Education and Science intersect today in a month of conferences sponsored by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation in several cities, where one of the central concerns is the fight for truth in a world of supposed alternatives and falsehoods.
“There are a lot of people promoting falsehoods, it’s a problem in the contemporary world,” said conference coordinator Carlos Fiolhais, noting that “rumors have always been made but now there are ways to spread them around the world.”
In science, it is relied on “because it has methods to distinguish what is wrong,” but there are those who “wish to pass as science what it is to sell a product,” or to spread falsehoods that lead people to certain political or religious positions, said the physicist.
To permeate the various conferences with national and international experts that will take place in cities such as Lisbon, Aveiro and Viseu, there is the “link between Education and Science”, he said, considering that “one of the flaws in education is teaching to distinguish truth from falsehood, develop critical spirit. ”
In the afternoon of November 6, at the Teatro Viriato in Viseu, Carlos Fiolhais joins the British writer Ben Goldacre, who writes to distinguish true science from “science of crap”, referring to what he considers pseudosciences such as homeopathy and another type of “alternative medicines that want to gain status and form interest groups”.
“It’s not medicine at all, what it’s based on is not science, it’s a belief, it has a small chance of getting it right, but people cling to anything.”
In the field of advertising, and more specifically in food, there is a lot that can be called “snobbish,” simply by attaching “a bacterium with a weird name” to a yogurt to sell a product with purported medicinal qualities.
Carlos Fiolhais also indicated that there are “many ethical breaks” in the scientific community, with “voluntary mistakes” that make “being a scientist no longer a guarantee” of credibility.
“This has to be talked about. There is a lot that scientists do not know, but we are studying to reach a consensus
To open the month, in Lisbon, we speak today at Torre do Tombo, in Lisbon, of innovative schools to foster creativity in children.
Also in Lisbon on the 9th, the theme is the universe and the various ways of thinking that have avenged throughout history, from theology to the transition to science.
Day 14, at the University of Aveiro, the possibilities of living longer are discussed, with the medical advances that will shape the “Humans of the Future”.
Two days later, at the Jesuit College in Funchal, we remember “Darwin in Madeira”. Although the author of the theory of evolution of the species has never been on the island, he used testimonies of many naturalists about Madeira to prove his scientific legacy and “speaks more often in Madeira than in the Galápagos,” said Carlos Fiolhais.
At the University of Coimbra on November 19, the theme is the advances in neuroscience and how late they get to education, and the next day, the Camões High School in Lisbon receives a debate on teaching mathematics.
The end is in Carcavelos, at the facilities of the New University, where the American educator E.D. Hirsch will discuss “the role of the school when it seems like Google knows everything.”
For Carlos Fiolhais, the conclusion is clear: “who can know is us and if we do not go to school we can not know anything”.