December 4, 2022

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The absence of scientists from Parliament and the role of scientific culture in the well-being of societies

Among the 400 newly elected representatives last September in roomjust over a tenth (53, according to parliamentary filings available on the institutional website) owns a Postgraduate Diploma. Taking into account that in Italy i Alumni is about 20% of the population (A very low number, unfortunately, compared to other industrialized nations) The presence of people who have achieved some specialization among our deputies seems entirely sufficient, given the context.

But what do our representatives specialize in? mostly Law; Then there is a good representation of EconomieFrom Political Science Finally you find some cultured. learner. And the Scientists? How many MPs are sitting in the chamber, bringing with them higher-level study experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines? The answer is 5. Five out of four hundred: Two pharmacists, agronomist, engineer and mathematician.

It would have been better for the country to have had more. I am not saying this because without scholars in Parliament there would be no skills; The problem is more general. It is clear that when faced with issues relating to technical and scientific subjects, Parliament will naturally turn to help Civil society experts; You will create committees made up of trained people, chosen from among The best scientists in the countryThe results of their investigations will be told, and then, taking into account the results, they will proceed accordingly. And in Italy there is no shortage of scientists who are able to make appropriate analyzes on any topic that needs to be addressed. It is quite clear that this must be the way to work and that particular experts of any discipline are not necessarily directly required among the deputies, Otherwise, the room will become a kind of ‘government of technicians’. This is not how democracy works.

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However, that number, 5/400, is equally disappointing. It’s disappointing because everyone who makes up Scientific topics acquires a strange eligibility think “scientifically”, which leads to seeing the world – the whole world, every issue – from a different perspective. It is not good that this wealth is underrepresented in state institutions and that scientific thinking Deep, and not only purely technical, are present very little among the offices of those called to transform the demands of society into laws.

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The apparent dearth of science in the corridors of power has many origins. There is often cited The educational distance between the “two cultures” (scientific and humane)an ancient epidemic in Italy; There is a responsibility on the shoulders of the scientists themselves, who often withdraw into their world Other classes are seldom willing to commit publicly to the good of society, perhaps in politics, in fact; exist The widespread notion that science is nothing more than a body of technical knowledgewhile the culture, the real culture, will settle elsewhere.

Whatever the reasons, the result in the end is to punish everyone, because if there were more people who were able to explain “in a scientific spirit” what is happening in the country and in the world, the debate would be richer. Variety, better in the end. On the other hand, the contribution of scientific culture to the well-being of societies is obviousAnd we’d all benefit from benefiting from it a little more in other contexts, too.

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It is precisely for this topic that he dedicates himself Jim Al-Khalili In his last book, The joys of science: Its purpose is to convince anyone to act more “scientifically” to live…well, better. in Eight lessons, written in a colloquial style and free of any technology, and British physicist – Member of the Royal Society and the famous author Dr Devil’s Physics He comes out of the lab and enters the world, some suggest Simple rules help to think in more scientific terms in everyday life.

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It is worth listening to, because you learn a lot; It is certainly true that science is not the only solution to every problem of mankind, but it is also true that without science it would be much more difficult to solve mankind’s problems.

*The author is the managing editor of Bollati Boringhieri

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