Science in the service of no one

Moses Wasserman, in his column of the timedescribes, and exposes, a document likely to narrate the foundations of the new government’s science, technology and innovation policy, and shows that the document presents two concepts that, in his view, are “wrong and dangerous”: the science of hegemony and the knowledge of justice.

The term “cognitive injustice” was coined in 2007 by philosopher Miranda Fricker, and seeks to refer to injustice and inequality of power within practices such as science and medicine. Fricker speaks of “interpretive injustice,” “a gap in collective interpretation resources that puts someone at an unfair position as to understanding their social experiences,” for example, many people in Colombia do not speak English, and therefore do not have access to the bulk of the production The academic and scientific world, but also, many people in Colombia speak indigenous languages ​​and do not find academic production in their language, so their community will have more barriers to accessing that knowledge and very limited possibilities to participate in its construction. Fricker also talks about the “injustice of testimony,” which is when a person is not taken seriously because of gender, class, or racial prejudice, among other things. For example, when Wasserman says lightly that the document contains “16 pages in which ‘delicious living’ appears 14 times as the object of science”. When people like Wasserman read “The Delicious Life,” they dismiss this powerful political utopia because it seems naive and weird. Boaventura de Sousa Santos also explains that there is an epistemological injustice caused by imperialism and colonialism. Epistemological justice, then, did not begin with belief in creationism, as Wasserman loosely posits: “It does not mean equivalence between different types of knowledge, but simply the recognition and non-exclusion of socially relevant knowledge and traditions,” as the philosopher Ambrosio Velasco explains.

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Science is already influenced by the dynamics of our social power, historically it has been dominated by white and heterosexual men, not because they are “objectively” better but because they have more opportunities in the field. The lack of diversity in the sciences has created practices of domination where women, people of color and transgender people end up being excluded from participating in creating the consensus that Wasserman talks about. The lack of diversity in science has led to knowledge gaps and practical problems, such as the fact that voice recognition software has a 70% greater probability of correctly recognizing male voices or that medicine has not adequately studied diseases such as endometriosis, which affects 10% . of women, and why conditions such as autism or heart disease in women go undiagnosed, are among the millions of examples.

Wasserman’s critique, like everything, including science, is political critique. Because Petro now decides who will run the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the two names apparently being Congressman Ivan Dario Agudillo, who is part of the “Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences in the ‘Academic Friends’ category”, and was the promoter of the creation of this ministry; and academic Irene Velez, close to Francia Márquez who has studied environmental and agricultural problems related to armed conflict and “mercury pollution in mining contexts, as well as the effects of the use of chemicals such as glyphosate on crops, water and land dispossession in various extractive frontiers, and food sovereignty in rural and ethnic contexts” , which, in addition to its impressive academic credentials, is known for its criticism of the sciences of hegemony.And though some gentlemen of the academia are confused, it would be great to see this political transformation in a ministry that has historical debts with rural and ethnic communities and which has enormous contributions to peacebuilding, if It was possible to put, as Velez says, “science at the service of the nobility”.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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