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The country's flag is polarized beyond political differences

The country’s flag is polarized beyond political differences

In the recent discussions raised in the context of CPI on the health management of the covid-19 pandemic, one can see the very low level at which scientific considerations have been presented in the public discussion. Renowned professors and heads of health authorities have exposed primary insecurities and gaps regarding the “real” performance of science.

This is a globally recognized effect since the fragmentation of scientific practice has become increasingly restricted, with the expansion, digitization and expansion of journals.

Recently, the problem of journal funding has reverted to the practice of paying per article, or per “recommended” translation. The same problem of finance, utility, and social justification has resulted in technological rationality’s appropriation of epistemological questions.

Highlight this classic difference between basic research, of a general nature, which performs the role of researcher training and interdisciplinary communication, and applied or focal research, which responds to specific demands and well-defined social or economic interests.

In other words, before the so-called social polarization, which emerged in 2013, science was already experiencing its own polarities between the hard sciences, the “real” sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology, and the humanities, such as anthropology, sociology and psychology. Within these areas, the perception grew that race, gender, class, and race transcended the processes of justification and recognition in science.

The third level of polarization can be found within departments, with a harsh hierarchy, fierce competition to increase grades in heads (and thus achieve benefits and more scholarship) or to create objective trends, copyright, if not research, dominance.

In this way we can understand the emergence of polarization, based on contempt for facts and imprecise interpretation of ideas, as part of the social realization that science is more diverse and divided than our vain hopes for a unified authority would like to admit. .

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In this way the temptation creeps in, which is essentially a request to confess, that if there is a dichotomy, why should I not defend the validity of my personal metaphysical beliefs? After all, if everything can be customized according to the will of the consumer, why not impose the same punishment and greater legitimacy of thoughts and beliefs on the same action?

To deal with this network of problems, it is interesting to add the models suggested by Axelroad [1] To understand polarization in general. For this purpose, he distinguishes nine types of polarization: scattered, dispersed, by coverage, regional, in fractured communities, by differentiation, by divergence, by group conformity and by parity size.

To counter this pluralism, three paradigms based, respectively, on cultural diffusion, on social consensus and on the structure of transmission of beliefs have been bypassed. This leads to the concept of basic polarizing traits, which are the physical signs of the fracture of society.

For example, “defense of the family” is an essential feature because it categorizes people. While we all support protecting our bonds, the noun expression refers to those “enemies” who “threaten the family.”

Polarization based on parity demand, for example, race or gender, responds to another mathematical model, and no one can explain localization-based polarization.

However, there are regular associations, for example, a decrease in polarization as a societal fraction, as we hear more and more among Brazilian families, may represent an increase in polarization as a collective consensus, such as for or against chloroquine.

However, this latter form of polarization has a peculiar decremental effect on other polarizations such as dispersal and coverage (superiority) or discrimination (superiority of cultural habits).

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The structural model of the equilibrium between polarizations depends on the development within a spectrum whose horizon is the “absolute extreme opinion”. In other words, it is as if the phenomenon of conviction is primary, and therefore it induces polarization by disagreement or unanimity, but it will not interfere with polarization by rifting in society or in the magnitude of equivalence.

This results in a conclusion of potential importance to the context of Brazil and the location of the scientific polarization within it.

The controversy over polarization is not a conflict of theses, but a struggle between different models of polarization.

The right tends to aggregate scattered (anti-corruption), dispersed (non-political poor), and divided (family) polarizations, creating a “them” that justifies the interactive power of “us.”

On the other hand, the left cultivates polarization by discrimination (moral and cognitive superiority), group consensus (parties and social movements) and by scale of parity (identity requirements). But here the vector goes from “we” to “them”.

That is why the equations are not closed: the right attacks the leftists and accuses them of corruption and arrogance. In turn, the left accuses the right of violence and vulgarity.

But when it comes to science, a different polarization emerges, with universities seen as fraudulent and regional (hence the systematic denial of our good positions in international rankings).

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has further polarized the question of international health policy, represented by the World Health Organization. Professors and scholars, along with left-wing artists and journalists, also represent the economic no-carat elite, the right of entrepreneurs would be the uneducated wealthy.

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Two different polarization logics clash here: right-wing regionalism and left-wing differentiation. Such reasoning is counter-intuitive in that, for almost every other subject, the left tends to value popular language while the right cultivates a hierarchy of distinction and merit.

This helps us understand why professors, thinkers, and researchers put their scholarly reputations on the line, as if their opinions when it comes to politics or public policy subsidies and their convictions become independent and uncomplicated of concepts and consensus. The practice was already in the statement of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who would have said: “Forget what I wrote.”

The professionalization of Brazilian research, on the basis of evaluation and productivity, of housing units in departments and knowledge farms, has led to the development of the embryo of cognitive polarization, but also created this side effect of punishing those who engage in public debate, in an attempt to translate science into transformative practices or criticism Intermittent, reactionary and illogical policies.


[1] Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grimm, Daniel J. Singer, William J. Berger, Graham Sack, Stephen Fisher, Karissa Floken, Bennett Holman (2017) Understanding Polarization: Meanings, Measures, and Model Philosophy of Science Evaluation, Volume 84, Number 1, January 2017.