The Instigator
Stottinator
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
KingOfTheHill
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Is psychology a science?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
KingOfTheHill
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,665 times Debate No: 57179
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

Stottinator

Pro

Hey there, I figure that this is as good a first debate as any for you to start with, and it'll allown the internet to cast a decision on this issue and settle the matter once and for all:

Is psychology a science?

For the purpose of this debate, we will clasify a 'science' as an equal to the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

1st round is acceptance.
2nd round sets out the opening arguments.
3rd and 4th are to counter-argue your side.
5th is for closing comments.

May the best man win!
KingOfTheHill

Con

Sure! Personally I do not believe Psychology is a "pure" science, but does have some pseudo-scientific aspects. Overall, however, I do not think it is a "science" in the same way as Physics, Chemistry and Biology being sciences. Actually I think mathematics is the most pure form of science, distilled so far it is entirely theoretical.
Debate Round No. 1
Stottinator

Pro

OK, my opening arguments:

1) A dictionary definition of 'Psychology' describes it as "the science of the human mind" (source, collins english dictionary). That in itself shows that the general concesus of the english-speaking world defines Psychology as a science.

2) The most common argument against Psychology as a science is that it is mostly seen as a branch of Biology, as there are lots of biological explanations for human behaviour that the subject details. Well, as you said in your acceptence statement, you believe mathematics to be the most 'pure' science which all others draw from. If the same logic is applied to Maths as is applied to Biology, then all sciences are just a subset of maths, and therefore not 'pure.' After all, all disciplines have a degree of overlap.

3) Psychology is treated as a seperate disipline from Biology in school and university courses, just like all other sciences.

Over to you.
KingOfTheHill

Con

Thank you Stottinator.

This is how wikipedia defines the scientific method:

"The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."[3]

The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.

Scientific inquiry is intended to be as objective as possible in order to minimize bias. Another basic expectation is the documentation, archiving and sharing of all data collected or produced and of the methodologies used so they may be available for careful scrutiny and attempts by other scientists to reproduce and verify them. This practice, known as full disclosure, also means that statistical measures of their reliability may be made. "

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Are the aspects of psychology measurable and empirical? If I say that a certain trait and behaviour exhibited by a subject is due to x and y and z, what is to stop you saying it is because of a and b and c? Psychology is open to interpretation, and for a system so complicated and intricate as the human mind, we cannot at this stage in our understanding pin on any one cause to a symptom or condition- who knows if we will ever be able to do this. For this reason psychology cannot at this stage be called a science as so much of it is up for debate.

In Physics and Chemistry, my two favourite sciences, results are repeatable and can be confirmed by other scientists across the world. In the case of Psychology this is not the case, experiments can be replicated exactly, yet the results will differ. Even experiments using the exact same subjects can be repeated and different results can be found- such is the complexity of the human mind.

Psychology can not be quantified- it is qualitative, not quantitative- which again is a widely held virtue of a "proper" science.

And before you say it, yes some of Psychology can maybe be classed as a science- mostly any neuroscientific aspects, but in my opinion the majority of Psychology cannot be identified as a science.

For any psychologists out there, not classing Psychology as a science is not a bad thing, in my opinion, science is at times cold and clinical- should something as diverse and expansive as the human mind be classed in categories, and every feeling decoded and explained and quantified? I don't think so, but maybe that's not what Psychology is about.

If it isn't, then its not a science! Science tries to explain things clearly and empirically, as the opening source explains.

Over to you.......
Debate Round No. 2
Stottinator

Pro

Stottinator forfeited this round.
KingOfTheHill

Con

KingOfTheHill forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Stottinator

Pro

Stottinator forfeited this round.
KingOfTheHill

Con

Well I have nothing else to say...................
Debate Round No. 4
Stottinator

Pro

Stottinator forfeited this round.
KingOfTheHill

Con

My opponent's computer has "broken" which is why he has not responded..................
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by zommunist 3 years ago
zommunist
He's gonna forfeit...
Posted by zommunist 3 years ago
zommunist
C'mon pro! Time's money!
Posted by zommunist 3 years ago
zommunist
Possibly
Posted by KingOfTheHill 3 years ago
KingOfTheHill
Am I seeing double?!
Posted by KingOfTheHill 3 years ago
KingOfTheHill
Science is about TRYING to prove something with the highest degree of certainty possible. (Sorry for all caps- I wanted to use italics, but there is no option for it!) Also HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done Stottinator! (This time I did mean all caps!!)
Posted by KingOfTheHill 3 years ago
KingOfTheHill
Science is about TRYING to prove something with the highest degree of certainty possible. (Sorry for all caps- I wanted to use italics, but there is no option for it!) Also HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done Stottinator! (This time I did mean all caps!!)
Posted by zommunist 3 years ago
zommunist
That's not what science is about KOTH, science cannot prove anything beyond all doubt, only reasonable doubt
Posted by KingOfTheHill 3 years ago
KingOfTheHill
I think that a science should be capable of proving things with certainty using empirical proof. Neurology can do this (I believe), so I would class it as a science, but psychology? I'm not so sure....
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Maybe psychology could be considered analysis of the set of mind tools people use to analyse science, but not actually a science in itself.
Though it is developing a set of facts and laws and theories that combine with Neurology to perhaps form a profoundly good science.
A fuzzy issue.
Fuzzy issues are good debate fodder, so it is likely to be interesting.
Posted by zommunist 3 years ago
zommunist
Indeed, I wonder...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
StottinatorKingOfTheHillTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited, Con was the last argument and did a good job. Though I'm still neutral on this debate. Some parts are qualitative and quantitative others are subjective, but it is increasingly becoming more scientific and methodical with the influence of Neurology.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
lannan13
StottinatorKingOfTheHillTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.