November 29, 2022

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Leopardi explains conspiracy theorists and there is no better facsimile than science

One of the greatest writers of our history had already understood the mechanism that gives life today to the so-called echo chambers

The new shape marks the beginning of the end of the epidemic.
The new variant is more contagious and will break any previous immunity.
Pfizer’s new drug will save us.
Pfizer’s data is fake.
We will never get rid of the virus.
The virus will disappear on its own.
Vaccines kill more than SARS-CoV-2.
Vaccines kill the virus.
Schools are safe.
Schools are the engine of the epidemic.

Here: This is a brief sequence of sentences that sums up, word plus word minus, a small sample of the theses backed up with increasing strength by the interviewees now assembled into opposing factions, who do not seem absolutely willing to wait for the necessary data before drawing firm conclusions. It is fashionable today to explain this tendency to support preconceived and opposing positions, both in the absence and against the available data, as a gratification of the confirmation bias of the individual; In this regard, the most recent studies on social forums are invoked, those which have shown the existence of various closed societies called bubbles, tribes or echo chambers, crowded with people who are glad to hear their repeated opinions and are in solidarity in condemning the other, maximum if it is of an opposite sign.

I would like to take this opportunity, as a modern interpretation based on data collected on millions of people helps us rationalize behaviors that are clearly not rational or beneficial to society, and skew toward my particular purpose, which is to give support to the thesis I sporadically pursue. From these pages, about the useful amalgamation of the scientific study of data and facts, the knowledge of letters and other subjects of the human field, including the very mortal philosophy, which would have much to teach if not so much on the lips of bad teachers.

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Confirmation bias was newly investigated through large-scale data collection and analysis using appropriate statistical tools and the formulation of predictions and descriptions with a quantified margin of error, which in turn was verified by more data sets. After the evidence for the phenomenon has been established on a solid basis, its neurological and neurochemical mechanisms are now being investigated: for example, a very interesting study conducted on volunteers and Published in Nature Neuroscience Neurobiological correlates of confirmation bias have been found in the activity of the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of ​​the brain involved in defining information that alters decision based on the information cues we receive. This is science: proving the true existence of a phenomenon, even if it is complex as in this case, and deepening the mechanisms of its action, in order to reach the origin of the phenomenon at least at the descriptive level, if not the causal..

However, those who have studied deeply even in school offices only what intellectuals, writers and philosophers have also written in our country over the centuries, will perhaps remember one of the ideas of Giacomo Leopardi, the fifty-fourth, which begins thus: “It is a general axiom that man, except for a brief period, notwithstanding any certainty and evidence to the contrary of things, never leaves it between himself and himself. [sic], and even to hide this from others, to believe that these things are true, and to believe in them is necessary for the calmness of the soul, so to speak, to be able to live“.

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Now, if we remember these words written two centuries ago by a man of letters, and not by a scientist, we might better understand the behavior of those who stubbornly denounce a global conspiracy based on giving vaccines, as well as those who stubbornly supported the disappearance of the virus in the summer of 2020 or In short any other particular nonsense; And if only science (and only in modern times) is able to provide quantitative material and an accurate explanation of Leopardi’s observation, yet this intuition, even in the absence of an explanation, can help modern information navigators to give themselves a reason for this who observes.