Chapter 17 science , the environment and societyPresentation Transcript
Science , the EnvironmentChapter 17: And Society
Science and Society• Sociologists of science look at the interactions between science and society.
Science and Society • Normative science is the idea that science follows objective rules of evidence and is unaffected by the personal beliefs or values of scientists. • In practice, however, social factors like funding, government policies, interest groups, and international pressure or competition can affect choices about what scientific research is pursued.
Science and Society• Boundary work refers to research conducted on the border between legitimate and non- legitimate science, either within a specific scientific discipline or between disciplines.
A genetic researcher is saying that Bigfoot DNA tests prove that thehairy creature really does exist. Dr. Melba S. Ketchum says she andher team sequenced three complete Sasquatch nuclear genomesand concluded the species is a human hybrid -- a mosaic of humanand novel non-human elements. Their findings have yet to passpeer review .
Science and Society• Sociologists of science look at the interactions between science and society.• A paradigm is the framework within which scientists operate. There are particular paradigms for particular branches of scientific research.
Science and Society• Thomas Kuhn theorized that scientific revolutions, also called paradigm shifts, occur when enough anomalies accrue during the practice of normal science to challenge the existing paradigm.
Paradigm Shift• What animal do you see? 9
Science and Society• Anthropologists Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar claim that scientific facts don’t just reveal themselves through experiments and research but are socially constructed as scientists debate findings, discuss results, and work through disagreements, all of which is influenced by unequal power relations between researchers.
Science and Society• The Matthew effect, a term coined by Robert Merton, refers to the notion that certain scientific results get more notice and have more influence based on the existing prestige of the researchers involved.
Agriculture and the Environment• The majority of scientists agree that the roots of global warming can be linked to human activity such as deforestation and the burning of coal, gas, and oil.
Agriculture and the Environment• At the same time, global warming is predicted to have a strong impact on human society, primarily through devastating natural disasters such as prolonged heat waves, more and bigger hurricanes, and debilitating droughts.
Agriculture and the Environment• The term organic is often used as a catchall for foods that are seemingly healthy, “natural,” or produced on a small scale. In the United States there are specific guidelines that have to be followed in order for food products to be labeled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.”
Agriculture and the Environment• The organic food market creates stratification in two ways: – Organic farming is expensive. Many smaller farmers cannot afford to farm this way, so megafarms dominate the market and use their influence to change policies and guidelines to their advantage. – Organic products are expensive, so high-income individuals are much more likely to purchase them and reap their benefits than low-income people.
Agriculture and the Environment• Green revolution refers broadly to two agricultural trends of the twentieth century:1. the introduction of high-yield crop varietals in developing countries and2. improvements in agricultural technologies such as irrigation systems, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Agriculture and the Environment• Genetically modified foods, also referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), are products whose genetic structures have been altered, usually to make them produce higher yields.
Agriculture and the Environment• Proponents argue that GMOs help bring down food prices, reduce dependence on pesticides and herbicides, reduce waste, and even provide vitamin and mineral content that may be missing from a population’s diet, all of which is particularly significant for developing countries.• Critics of GMOs argue that they create risks to the environment and human health that have not been adequately evaluated.
Agriculture and the Environment• The green revolution is widely credited with increasing agricultural productivity throughout the developing world, thus: – increasing incomes. – increasing the value of formal schooling. – making farming more of a collective, community endeavor.
Agriculture and the Environment• Critics of the green revolution argue that it makes farmers more dependent on a smaller number of crops. This can: – increases risks if crops fail. – reduce variety in the diet. – deplete the soil of nutrients. – increase pressure on water resources.
Is our food killing us? 24
Biotechnology and the Human Genome• The goal of the Human Genome Project was to identify and map all of the genes in human DNA.• Researchers involved in the project recognized that it raised many social, ethical, and legal issues, like privacy, stratification, and stigmatization.
Biotechnology and the Human Genome• DNA testing is now marketed for a variety of purposes, one of which is to determine a person’s racial origins. – However, there are still questions about the accuracy of the testing and how this information might be used. – DNA testing is not simply a straightforward scientific process but one that is closely intertwined with social factors.
Biotechnology and the Human Genome• Reproductive cloning involves making a genetic copy of an existing person or organism.• Research cloning involves making a genetic copy of cells that can be used for research purposes. Human cloning does have potential benefits, but it is fraught with legal, ethical, and moral questions.
Agriculture and theEnvironmentJohn Evans discusses his research on religion,bioethics, and genetically modified organisms. 28