[Opinion] Stand up for unconditional academic freedom

[Opinion] Stand up for unconditional academic freedom

Lieutenant Veruschka Duval’s comment on his use of the “n” at the University of Ottawa caused a lot of ink to flow into Quebec in the fall of 2020. The very idea that academics should henceforth silence certain ideas or intellectual practices to avoid the slightest sensitivity has piqued the interest of their students. Many citizens, especially journalists, professors, university presidents and public decision-makers. To protect Quebec from such an attack, the legislator created a commission whose report led to the adoption of a law on June 7.

The ink had not yet dried on the document when Laval University vowed to mock that freedom by suspending for eight weeks without pay two professors, Patrick Provost, professor of biochemistry, and world-renowned researcher specializing in ARN, as well as biology professor Nicolas Derom. The reason: They dared openly question the safety of vaccines against COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination for children.

In the first case, a colleague who had been offended by Professor Provost’s assertions chose to file a complaint with his university management rather than just discuss it or discuss it publicly, as in university tradition, and thus adopted the censorship strategy adopted by students at the University of Ottawa a year earlier…

At the end of the investigation, which was conducted by a panel headed by a lawyer, but whose composition is not public, the management of Laval University concluded that there was confirmation bias, biased interpretations and, worse, the delivery of polarizing information and a lack of accountability to the general public. However, it is enough to read major scientific journals such as temper nature where Science To find, in almost every rendition, texts that err in the same way without their authors being repeatedly suspended by their institution.

There is no doubt, when reading these conclusions, that Laval University is working against fundamental freedoms to achieve the university’s mission. However, unlike Lieutenant Duval’s story, the Vice President’s case aroused little public interest. Although the major media outlets reporting on the issue descriptively agree on the controversial nature of the referral, most do not seem adept at presenting the fundamental and social issue without simultaneously taking a stand on the essential controversy which is nonetheless a matter of science. As for the political world, aside from the strong support for academic freedom on the part of Secretary Danielle McCann, there is also radio silence.

READ  Vincent Laudi, Defender of the Seas

If some consider academic freedom necessary when the offensive position is what they are defending, they think it is less important if the statement is not unanimous. As if they could then pretend for themselves the absolute right to establish the truth and support censorship of anything they might question, a position against the scientific method itself which is clearly the position of Laval University.

As the philosopher of science Karl Popper explained nearly a century ago, you can never prove a theory (other than a trivial one) in science, you can only try to find an error in it. As for consensus, when it explodes, science makes its greatest leaps, as historian of science Thomas Kuhn has explained. However, reinforcing this fragmentation is not easy: it is precisely necessary to target carefully selected facts (confirmation bias, partial explanations) and defend their relevance to the dominant discourse (leading to information polarization). Of course, every questioning turns out to be unfounded, and many researchers have stumbled into the error for years. However, one success is enough to remind us how important the scientific method, which can only be annoying, is to the development of knowledge.

closer to us, Quebec government organic ethicists have been ahead in 2020 on the pandemic : “Reference to ‘science’ cannot be presented as the sole source of public health decisions, without referring in parallel to the main areas of uncertainty and the reasons on which the decision is based despite the uncertainties, particularly political reasons.”

Finally, the Laval University administration’s argument for abuse in front of the public arises in direct contrast to the policy of the Quebec Research Funds and the various Canadian councils that require the work and interventions of professors to be accessible to the public. to the public so that the science can be disseminated there with the greatest openness. We cannot protect the public and give them full access to the running science.

READ  How to free up storage space on your cloud?

That is why the sheer validity of the words of Professors Patrick Provost and Nicolas Dérum cannot be at the heart of the issue here. This validity, which is often all shades of gray, cannot be settled by university management or an anonymous panel led by a lawyer, but by public scholarly discussion that is likely to continue for many more years.

In light of the above and in compliance with Law 32 on Academic Freedom, we request, regardless of our position on COVID vaccination, that the Laval University administration acknowledge its mistakes and immediately lift the suspension of researchers Patrick Provost and Nicolas Dérom.

I signed this letter (in alphabetical order):

Claudine Allen, Professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Optics, Université Laval

Guillaume Bloom, Associate Professor, School of Design, Université Laval

Olivier Poiral, Professor at Université Laval

Yves Bonnier-Figer, Medical Specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Regional Director of Public Health for Gaspezi and the Islands and Professor, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval

Pierre Leo Bourbonnis Ph.D., Research Associate and Lecturer, Polytechnic Montreal

Jill Bronchetti, Emeritus Professor, Department of Anatomy, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres and President of the Professors’ Union at the University of Queensland.

Julien Bureau, Professor of Education Sciences, Laval University

Bonnie Campbell, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Quebec in Montreal

Karen Collette, Professor of Discourse Analysis, University of Sherbrooke

David Conciatori, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Université Laval

Alan Denault, University of Moncton

Daniel Deroches, Professor of Philosophy, Collège Lionel-Groulx

Philippe Dube, Associate Professor, Department of Historical Sciences, Université Laval

Myriam Erts, Professor of Marketing, University of Quebec at Chicôtime

Mary Fall, Professor of Geography and International Cooperation, UQAC

Jean-Sebastien Valaud, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Psychological Education at the University of Montreal

Louis Favreau, Sociologist, Professor Emeritus, University of Quebec at Outaouais

Bernard Fruto de Laclos, MD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval

Caroline Gagnon, Professor at Laval University

Jocelyn Gagnon, Full Professor, Specialist in Effectiveness of Intervention in Physical Education and Sport, Université Laval

Laurence Guillaumie, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Université Laval

Audrey Grouleau, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres

Alan Goebel, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Queensland

Pierre J. Hamel, INRS

Claudine Johnny, College Nursing Instructor

Andre Goyal, 4 vaccinations, associate professor at Qatar University

Amir Khedr, MD, Medical Microbiology, Infection, Le Gardère Hospital

Caroline Laberge, family physician, clinical professor at Université Laval

Marie-France Labric, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, Université Laval

Paul-Andre Lapointe, Professor, Department of Industrial Relations, Université Laval.

Frédéric Lasserre, Professor in the Department of Geography, Université Laval

Helen Makdisi, Emeritus Professor – Laval University

Sylvain Marois, Lecturer, Department of Industrial Relations, PhD student in Industrial Relations, Université Laval

Jean Michaud, Professor of Anthropology, Université Laval

Louise Morand, Ph.D. Education, McGill Yu.

Norman Musso, Professor of Physics, University of Montreal

Patrick Mundler, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Laval University

Paul H. Naccache, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval

Dr. Jean-Baptiste Paolini, CIUSSS-NIM Anesthesiologist, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Montreal

Jan Parady, Retired General Manager of Collège Dalma

Liz Barnett, Professor of Environmental Science, Tulk University

Madeleine Bastenelli, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, Université Laval

Chantal Poliot, Professor of Science Education, Université Laval

a. Hadi Kadri, political science teacher at Cegep de Saint-Jérôme

Christophe Rottnor, Professor of Mathematics, Queensland State University

Danny Rondo, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, University of Quebec at Rimouski

Alan Rouleau, Professor Emeritus, UQAC

Daniel Ross Ross, Emeritus Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, ÉTS

Jean-Philippe Sabinski, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Moncton

Bernard Saulnier, M.;

Lucie Sauvé, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal

Catherine Simard, Professor of Science Education, Qatar University

Hugh Thomas, Professor of Mathematics, UQAM, and Canadian Research Chair holder.

Pierre-Luc Turcotte, erg. Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa

Louise Vandelac, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology and Institute of Environmental Sciences, UQAM

Let’s see in the video

READ  Vitamin D has an effect on mortality

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.