Book: Fighting the Influence of “Fake News” – Sciences et Avenir

This article is taken from the monthly journal Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche No. 912 of February 2023.

“We believe that the history of the fall and decline of the ducks of the past can help to critically reflect on the ducks of the present.” In this highly topical text against false beliefs, enriched by a clear foreword by professor of zoology and taxonomy Guillaume Lecointre, physicist Hubert Crivin analyzes the instrumentalization of interpretations of sacred texts and the ensuing interference of religions and forgeries in the scientific and public fields, which often open the way for political manipulation.

Defining fake news as misleading claims, he analyzes their impact on cases chosen according to their exemplary toxicity: Claude Allegre’s climate skepticism, Jacques Benveniste’s memories of water, creationism, homeopathy – against which he takes a slightly nuanced stance, except that since they produce as many effects as the placebo effect, why not…! Or the virtues of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-Covid-19 drug that Didier Raoult advocated, the recent vaccine controversy, which remains a textbook case of the collapse of trust in authorities in the face of a drift that has reduced science to one opinion alike another.

But what does it mean to trust? What tools to deal with fake news in conditions when they are spreading at lightning speed? We cannot be satisfied with stating the truth: our elites do not have a scientific culture, and we must teach the history of science, which does not state the truth, but proves the facts along the way, littered with errors.

“Would we be lied to? From Rumor to Fake News, Hubert Crivin, foreword by Guillaume Lecointre, De Boeck Supérieur, 158 pages, €15.90.

Credit: De Beek Superior

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