Opinion: Is social science a science or some conjecture?….by Dr Jimoh Ibrahim
(Paper is written in Honour of Professor Idowu Amos Adeoye of the blessed memory)
Professor Idowu was indeed not comfortable with the scientific approach of methodology. And that African Babalawo predictions based on Ifa or Orunmila, Ayelala, and Obatala are pseudo. He thinks science’s complete elimination of metaphysics is a foundational failure of any empiricism or logical positivism.
Introduction The more I read, the less I find myself in the happy mood of the pure lies or some conjecture put together in their converging complexities and call social science. The offending word is SCIENCE at the back of social science. Is social science a science or some conjectures of lazy abnormalities? My degrees: Bachelor of Law (Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Nigeria), Master of Public Administrations MPA, (Obafemi Awolowo University. Ile Ife Nigeria), Master of Law in Taxation (Harvard University), Master of Science in Mega Projects Management (University of Oxford), Master of Business Administration (University of Cambridge) Doctor of Business (University of Cambridge) Doctor of War (University of Buckingham) and most recently Bachelor of Science International Relations (London School of Economics LSE, University of London) The titles of the degrees could be more helpful; for instance, why should someone who does not know where the university laboratory is be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in international relations? When did the management of a programme or mega projects become a matter of science that the University of Oxford will award a degree of Master of Science? The faculty of law did not lay any claim to science or social science, so is the degree of master’s in business administration simply awarding MBA. The Doctorate degrees did not also lay any claim to science or social science but to Doctor of Philosophy. It is also the case that no one has taken the universities to court for awarding Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degrees when the awardee never visited the laboratory or conducted any clinical trials and when such awardee studied no science courses. It is not the case that one cannot approach the court asking for the university to withdraw all those degrees and replace them with appropriate tiles, stop impersonating science and pay damages.
Science and Logical Positivism Science must be verifiable through experiments. Logical positivism, as claimed by the Vienna Circles scholars (Hans Hahn, Philipp Frank, Rudolf Carnap, Friedrich Albert Moritz and Otto Neurath and the mathematicians and scientists Kurt Gödel), science and logic were the best tools for understanding the world. It is the only way to – assume an orderly and objective world with natural laws that experimentation allows us to discover. A theory cannot be valid outside of a coherent system. Scientific knowledge is the only factual knowledge, and all traditional metaphysical doctrines will be rejected as meaningless. And this will mean that African Babalawo predictions based on Ifa investigation or Orunmila, Ayelala, and Obatala are pseudo. Science aims to look for the truth, and once an investigation is rooted in scientific process and procedure, its outcome can be different from the facts. Science will only be factual as evidence of theory with making verifiable predictions through intermediate steps such as asking a question, performing research, establishing a hypothesis, conducting an experiment of the clinical trial of the hypothesis, making observations, doing analysis and concluding…. you can pronounce your theory!
This can also be known everywhere, and nothing contradicts such a rigorous scientific discovery, such as the theory of an atom as the smallest indivisible element. An atom in Nigeria is an atom anywhere in the world. The scientific engagements confirmed that science methodology is excellent and reliable and enjoys legitimacy worldwide. This is so because the result can be texted and repeated everywhere and anywhere. Science methodology is celebrated for its unbiased explanations; data were carefully collected from the laboratory of science or the field with the robust engagement of probability theory! The scientific methodology has helped contemporary development; we are growing medically and have a better understanding of our world with sound education and new inventions. We look up in the celebration of science legendry hero Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton (motions of the heavenly bodies), Charles Darwin (theory of evolution by natural selection), Albert Einstein (general theory of relativity) and Marie Curie. She made an incredible contribution to atomic physics (the idea of radioactivity).
Science has expanded her methodology to include a non-experimental category. If you are looking for causality (cause and effect) of anything, you can approach predictable behaviour through a survey of mathematical probability. Perhaps it is this statistical probability test that social science tries to steal and say that they are also scientific in their approach, except that the poor knowledge of mathematics will not encourage them to explain beyond statistical tools of the histogram or pie chart! I forgot they also claim to be doing regression analysis in economics and related courses.
Science and their falsifiability. Social science has come to challenge science as the master of manipulation. For anything, an allegation based on scientific findings must first be based on lies. One such thing is that no object heavier than a balloon can fly without falling if not supported! This is not true. It is a lie. Science can only argue from facts to theory through refutation or falsification. Again, for an approach to be scientific. At least one potential falsifiability observation statement must exist that conflicts with it! Besides, there needs to be more clarity between verification and falsification; for example, Popper refutes the classical positivist account of the scientific method by replacing induction with the falsification principle. He says, ‘Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite’ and warns that Science must begin with myths and with the criticism of myths.
Social science has come to explain that science can only investigate any subject of ontology by asking questions using the social science approach of epistemology; otherwise, the findings could be unreliable. Science manipulation is more on the clinical group experiment of applying treatment to one group at the expense of another group by drawing inconsistent conclusions. After five years of observation of the colour of the swan, science concluded that all swans are black! Surprisingly, I saw a brow and white swans in Igbotako the other time! In the social sciences, there is only interpretation. Nothing speaks for itself. … “We are confronted with shared data and evidence problems. (error) provide a powerful motivation to employ analytic techniques that use probability theory, especially those that address drawing inferences from insufficient evidence.” It is not the case that social science investigation and the narrative approach are some conjectures, but the challenge is that those telling the stories might have changed the story over and over again. A case of reflections on personal feelings or deleting not too comfortable part of a story or making it pleasant to read, which makes findings unreliable, my father told me, and I told my children and my children to you all now wearing the cloth of many colours that my father did not make for me!
Professor Idowu Amos Adeoye (of blessed memory) He was indeed not comfortable with the scientific approach of methodology. He thinks science’s complete elimination of metaphysics is a foundational failure of any empiricism or logical positivism. Idowu does not see any root in the statistical probability method. If that surprises you, the wife he left behind, Professor Mrs Idowu, is a scientist. It was a happy marriage, except that many of the children took to their father’s ideas in research methodology. Professor Idowu’s PhD in law at the Faculty of Law Obafemi Awolowo was delayed for 10 years before completion. Besides, he completed his first and second degrees with excellent results from the same university. Idowu was significant in the school of thought that believes There is only one interpretation in the social sciences. Nothing speaks for itself. … especially those methodologies that address or draw inferences from insufficient evidence.
Professor Idowu was the initial victim of the supervisor’s lack of understanding that narrative is a classical and contemporary methodology that perfectly explains the phenomenon (Apology to late professor Ijalaye, Idowu’s supervisor). Idowu insisted he would not use unwanted methodology to analyse constitutional limitations to national development. He was the best Dean of the Faculty of Law we never had due to scientific manipulation of some bias to knowledge or the incredible politics of the Faculty of Law.
We will all miss him and be true to our understanding. Professor Emanuel Esiemokai (of blessed memory, and he was Idowu’s teacher) once said, ‘I wake up in the morning and am so heavy this is because I do not know the satisfaction that people derive from the destruction of men that they cannot make’. Idowu is a case of a self-made man, a professor of repute best in his time, and limited by his environment. He left a legacy of a professor’s wife and incredibly successful children, some of whom are now judges. Served humanity and paid others in kindness despite their evil. Professor Idowu, an advocate of qualitative methodology, believes that we can better understand tomorrow from yesterday’s narratives. Rest in perfect peace Adieu!
Jimoh Ibrahim PhD (Cantab) PhD in War (Buckingham) CFR. Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was a student of Professor Idowu.