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Which disciplines would you call Hard Sciences vs. Soft Sciences ?

  1. Jan 5, 2010 #1
    Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    As you all know, from time to time people will say there are the soft and hard sciences. Although it's not always clear where the distinctions are, it's generally believed they are there.

    For the poll, please rate these Sciences in order of what you believe to be most hard (accurate and scientific) to most soft. Also, don't rate what you think the media says about them, but rather what you know about the actual field. The sciences are biology, economics, physics, sociology, chemistry, psychology, and medicine.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2010 #2
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Physics
    Chemistry
    Biology
    Medicine
    Economics
    Sociology
    Psychology
    PFology
     
  4. Jan 5, 2010 #3
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Oh, that's what she said x million to this thread.

    But on a more serious note, the only thing this list will show is the relative interest someone has in these topics. Difficulty is a relative concept, so the premise of the thread is flawed.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2010 #4
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Cyrusology is a very hard science. The laws are so rigorous, only Pengwuino could master them, and then he disappeared. Even if you have information about Pengwuino's whereabout, please do not try Cyrusology at home.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2010 #5
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    That's what she said.
     
  7. Jan 5, 2010 #6
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    I think that Mathematics are more "hard" than physics, and also easier. Because they are well-defined, I understand Mathematics truly : I know what they are about. Every single step is under control in Mathematics. Physics often takes some hand-waving, and nobody knows truly what we are talking about in Physics : we have to rely on Mathematics to communicate Physics. Chemistry is much more difficult than Physics, because the laws are so complicated that they can not be derived from first principles until a very high level. Psychology is so difficult, nobody even hopes to derive true first principle that would encompass all possible approaches to Psychology.
     
  8. Jan 5, 2010 #7
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Well thats my point, its all based on opinion. Hard for you is easy for Freud. Hard for Feud is easy for Bernoulli. That doesn't mean one thing is harder than another, just that its harder for a particular person due to their unique abilities.
     
  9. Jan 5, 2010 #8
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    I'll quote
     
  10. Jan 5, 2010 #9
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    1234
     
  11. Jan 5, 2010 #10

    cristo

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    The term "hard science" doesn't mean the science that is most difficult, it means the science that is most rigorous.
     
  12. Jan 5, 2010 #11
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    And how do you define rigor?
     
  13. Jan 5, 2010 #12

    CRGreathouse

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    1. Chemistry
    1. Physics
    3. Biology
    ?. Medicine
    5. Economics
    6. Psychology
    7. Sociology
     
  14. Jan 5, 2010 #13
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    just about the way I would put it, except I'll trade the #6 and #7


    1. Chemistry
    2. Physics
    3. Biology
    4. Medicine
    5. Economics
    6. Sociology
    7. Psychology

    if engineering was an option, I'd put it in the #2 spot, and move everything down one


    edit:

    1. Math
    2. Chemistry
    3. Engineering
    4. Physics
    5. Biology
    6. Medicine
    7. Economics
    8. Sociology
    9. Psychology/Psychiatry



    I thought the 'field' of Psychology---not for each person
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  15. Jan 5, 2010 #14

    lisab

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Not bad...I'd put Psychology above Sociology, I think. I might even move medicine down a notch.

    And PFology is more sweet than soft.
     
  16. Jan 5, 2010 #15
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    I hesitated for that one. I thought psychology is influenced by the sociological context, whereas the psychology of a single individual (generally) has little impact on sociology.
     
  17. Jan 5, 2010 #16

    Pengwuino

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Pillow working is a pretty soft science
     
  18. Jan 5, 2010 #17
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    For some background on why I'm interested, I found many have come up with ideas on what separates hard from soft sciences, but few stand up to the actual empirical data when testing what distinguishes. Then I came across some peer-review studies which tested these ideas. The researchers gave a questionnaire to doctoral candidates from various fields of science asking them to rate these disciplines level of hardness on a scale of 1-10. Then the researchers used random selection to select peer-review journals from the fields and then random selection again to pull articles from them. They tested for correlations between rated hardness and various features that are measurable within the peer-review articles, to test peoples' ideas about what distinguishes the hard sciences from the soft sciences. Most ideas had no correlation at all, while a few had correlation (how much a discipline relies of empirical evidence wasn't a distinguishing feature), and one idea had a 0.97 correlation in distinguishing rated hardness of the Sciences. Others replicated the same type of study but put together their own study, and also found a correlation in the 0.90's (that's a strong correlation!) Although correlation doesn't prove causation, I found this really interesting, and downloaded these peer-review articles to my computer.

    The distinguishing feature showed that the natural science peer-review journals had a lot more of this than both the formal sciences (mathematics and statistics) and social sciences. Although formal sciences are very rigorous/hard, this distinguishing feature separated the natural sciences from them. Then within both the natural and social sciences it separated the individual disciplines on level of hardness. Although what the survey on how so many doctoral candidates rated them could be subjective in hardness level, it was interesting looking at the correlations.
     
  19. Jan 5, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    Strict adherence to the rules. In this case, to the scientific method. Social sciences are considered "soft" because they (by necessity) must rely on relaxed rules for experimentation and data analysis.
     
  20. Jan 5, 2010 #19
    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    You would think! But then when one looks at the actual empirical evidence that can be put on a graph and replicated.
     
  21. Jan 5, 2010 #20

    russ_watters

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    Re: Which disciplines would you call "Hard Sciences" vs. "Soft Sciences"?

    That's not a complete sentence...
     
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