What is Criminology ?
This includes the measurement and detection of crime, legislation and practice of criminal law,
as well as the law enforcement, judicial and correctional systems.
- “Common sense” theory is developed based on “conceptual schemes” that may be “fanciful” and not subject to evaluation. Scientific theory is based on evidence that can be observed and measured.
- Scientists verify their theories in ways believed to be objective. People often validate common sense theories by selecting examples that fit the theory. They maintain their stereotypes by ignoring examples that do not fit.
- Control is important in science. In this context, control refers to the efforts of scientists to rule out other explanations for a phenomenon that their theory does not take into account. For example, a non-scientist who believes that children become delinquent because of drugs will not likely consider delinquency in children who do not use drugs.
- The non-scientist is likely to seize on a chance occurrence and immediately develop a cause and effect theory to explain a relationship that is not there. A “lucky shirt” is an example of this sort of unscientific logic.
- Scientists, unlike most non-scientists (and Philosophers) rule out “metaphysical explanations” for events. Metaphysical explanations are explanations for something that cannot be tested, which usually means that the proposed cause cannot be observed. If someone proposes that serial killers kill because they are possessed by demons, then they have offered a metaphysical explanation.