At the Nice science faculty, are we going to do without zetetics, these courses in critical thinking and scientific methodology

The evocation, in the columns, of Nice morning Saturday, October 22, an obscure conference at the University of Valrose where antivax, practices specific to sectarian excesses, religions and pseudosciences were mixed, did not surprise everyone. In particular the defenders of zetetics, who fear to be endangered.

This discipline wants to develop the critical spirit in an educational way, by dismantling phenomena presented as paranormal (astrology, telekinesis…) in a rational way, with scientific method.

Before reaching France, the zététique was born in Nice, in Valrose, in the 1980s. Is this also where it will die out?

Classes canceled, premises threatened

First there was the disappearance of his teaching at the start of the 2019 school year, “without the teachers being informed”reports one of them.

And now the Zetetic Analysis Center – a place of documentary resources – but also the office of the association which provides conferences and events outside the faculty, is threatened by a reorganization of the premises of the university. This is what was said to the public during the conference on October 14, at the Espace Garibaldi.

On the phone, the father of genetics, the Nice biophysicist Henri Broch is embarrassed: a meeting is planned with the management and he still has hope that a solution will be found. But he confirms: “We have not been offered a relocation offer.”

Overcome the material problems, the displacement of the computers, the thousands of books, he said he understood that the association, which occupied the premises for free, could be put aside, even if he would like to be fixed.

On the other hand, he deplores the basic, structural problem: the abolition of lessons in 2019 at the University of Nice is more serious, according to him.

“Zetetics is fundamental, especially at the moment”

Henri Broch draws a parallel with a conflict that takes place at the University of Nancy: Thomas Durand, also a YouTuber, known by the pseudonym La Tronche en bias, was dismissed after criticizing homeopathy in his zetetic lessons.

“Zetetics is important, fundamentalemphasizes Henri Broch. It is the art of doubt. You have to develop critical thinking. Especially at the moment, given the deluge of information, especially on social networks. People who become conspirators select only information that is favorable to them and eliminate anything that may be in doubt. There are only instinctive reactions. It works the guts instead of the brain. We want the opposite.”

When contacted, the university management did not respond to our requests.

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