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Fighting fake news and science education can strengthen the Brazilian Science Concept – SBPC

Fighting fake news and science education can strengthen the Brazilian Science Concept – SBPC

“In addition to fighting fake news, it is necessary to invest in scientific publishing and education to broaden support for Brazilian science, technology development and innovation.” This was the conclusion of the Director of the Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science (SBPC), Leila Salmín Espindola, when evaluating the public hearing held on Wednesday, June 28, in the Senate, on the social perception of science and innovation.

The debate, in which many experts on the subject participated, was convened by Senator Izalchi Lucas (PSDB – DF) and was based on recent studies that revealed a very special relationship between the Brazilian public and the scientific field.

According to the search 2019 on Public Perception of Science and Technology by the Center for Strategic Studies and Management (CGEE)Nine out of ten Brazilians considered science important in promoting opportunities, but they were unable to name a national scientist or scientific institution. In 2022, a survey will be conducted From the National Institute of Science and Technology in Public Communications of Science and Technology Associated with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), he noted that confidence has declined after the pandemic, particularly in sectors and regions considered more conservative.

Faced with these data, Izalci Lucas wondered how to modify the Brazilian population’s lack of knowledge of national scientists and low participation in scientific and innovation events.

Espindola assured the public that scholarly publishing is a key factor in combating the spread of fake news. The professor at the Faculty of Health / Medicine of the University of Brasilia (UnB) warns that a powerful campaign of disinformation has caused the return of diseases that have already been eradicated or controlled, including with aggravating factors, mainly affecting the most vulnerable.

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“We are survivors of the scientific and health denial officially proven in this country during the height of the pandemic. The fact that we survived is, of course, important. We need to unite to combat fake news, and reaffirm the ethical values ​​of scientific knowledge to restore health. For this, we need to prioritize social inclusion, at all levels, in all respects. He considered that the environment is a heritage that must be studied and defended, in addition to consolidating the crucial role of education and science.

But Espindola said scientific disclosure alone is not enough. Some surveys show that citizens trust science, but they need to feel a part of it. Therefore, we need scientific education to provide people with the conditions for appropriate information. And everything goes through a democratic process. We need to transform Brazil into a full democracy where citizens have the discernment to make decisions favorable to them. But for that, investments must start from early childhood. We need public policies aimed at science literacy practices in schools.

Marcia Cristina Bernardes Barbosa, Secretary for Policy and Strategic Programs at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), also agreed that this scenario can only be changed with a project that envisions an education system with scientific methods and ethics adapted to the new. The reality of children and youth, which includes all segments of the population. Only through this education will it be possible to create, as he put it, “confidence in the authority of knowledge.”

“Education needs to not only deliver news to young people who do not have the same dynamics of sitting in an assembly line classroom. They also need to build knowledge that is not memorized knowledge.

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Jurij Castelfranchi, a professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), highlighted the need for a deeper analysis of the factors that influence denial, showing that ignorance is not always the central factor. He noted that there are people with low access to scientific knowledge who reject evidence for personal or political interests, while many Brazilians with low access to scientific knowledge support science. “It is not only ignorance and inability to access knowledge that breeds hostile attitudes. But misinformation tends to create uncertainty. Uncertainty about trust in institutions, not so much in scientific knowledge.

Helena Ponceni Nadir, President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC), warned of the global nature of scientific denial and stressed the importance of understanding who benefits from this campaign to discredit scientific development. She highlighted the Brazilian state’s responsibility in ensuring the health of children, stressing that vaccination is a collective commitment.

For science celebrity Átila Iamarino, changing the current scenario will require changing the way we communicate, teach and invest in science, given the growing consumption of digital content, especially on platforms such as Google, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. “Only in this way will we be able to occupy these spaces effectively,” he concluded.

See the full hearing here.

Science Journal, with information from Synado