Science Anxiety

Psychologists who conduct the experiment describe these respective behavioral patterns as a secure and anxious-ambivalent attachment. The latter is the product of inconsistent parenting, neglect mixed with intrusive attention. The child’s inability to depend reliably on its parent prevents the growth of the child’s independence. The vacillating parent creates a vacillating child, pulled one moment by neediness and the next by wariness, in a simple harmonic motion of dysfunction.

Whatever the merits of this tidy theory on its own, it’s a useful metaphor for thinking about the relationship today between the public and that vast body of knowledge, work, and authority we monolithically call “science.” Our conversations about science are dominated on one side by those who reflexively distrust broad swathes of it as corrupted by groupthink, corporatism, or global governance conspiracy, and on the other by those keen to distance themselves as far as possible from the first group, to label any deviation from scientists’ opinions as paranoia, “denialism,” “anti-science.”


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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