DO SOCIOLOGISTS CARE THAT THEIR IDEAS ARE NOT TRUE? AND DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT THEIR IDEAS ARE FALSE?
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
This is a question I have been asking myself recently as sociologists have refused even to consider the argument that their traditions are not true. We received a letter from editor Dr. Richard Hall of the sociological journal "Social Forces," telling us that none of the ten sociological articles that we submitted to the journal were acceptable for publication. He wrote that the reason for his statement is that we do not accept the traditions of the discipline of sociology.
The only problem with this statement is that the sociological tradition is false. It is based on assumptions that are simply incorrect.
But does this really matter to sociologists? And does it really matter to the liberal community, or even to the larger community?
The refusal of sociologists even to consider the question of their possible fallibility seems to indicate that it probably does not matter that many, if not most, of the assumptions of sociology are incorrect.
The larger question is "does sociology matter at all?" Or are sociologists just writing for other sociologists to keep themselves employed in the universities?
A still larger question is "does the truth really matter?" It probably matters in the natural sciences, but apparently not in the social sciences. Long ago, sociologist W. I. Thomas wrote that as long as everyone agrees that a falsehood is the truth, it is the truth for the larger purposes of the society. He could have very well been speaking of himself and his colleagues.
But, yes, in the larger sense it matters what is true. Those who assume they already have the truth are condemned to be denied further progress towards it. And a commitment to what is politically correct almost insures that little progress will be made toward truth. If one is so busy defending what has been already determined what is the truth, one doesn't really look for the truth any more. This attitude of arrogance is poison to any thought in the social "sciences".
I often say to myself, "Sociologists couldn't think there way out of a paper bag" because they are so committed to the currents false orthodoxies of the discipline and consumed with defending what they know to be the truth. With such an attitude, the social sciences will never be much more than just current political thinking.
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