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Science under siege by government? This time, in Argentina

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<em>Teapot</em> Cobalt Blue From U Buenos Aires molecular biologist Alberto Kornblihtt at Nature:

To complete the landscape of nonsense, the chief of the cabinet of ministers, Marcos Peña, attacked one of the fundamentals of science by saying that “critical thinking has done too much damage to our country”. He continued: “Some people in Argentina think that being critical is being smart. Our government believes that being smart is being enthusiastic and optimistic.”

This is gobbledygook, yet it neatly fits the New Age concept of the “revolution of happiness” proclaimed by Macri as a lubricant for social conflicts. Colleagues around the world should know that, in this new Argentina, science and technology could become dispensable. More demonstrations are sure to follow. We will not give up our scientific heritage and future without a fight. More.

Critical thinking only hurts people who don’t make use of it. But like we said, there is no party of science. Science goes where it is wanted.

See also: What? Is no political party the “party of science”?

and

Rob Sheldon on science and the US election

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4 Replies to “Science under siege by government? This time, in Argentina

  1. 1
    Andere Stimme says:

    In all fairness, I’m guessing Peña’s first language is not English. His contrasting “critical” with “optimistic” seems to indicate that he understands “critical” in the sense of “inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily”. I was misunderstood by a native Spanish speaker in the same exact way a few months back.

    To be sure, the term “pensamiento crítico” does exist, but it appears it’s not too commonly used. Peña certainly doesn’t seem to be using it.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, I suggest there is indeed a sour, bitter-cynical, destructively critical toxic mentality that delights in shooting down through fault-finding (or even fault projection) which does little good. By contrast we need a fair-minded, critically aware, analytical and synthetic, creatively fertile, original mindset that is innovative, inventive and fair, optimistic and strategic. Which is not at all the same as abandonment of logic, empirical observation and testing. KF

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    What else is new?
    We are reminded to always test everything and hold what is good.

    Absolute standards are being disregarded in this world since the first humans doubted the words of their Creator.
    None of this would have been an issue had we remained in Eden. Too late now.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Andere Stimme at 1 and kairosfocus at 2, good point! AS, In English, “critical thinking” means something like


    “If you have reason to believe that The Biggest Noise might not be the best source of information, hold on to that thought and follow it up constructively. You have a right to do so, and you could be on to something.”*

    kairosfocus, you are right about the need for a “fair-minded, critically aware, analytical and synthetic, creatively fertile, original mindset that is innovative, inventive and fair, optimistic and strategic.”

    It is, in my view, a struggle against mediocrity in any age. The number of gains – gains that do not derive simply from living on the capital of former ages’ discoveries – depends on cultivating that mindset.

    * North America, north of the Rio Grande, has been internally very stable since 1865, principally because of the accommodation of disparate viewpoints, non-violently expressed. People don’t need to start wars or civil wars just to get alternative viewpoints heard.

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