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Cory Davenport

Texas Tech University

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Why do some people believe that the natural sciences are more "scientific" and / or important than the behavioral / social sciences?

I look at the problems of our world and firmly believe that behavioral and social scientists are just as important as natural scientists when it comes to having the potential to ameliorate most of these problems. Yet, from grant money to awards for achievement (e.g., Nobel Prize), the focus is always on the natural sciences.

I think part of the issue is that it is more difficult to know when a behavioral / social scientific discovery has made the world a better place. As an example, If a radiation portal monitor (based on natural science) prevents a dirty bomb from entering the Port of South Louisiana, the usefulness of radiation detection technology is obvious. If research on extremism attenuation (based on behavioral science) leads to policies that prevent terrorists from sending the dirty bomb in the first place, we will likely never be aware that this research led to our protection.

Do you believe that the behavioral / social sciences are under appreciated? If so, what can be done about it?

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  • Aug 6 2013: I think its because the behavioural and political is constantly changing, and is a subject of interpretation on a different level than the natural sciences

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