A history of the negaTWOnist movement
Some time ago in the city of Larkinstrongner in Germany, great advances in Social Sciences began.
Researchers in these areas were getting strong results from their studies and considering some strategies for effective public policies for population development.
Not all results were to the liking of the researchers or followed the trend they initially wanted, but their ethics with Science made them publicize these results with the greatest possible integrity.
However, the researchers were so focused on their work for the good of society, that they considered it more beneficial to work for the betterment of society, than to try to explain to society what they were doing. This way of thinking was still prevalent, after all his investigations used very complex assumptions and theories to explain himself in ordinary language.
Even the researchers who tried to make this communication ended up scaring people more, because they seemed to talk about absurd things, or even pretended to be crazy, full of terms, names, and data that were hardly understood, but the more the researcher tried to explain , less people thought they were able to understand, and said that it was all out of this world. And in this trend, studies followed, the population did not want to know what was happening there, and the researchers wanted to propose better public policies for the population … it seemed that in this symbiosis everyone was winning, even without understanding each other.
However, a group decides to oppose the current government in the region, they do not have a plan, they have no goals, their goal was simply to overthrow the current power and assume it. But it is clear that they could not say with those words what their intentions were, so they began to incite doubt in the population, to use metaphors and analogies to bring insecurity about what the researchers were doing. And take exceptions, rules to invalidate your results. With these actions, they went head-to-head against public policies, and managed to convince the population that they were losing with all that, after all all research was centered on the idea of collectives, when ‘the truth is obvious’, there are no collectives.
They said that scientists worked on a lie, after all they drew conclusions about invented people, after all, each person is unique, cannot be generalized, each one should be treated as a unitary being, and not as a whole. Although strange, this idea was reinforced from ‘stories’ about exceptions, about examples that research didn’t work with, about cases in which these results turned out to be ‘liars’, and thus ignoring the whole concept of becoming science.
The movement grew and gradually put pressure on public management, universities began to be intimidated, researchers found themselves in a context of fear. They tried not to mention groups in their studies, tried to expand the way of working to analyze each individual as a unique case, and with that the generalizations that made their applicable results possible, were decreasing. The public policies fostered by the research were weakening and the movement that denied the existence of nothing but the uniqueness of people grew. Many families adhered to this thought, after all, it is not possible to compare their children, nor consider them equal to those of neighbors, let alone compare them with children of strangers, absurd, they are each, a unique being.
The strength of this movement to deny human study as groups grew, and its supporters became more hostile in the arguments. They pressed for cuts in research, justifying the lack of really important results, said that researchers didn’t really work, and supported their lies based on the idea of human collectives, just to feed on taxes.
The mobilizations were so intense that this group reached its goals, reaching power accompanied by crowds that idolized them as those who saved them from the clutches of researchers and the old government that forced them to pay their living costs and their senseless research.
After several years in power, this group hardly brought any improvements to the population, but they regularly associated their actions as positive given the benefits of considering each person as unique. Time passed, and the management changed, the story of what happened back there was no longer so vivid in people, they knew that something had been done, that they had won a hard battle, but they did not remember for sure what , and they couldn’t even say what they achieved with all that, but they knew it was good.
New generations were emerging, and old research was carefully resumed, keeping a lesson learned by the elders and passed on to those who started this journey. Bringing the knowledge of what happens in the university to the population, is not spending time, it is an investment in Science. One way to prevent fallacies from spreading, and new movements based on weak or false arguments, to grow again and to bring unplanned leaders to power.
This is a totally invented story, the city mentioned does not even exist.
The reason for bringing this story invented in this math blog, is to discuss the importance of quantities. Numbers are inventions, two bananas will always be different, we can call them B1 and B2, and any third banana (B3) will be different from B1 and B2. For if we look at any object sufficiently magnified, we will see that in fact it is something unique, its atoms are arranged in such a way that they differ in some aspect from each other. The more in the case of people, any two people will always be two different units, P1 and P2, we cannot say that they are the same to want to analyze them together without this having any loss. How much more to analyze millions of people? This has a cost, it has a series of data that will be lost to adhere to a simplified model of being human.
However, thinking about people within groups has a greater potential to generalize the study data than when we think of each individual as a particular case. For example, in ENEM’s (a Brazilian evaluation of high school that takes place nationwide) socioeconomic questionnaires, we have millions of high school graduates answering them every year, analyzing this individually, considering each student as a unique being is, on the one hand, coherent, yet unfeasible. An analysis ignoring various aspects of the individual to consider them within groups, allows us to arrive at results that make us think about various subjects, such as the influence of parent education on student performance.
When we think of a group, we think of an imaginary human being profile, but whose conclusion that we reach this imaginary individual must reach part of the members of that group. There will always be exceptions, this is a price to pay for generalizations, but such a way of thinking allows us to propose greater changes, to think about forms of management and public policies.
Cover image credit to Sarah Lötscher from Pixabay