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‘More Than Ever, the Republic Needs Scientists!’ Says French Lawmakers’ Resolution

PARIS, Dec. 4, 2016 (Nouvelle Solidarité)—While decades ago Lyndon LaRouche and his international associates stood mostly alone when they denounced and exposed the arrival of a "new dark age," today finally, in the face of the current breakdown of overall knowledge in the West, some people seem willing to come to their senses. This clearly appears to be the case with three dozen French Deputies, across party lines, who introduced into the National Assembly on Nov. 15 the text of a "Proposed Resolution on Science and Progress in the Republic" (No. 4214 and 4215).

The resolution pointedly calls on the government to take bold steps to drastically raise education of all citizens in the domain of science, notably in schools and public media, and the preamble of the resolution echoes some of the best traditions of French history, in particular the Ecole Polytechnique founded by Lazard Carnot and Gaspard Monge, which became the model for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. For example, the resolution remarkably points out that the decay of scientific knowledge results from a growing confusion between "opinion" and "knowledge" based on scientific hypothesis.

Excerpts of the preamble:

"‘The Republic has no need of scientists!’ were the words spoken by the president of the Revolutionary Tribunal condemning the chemist Lavoisier in 1794 after the suppression of the Academy of Sciences [founded by Colbert and Leibniz] by the Convention.... If today, this form of obscurantism seems outdated ... we have to confront a climate of distrust of scientific institutions and scientists, which comprise, in fact, a strong pillar of our Republic.

"With the development of the modern industrial age came leaps of progress and a freedom of creation with the emergence of great inventors (Lavoisier, Faraday, Edison, Darwin, Pasteur, Poincaré, Marie Curie, Einstein, Pauling, Planck, Schrödinger, De Gennes, Charpak....and even Steve Jobs). However, today, the importance and place of scientific culture is in a clear regression in our country and our Republic.

"While favoring the access to culture, the advent of digitalization and internet use amplifies deregulation of the market in scientific information and giving way to the spread of the most dangerous beliefs to such an extent that both public authorities and citizens alike are increasingly having trouble identifying the ranking of necessary elements in order to make valid scientific and technological decisions.

"The source of this worrisome evolution is the increasingly marked confusion between the result of knowledge obtained from a rigorous scientific investigation and what merely results from beliefs and disinformation. That translates increasingly into calling into question the growing cultural value and the social impact of scientific work.

"By the confusion maintained between knowledge and opinion in the public and digital sphere, the resulting distrust threatens the activity and the foundations of scientific research...."

The preamble concludes:

"The language of science must again find its proper place at the heart of the great debates in our democracy, both in elected bodies and among ministries. In their time, such statesmen as Pierre Mendès France, General de Gaulle and François Mitterrand elevated scientific research and its applications to the rank of a national priority. That is no longer the case today and even the very nature of progress itself is being called into question. Of course it must be brought under control and shared, but the Republic has to have faith in scientific progress which was and remains the main factor of economic, medical, social and environmental progress. More than ever, the Republic needs scientists."