Some Lies my Sociology Textbook Told Me
The textbook: Ravelli, Bruce and Michelle Webber. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Pearson, 2010.
1) The Rwandan Genocide was the result of age-old conflict between the distinct ethnic groups of Hutus and Tutsis. Countries in the West didn’t even really know what was going on until after the genocide was over. This is wrong if you believe that the West did know what was going on. This is also wrong if you believe that certain Western countries’ involvement in Rwanda pre-genocide actually contributed to the genocide. See: http://www.du.edu/korbel/hrhw/volumes/2002/2-1/magnarella2-1.pdf I’m personally contending that it is wrong for both reasons.
2)Thomas Hobbes thought that revolution was a swell idea if the people decided that the government wasn’t doing a good job. This is wrong because it’s wrong. Hobbes argued that revolution is never permissible. Kids, the guy liked the idea of ‘absolute authority,’ which is exactly what it sounds like. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hobbes-moral/#Abs
3) The Greeks, Aurelius, Farabi, Aquinas, Shakespeare, and Locke “all explored the role of the individual in sociology” (14). This is true, and yet it is still inane. The book does not say “writers such as” or “here are examples of.” No, this is the list of people who have explored the idea before sociologists got to it. No women, one token non-Western writer. Good list, authors of my Sociology textbook.
4) “Hobbes was one of the first theorists to view people as responsible and accountable for the society they created” (34). What the what argh?!? No, no he was not. Remember the Greeks you mentioned in the last chapter, O textbook authors? Yeah, a few of them, like, you know, freaking Aristotle, might have posited that idea about ‘people being responsible for their society’ several hundred years before Hobbes. And even the Greeks likely weren’t the first.
5) Human beings are the only organisms capable of thinking about thinking. Maybe. But it’s kind of hard to prove and let’s consider possible evidence to the contrary. Animals who demonstrate self-recognition: http://www.pnas.org/content/98/10/5937.full , marmosets who meditate: http://io9.com/5845649/marmosets-can-meditate-and-are-immune-to-the-placebo-effect , and pigs who play video games: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOJJf_zoPDs . These animals are smart. Not unthinkable that they might be capable of self-consciousness!
6) In Western Society, children are generally cherished and protected. In many ‘other countries around the world,’ children are not given enough recognition as children and therefore do not get the extra support they need, and therefore many bad things happen to them including sexual abuse. I’m imagining the commercial now. “Canada: where only 30% of children are sexually abused!” Sigh. http://www.safekidsbc.ca/statistics.htm