Science and Patterns of Child Care

Science and Patterns of Child Care

Science and Patterns of Child Care

Science and Patterns of Child Care

Excerpt

Although the construction of theories that are systematic, satisfying, and predictive is the principal purpose of scientific work, a second function is the disconfirmation of erroneous ideas. This function of inquiry is especially important in the social and behavioral sciences, in which hypotheses often influence the everyday practices and attitudes of the average citizen. The results of research help us to check the validity of theoretical assumptions and to prevent incorrect explanations from seizing the mind of a community.

On occasion, society uses the data of the social sciences to rationalize a change in policy. The Supreme Court's decision to desegregate the public schools is perhaps one of the best contemporary examples of the complementary relation between social science and society. For the most part, the Western community is respectful of objective fact and disposed to accommodate to it. One of the major products of research in psychology, sociology, and anthropology is information that prevents incorrect, misleading, or harmful practices from dominating the minds and actions of the community for too long a time. Such information is as vital as a more efficient machine, a more powerful drug, or a more precise surgical instrument.

Parents' beliefs about what children are like and how they should be treated if they are to approach the ideal the family reveres are vulnerable to dogma. Only 60 years ago many American mothers believed that infants were fragile creatures . . .

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