Against imposture and pseudo-rationalism
Reconnect with the ethics of disputatio and knowledge as a common horizon
Bruno Andreotti, Camille Nous
... the public positions taken by a milieu that I will qualify here as pseudo-rationalist, mixing “skeptics”, zeteticians
, popularizers, “libertarian” activists, executives, engineers and young researchers, seem to me to be orthogonal in almost every way to my conceptions, which I have been teaching for more than twenty years in training modules in the scientific method by experimentation ...
... This editorial adopts the point of view of the practitioner, with an aim of objectification, on the one hand, and of alert, on the other hand, in the direction of academics, science amateurs as well as rationalists, on the attempts to deregulate the norms of scholarly truthfulness ...
Affected simplicity is a delicate sham
The social network Twitter constitutes a privileged field of observation of the constitution of a pseudo-rationalist community. If a few thousand French-speaking researchers and academics have accounts there and share scientific articles, their influence remains confined and their audience small. Most of what is written about science comes from popularization, the dissemination of press articles and the political debate around the regulation of industrial and agricultural techniques. The pseudo-rationalist community is made up of a few hundred people, hyperactive online, for the most part without scientific production (except for a few doctoral students, often in industrial thesis or resuming studies). Engineers are strongly represented there, and in particular those of large privatized public companies. There are also a few dozen farmers and around fifty “libertarian” activists, the “Ze”, forming a radicalized sub-milieu of commercial executives, traders, insurance executives, and so on. Among the salient figures of the pseudo-rationalist online milieu are three journalists, Emmanuelle Ducros (L'Opinion), Géraldine Woessner, (Le Point) and Peggy Sastre (Le Point et Causeur), a television host, Olivier Lesgourgues said Mac Lesggy, a “libertarian” entrepreneur, Laurent Alexandre, popularizing communicators from GRDF, EDF, Orano (ex-Areva), BASF and Bayer, as well as youtubers from the zetetic / skeptical movement. The #NoFakeScience forum was recently used to bring this community together. On Twitter, the “Ze”, the “Zet” and the others form a united but heterogeneous community, carrying attacks in packs and, defending themselves by adopting the posture of the digital martyr that I will describe below. Thus, the announcement of this article has earned me six threats of trial, the collection and dissemination of the few online photographs in which I appear, the search for my private address and an incredible cohort of insults.
Pseudo-rationalism is thus nourished by the frustration of senior executives who combine an attraction for science and a prolonged estrangement from its practice: the vocational training of the Grandes Écoles has never confronted them except with problems which admit pre-established computational solutions. It bears witness to the deleterious legacy of the Napoleonic system, based on competition, which never succeeded in reforming itself to come closer to the Humboldtian system, based on science.
Zététique was founded by Henri Broch in 1986 with the minitel 3615 ZET service, then reactivated in 1993 as a teaching of intellectual self-defense against charlatanism and against a supposed vogue for paranormal phenomena. Contract researcher, funded by military contracts since his thesis defended in 1978, Henri Broch has never published any scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal.. His courses are intended to be a playful popularization of the scientific method on subjects paradoxically made attractive by the spectacular nature that they intend to denounce. However, of the scientific method, as I defined it above, almost nothing remains except the objectified and reasoned reproduction of phenomena presented as paranormal. In particular, the entire collective dimension of the work of scientific truthfulness is evacuated. Zetetics claims on the contrary to transpose the scientific method to the scale of the individual as a way of apprehending his daily environment, methodical doubt and the exercise of reasoning being supposed to allow him to refute beliefs by their sole exercise. Compared to rationalism, it is not only the scientific institution which is dismissed in favor of doubt alone, but also the responsibility of the scientist in technoscientific development.
In parallel with the laboratory and the teaching of the same name, zététique appears as activism with the foundation by Paul-Éric Blanrue, then a royalist activist, of the Cercle Zététique in 1993, then, in 1994, of the Cahiers de zététique under the chairmanship of honor of Henri Broch. For 10 years, the far-right positions of Paul-Éric Blanrue are known and do not pose a problem, the zetetics supposedly transcending political divisions. The exercise of doubt leads him to get closer to Robert Faurisson: Paul-Éric Blanrue becomes anti-Semitic and negationist, qualifying "the question of the gas chambers and the Jewish genocide" as "the heart of the new world religion". The split of the zetetic micro-movement in 2003, the moderate fringe, which Paul-Éric Blanrue calls the “ostrich zetetics”, founding the Zététique Observatory, led to a radicalization of the Zététique Circle; This is evidenced by the posting of a video promoting Robert Faurisson and the resumption of accusations of plagiarism against Albert Einstein, issued by the Clock Club. In 2010, Paul-Éric Blanrue launched with Jean Bricmont, from the French Association for Scientific Information (AFIS), a petition against the Gayssot law, quickly signed by Bruno Gollnisch, Alain Soral, Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, Robert Faurisson and the zeteticians who remained in the Circle. Paul-Éric Blanrue today calls himself a “libertarian” and remains “specialized in the detection of hoaxes”.
However, it is necessary to wonder about the permanence of a porosity of the pseudo-rationalist community to political confusionism. Thus, Alain de Benoist was a member of the Rationalist Union, where he was introduced by the Vichyste Louis Rougier, who had been the author of 18 entries in the rationalist dictionary in the 1960s. Laurent Dauré is simultaneously a member of the board of directors of AFIS and a member of the board of the conspiracy party of François Asselineau, the Popular and Republican Union (UPR), after having been an activist in the far-right party of Paul- Marie Couteaux, Rally for the Independence of France (RIF). Yououtubeur Aurélien Enthoven, from the skeptical M-Gigantoraptor rebuttal channel, has also committed to the UPR. The claim of the Zeteticians to go beyond ideologies and the confidence placed in their posture as fact-checkers in the individual exercise of doubt act as facilitators of political confusionism. Arrested after a round table on Zététique with YouTubers close to the New Right of Alain de Benoist, the review Krisis and Alain Soral and with Serge Bret-Morel, ex-president of the Zététique Observatory, the Zététicien Youtubeur Thomas C. Durand, of the channel La Tronche en Biais, justified himself thus to the “right-thinking Twitter people”: “Certain activists […], obviously, believed that the zététique must in a certain way belong to them. […] Let us share the tools of critical thinking with everyone. "
the term "climatoscepticism" was coined in reference to the skeptical method and introduced in France by Charles Champetier, said Charles Müller, former right-hand man of Alain de Benoist at the Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilization européenne (GRECE) and to the far-right review, Elements. His climate-negationist views were disseminated by the AFIS review, thanks to his proximity to the libertarian journalist Peggy Sastre, with whom he co-wrote two books and who was then on the AFIS board of directors.
You don't have to be out of polytechnic to understand why Zombizy, why Tryphon, why Végaz ... Bouzo being out of the competition because caught up with the madness of placarded slackers to whom all that remains is the "it is the one who says who is".