Science in a time of crisis – Opinion

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The world-wide economic crisis, caused by a coronavirus that is causing so many victims, but it’s probably going to go down in History as a crisis that could have contributed to the recovery of the credibility of the science.

The rise of populist leaders in the past few decades, in many countries, especially in Brazil and in the United States, he was leading us into a new “period of darkness”, such as in the Middle Ages, in which the evidence was accepted or denied, depending on the interests of the social group, whether religious or political, to the detriment of society as a whole.

They were needed by scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei in pisa, there are five years, in order to prove that the Earth is not flat, nor is it in the center of the universe, the one that hit you deeply in the power of the Catholic Church, and paved the way for the discovery of the americas.

It was necessary, also, to Charles Darwin in the 19th century, in order to demonstrate, in a way that is clear, that all the living beings to evolve and were not created all at the same time, for the past 5 years.

The discovery of the existence of the genetic code by James Watson and Francis Crick paved the way for the “green revolution” in agriculture, which has eliminated hunger in the world.

The work of Louis Pasteur, the vaccines have virtually eliminated measles, polio, and many other devastating diseases.

Even so, there are political and religious groups that deny the reality of these gains, making up conspiracy theories, or making an incorrect reading of the The scripturesthat was written thousands of years ago, due to a social reality that is not the reality of today, in a society that is highly technological.

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In these societies, it is essential to have a division of labor, and out of respect for the technical expertise of the specialists based on the best available science in all of these areas. Leaders of the populists to systematically disregard the evidence presented by these experts, when it conflicts with their interests or the interests of their own views, as many of them are living in a “parallel universe”.

That’s what happened in the case of a multi-covid-19, which we are facing today.

On the advice of the experts was clear: in the absence of a vaccine to protect you from the virus, the only defense is to prevent it from contaminating by means of “social distancing,” and in the host state. This orientation, however, conflicts with economic interests, and it may lead to unemployment. As expected, the leaders, the populists had tried to deny the evidence of the severity of the crisis up to that reality, if you know suddenly, with tens of thousands of people killed each day.

Luckily, there is, however, the World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the UN created in 1948 to coordinate international efforts to control and eradicate diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, small pox, and now is the covid-19. As a result, all of the countries, some reluctantly, such as the United States, the united kingdom and Brazil – that are in line with the recommendations of the WHO by accepting its authority as a scientific undeniable in the field of health care.

The original proposal for the creation of the WHO’s set off from the brazilian diplomats in the fall of 1946, and its director-general, for the next 20 years (1953 to 1973) he was the doctor of the brazilian Marcolino Candau.

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Participate in the technical committees of the WHO, to the best of the scientists from the member countries, and its recommendations, and its protocols, which are used as the basis for the action of all the organs that are connected to health care throughout the world.

Recently, the federal deputy Eduardo jair bolsonaro, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign affairs, house of Representatives, has attempted to disprove the world health organization and its current director-general, Tedros Adhanom, to argue that he wasn’t elected by the australian people, and that’s the truth. It is true that neither the secretary-general of the Organization of the United Nations or the pope, is elected by the people, but this does not mean that you do not have the capacity and the authority in their field of expertise. The pilots of commercial aircraft are not chosen by the passenger. In the case of the WHO, which is in the competence of the technical and scientific institution, founded more than 70 years ago, and that gives you authority and credibility.

Re-establishing the credibility, by the way, is the right word, because the great leaders of the 20th century, have always surrounded themselves with scientists of the highest level, and that it was particularly important for the 2.Nd of World War ii.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States, has received the cooperation of Albert Einstein. And Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom, was a scientific advisor of the permanent. After world war I, the u.s. Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. The holder of the office is to a scientist chosen by the president but must be approved by the us Senate, which demonstrates the importance of the position.

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This is going to be a good example to be followed in our country.

*PROFESSOR EMERITUS AND FORMER DEAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SÃO PAULO (USP), HE SERVED AS MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY



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