[Opinion] Pay by doubt (reasonable)

[Opinion] Pay by doubt (reasonable)

Until recently, it was fashionable to praise Elon Musk’s genius behind the wheel of a Tesla. Now, the fierce condemnation of the rebellious Twitter owner is becoming more socially acceptable.

Musk may be a controversial figure, but he’s also a strong advocate for science and wants Twitter to “pursue science, which necessarily involves reasonable questioning of science.”

Like a beacon in a storm, science has guided all of our decisions during a pandemic. If science appears to have emerged victorious from this crisis, the fact remains that skepticism, a cornerstone of the scientific method, has taken its toll over the past three years.

In order to counter blatant misinformation and increase adherence to health measures, the pendulum may have moved too much. The politicization of science has turned it into an indisputable and imperceptible dogma. The result: a certain muzzling of dissonant, but essential sounds, and a science viewed in the light of absolute and immutable truth.

To the scourge of anti-scientific heresy, we opposed orthodoxy” The science is real which he deliberately ignores “until proven otherwise”.

For science to progress, science requires two essential elements: candor in recognizing that an assumption can be corrected by new facts, and the freedom to publish, debate, test, and iterate hypotheses. The pandemic has eroded these principles.

This is not surprising, because if science bases itself on its mistakes and its ability to admit its ignorance, then the politician views this kind of statement as an admission of weakness, and even failure.

Moreover, the peak of epidemiology did not surprisingly lead to the expected proliferation of randomized controlled studies or even to the explosion of natural trials that many expected.

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Admittedly, many countries have rather wasted a good crisis. The crisis we are emerging from is hardly better informed than at the beginning regarding the range of strategies and measures used or avoided around the world. Let’s think, among other things, of the mysterious effectiveness of curfews or air filters. Only science free from the yoke of dogma can turn all stones.

In this context, some advocate an outright divorce between science and politics. At the very least, these two columns should, like the bride and groom, “fill each other’s cup, but not drink from the same cup.”

In a variety of ways, politics can help science overcome serious problems highlighted by the pandemic: slippery shortcuts, bogus publications, restricted academic freedom, and dependence on private funding. On the contrary, science has the power to positively influence politics.

Let’s be honest: currently, state reforms are often based on theoretical models or good intentions.

Fortunately, guides, pilot projects, and best practices are now an integral part of the government’s vocabulary. Minister Dube also seems determined to put the scientific approach at the heart of his health reform. That’s encouraging.

It goes without saying that education, as a priority, deserves a similar transformation.

Admittedly, experts and stage managers are already discussing the bugs with the system and offering them various solutions, but in the end, very few of them are actually tested.

For lack of scientific hindsight, it is almost impossible to quantify or quantify the effects of the series of educational reforms in Quebec, to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, miracle solutions keep dropping in, the most recent being the abolition of crypto-balloting and the addition of specialized categories.

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Rather than rushing with certainty, wouldn’t it be better to test the effectiveness of these hypotheses before implementing them on a large scale?

Take, for example, the sharp drop in children’s VO2 max, which measures their cardiorespiratory capacity. Everyone agrees to get involved, but opinions differ on which method should be recommended. By experimenting in different classes with control groups, we can collect relevant data on the effectiveness of the different approaches proposed.

Likewise, randomized controlled studies can help us determine the best ways to improve literacy, slow drop-out, or address any other problem.

Only enlightened judgment can stop the widespread application of false good ideas.

Let’s see in the video

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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