September 29, 2022

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Science and good politics

As in the controversy over vaccines, science is being pulled to support politicians who exploit their use especially when they are unable to make decisions that fall upon themselves or to mask panic in the face of unexpected phenomena such as blood syndrome that troubles them. planet.

In these very sad times, anti-science thought arises from the assumption that science, as a fact, has deceived us. Science is not only the truth, but it affirms itself through attempts at continuous failures and partial successes. It is less neutral, as Marcello Sini has taught us well, because it was born in an economic, political and social context that influences its developments and outcomes.

However, as in the vaccine debate, it is pulled to support politicians who take advantage of its use especially when they are unable to make decisions that fall upon themselves or to mask panic in the face of unexpected phenomena such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. disturbs the planet.

Some scholars pushed vanity to appear in Talk showInstead of politicians protecting themselves from them, they make themselves available to this game of reassuring public opinion, contributing to the growth of anti-vaccination movements by creating more elements of mistrust.
Science does not always give sufficient answers, it cannot always explain new phenomena, but it is able to investigate them and try to explain them. In our world of complexity, science seems uncertain because it rests above all on the linearity of phenomena and on cause-and-effect relationships.

This applies to meteorological issues that are characterized by complex phenomena in which the properties of the system appear suddenly and cannot be traced back to the properties of individual parts. It is also true, above all, in the case of social and biological phenomena such as a pandemic.

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Nevertheless, I felt great admiration and amazement at the content of Giorgio Baresi’s book, On a journey from starlings (Rizzoli, p. 123, €14) which begins: “The best job search can happen by chance; You meet him on a road traveled to go somewhere else.” Then again, “ideas are often like a boom, they start in one direction and end in another. If interesting and unusual results are obtained, applications can appear in absolutely unexpected areas.”

There couldn’t be a more meaningful sentence to express it The insidious and difficult path of scientific research is to deny its absolute loyalty to reality. And besides, Ptolemy himself, although he believed that the sun revolved around the Earth, was a scientist who used the modest means at his disposal.

But in the first chapter, from which he takes the title of the book, Baresi amazes us with curiosity and creative genius. The object of the study is the interactions and especially the interactions between starlings “an issue also important for the purpose of understanding psychological, social and economic phenomena”.

How do starlings communicate with each other so skillfully to avoid collisions in the sky? Is there a self-regulating group leader or behavior? How quickly does information spread across the whole herd? How could they morph together without bumping into each other?

And here is his answer: «When you are curious and want to know the answer to your questions, you begin to search: once in books, now on the Internet. When you’re lucky you find the answers, but when the answers don’t exist, because nobody knows them, if you’re really curious, you start to wonder if you shouldn’t be the one who finds the answer. The fact that no one has ever found it does not frighten you, for it is your job after all: to imagine or do what no one has done before.”

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Therefore, science explores, investigates and, on the most fortunate occasion, gives answers which, however, are always contingent and not definitive; Over time others will arrive and will be better able to explain the phenomenon under investigation because science advances through models rather than through dogmas.

If our politicians find the time even to read this book, they may understand that the final decision of the choices is up to them. Perhaps science will find more acceptance and confidence. In the end, science must be paired with good politics.

The article was also published in poster