Social science

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A social science, uses mathematics and some parts of the scientific method to probe matters of human affairs. As distinct from a pure science, the focus is not on the natural world, but on humanity.

Social sciences include political science, which uses game theory to evaluate the decisionmaking processes of world leaders, and anthropology, which combines archeology (a pure science) and history to investigate how other societies live. Other disciplines which are social sciences include: demography, economics, geography, psychology, social studies, and sociology.

Eric Kaufmanm on the social science of demography

At a conference Eric Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century:

Part of the reason I think demography is very important, at least if we are going to speak about the future, is that it is the most predictable of the social sciences.

...if you look at a population and its age structure now. You can tell a lot about the future. ...So by looking at the relative age structure of different populations you can already say a lot about the future...

...Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well.[1]

Unreliability of much social science research

In an article entitled How reliable are the social sciences?, Cary Cutting wrote in the New York Times:

While the physical sciences produce many detailed and precise predictions, the social sciences do not. The reason is that such predictions almost always require randomized controlled experiments, which are seldom possible when people are involved. For one thing, we are too complex: our behavior depends on an enormous number of tightly interconnected variables that are extraordinarily difficult to distinguish and study separately. Also, moral considerations forbid manipulating humans the way we do inanimate objects. As a result, most social science research falls far short of the natural sciences’ standard of controlled experiments.[2]

In 2014, the science journal Nature reported that over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test.[3]