.
A discipline that calls itself a science is misleading in doing so if it does not address the imperative of substantiated proof. Throughout university, students are required to cite studies and research, to analyse statistics and find alternate explanations for phenomena they draw conclusions from and comment upon. Why is the same short leash not demanded of the Social Sciences?
The Social Sciences are in fact doubly hypocritical, on the one hand denouncing the existence of a god without first providing sufficient evidence against the so-called 'God hypothesis', while on the other demanding faith in such a decision instead of admitting it as a weakness of any hypotheses that are produced from it.
'Question Authority' was a witty but thought-provoking 1960s graffiti that is more ironically relevant today as Social Science demands we question everything except our faith in the methodology of the Social Sciences. All other phenomena are observed, measured, accounted for and deemed significant or insignificant. Ideas that fit the 'too-hard basket' are deemed non-existent or dismissed.
All this begs the question why the social scientists feed themselves what they want to hear, but do not encourage, allow and necessitate introspection and criticism.
If the Social Sciences did not intend to arrogantly pat people on their heads and tell them not to worry their pretty little heads about such contradictions they would, at least, explain why God was factored out of Social Science equations. It is poor academic policy, patronising and disenfranchising to ignore such a significant aspect in the hope that it might either go away or remain unnoticed.
In order to address this fundamental contradiction adequately, or even pay lip service to antagonism, the capped and gowned clergy of the Social Sciences could be sensitised in areas of inconsistencies and the consequences of expecting or accepting blind faith.
Although undoubtedly flawed, one thing that sociologists consistently are right about is the positions of the different genders from a religious standpoint. Let us take a neutral stance on this issue as we examine The Perceived Dichotomy between Spirituality and Sexuality.