Association française pour l'information scientifique

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Association française pour l'information scientifique
AFIS logo.png
AbbreviationAFIS
FormationNovember 1968; 50 years ago (1968-11)
TypeNonprofit organisation
PurposeFurthering scientific skepticism
Headquarters4 Rue des Arènes 75005
Location
Region served
France
Membership (2010)
700[1]
President
Louis-Marie Houdebine
AffiliationsEuropean Council of Skeptical Organisations
Websitepseudo-sciences.org

The Association française pour l'information scientifique or AFIS (English: French Association for Scientific Information) is an association regulated by the French law of 1901, founded under the leadership of Michel Rouzé in November 1968.[2] As a skeptical organisation, it has been a member of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations since 2001,[3] and publishes the magazine Science et pseudo-sciences ("Science and pseudosciences").

Purpose[edit]

Statement of principles: "The AFIS strives to promote science against those who deny its cultural value, abuse it for criminal purposes or as a cover for quackery." According to the AFIS, science itself cannot solve humanity's problems, nor can one solve them without using the scientific method. Citizens should be informed about scientific and technical advancements and the problems it helps to solve, in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of the pressure from particular interests. They should be warned against false sciences and against those who propagate them in the media for personal or financial gain. Via its magazine, Science et pseudo-sciences, the association states it wants:

  • to collect a number facts from current affairs in science and technology to consider them from a human perspective first;
  • to distribute scientific information about all disciplines of research via the news, in a language that everyone can understand;
  • to unconditionally denounce peddlers of false science or pseudoscience (astrology, flying saucers, sects, the "paranormal", fake medicine), malevolent charlatans and suppliers of irrationality;
  • to defend scientific thinking against the threat of a new obscurantism.

Independent of all pressure groups, it rejects any concession to sensationalism, disinformation and complacency regarding the irrational.[4]

Publication[edit]

The AFIS publishes a quarterly magazine Science et pseudo-sciences ("Science and pseudosciences"). According to the association, the magazine had 1400–1500 subscribers and a readership of 1400–2800 per issue in 2010.[1] In 2010, the sale of the magazine delivered a revenue of €82,232 for production costs and €60,125 for postage costs.[5] Engineer and physicist Sebastien Point is a member of AFIS and of the magazine. He has also written for the English magazine Skeptical Inquirer about free energy and chromotherapy,[6] and about wrong beliefs surrounding electromagnetic radiations.[7][8]

Controversies[edit]

Astrology[edit]

When Élizabeth Teissier's dissertation Situation épistémologique de l'astrologie à travers l'ambivalence fascination/rejet dans les sociétés postmodernes ("Epistemological Situation of Astrology across the Ambivalence of Fascination/Rejection in Postmodern Societies") was accepted at the Paris Descartes University in April 2001, it caused an uproar within the scientific community. The AFIS took the initiative to critically analyse Teissier's thesis.[9] It turned out to be a plea for astrology, presented as a sociological study, and did not comply with any academic standards for a dissertation. The analysis was conducted by a group of astrophysicists and astronomers (Jean-Claude Pecker, Jean Audouze and Denis Savoie), sociologists (Bernard Lahire and Philippe Cibois), a philosopher (Jacques Bouveresse) and specialists of pseudosciences (Henri Broch and Jean-Paul Krivine).[10] Teissier rejected the criticism of the contents of her sociological dissertation, and branded the AFIS as the "Taliban of culture."[11]

GMOs[edit]

In 2007, AFIS started a petition against the moratorium of genetically modified maize in France.[12][13][14] It published numerous articles on GMOs.[15] It also lobbied in the Senate during the discussion of the law on GMOs in 2008.[16][17] In March 2008, this position of the association led a member of AFIS' Scientific Council, Marcel-Francis Kahn, emeritus professor in medicine at Paris Diderot University, to resign on the grounds that "the AFIS – without having consulted our opinion – made a 180° turn to a genuine pro-GMO lobby".[18] He also alleged a connection between two members, Marcel Kuntz and Louis-Marie Houdebine, and "Monsanto or its affiliates". However, Kahn was unable to produce "real evidence" to back up these accusations.[19] Meanwhile, the AFIS maintains its "total independence from any industrial group".[20]

Global warming[edit]

After the publication of the report on global warming, including giving a voice to climate sceptics such as Vincent Courtillot and Benoît Rittaud,[21][22] the association received criticism from climatologists and the Union rationaliste.[23] Sylvestre Huet, science journalist at Libération, expressed his disappointment with the "mediocre" coverage of the topic in a critique of the association.[24]

Board and transparency[edit]

Presidents[edit]

Jean Bricmont, president 2001–2006.
  • Michel Rouzé (1969–1999)
  • Jean-Claude Pecker (1999–2001)
  • Jean Bricmont (2001–2006)
  • Michel Naud (2006–2011)
  • Louis-Marie Houdebine (2011–2014)
  • Anne Perrin (since 2014)

Scientific Council and sponsoring commission[edit]

Editorial staff Science et pseudo-sciences and website[edit]

  • Jean-Paul Krivine (editor-in-chief).
  • Bruno Przetakiewicz (webmaster)

Transparency[edit]

In 2008, after the work of the Prometheus Foundation on the transparency barometer of NGOs, the AFIS wanted to participate in a process of transparency by publicising the composition of the board council, the finances and activities reports.[25] The accounts of the association have not been published since 2011 and the minutes of its activities have not been published since 2012.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rapport d'activités" (PDF). Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  2. ^ Jean-Pierre Thomas. "Notre histoire". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. ^ Mike Heap (June 2002). "From the Chairman: The 10th European Skeptics Congress". Skeptical Adversaria. Association for Skeptical Enquiry. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Principes". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Comptes de l'exercice 2010" (PDF). Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  6. ^ Point, Sebastien (2018). "Free Energy: When the Web Is Freewheeling". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 42 (1): 52–55.
  7. ^ https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/features/shouldnt-afraid-leds/
  8. ^ https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/public-health/electromagnetic-waves-and-health-when-lawyers-think-they-are-physicists/
  9. ^ "Communiqué de l'AFIS Thèse d'Élizabeth Teissier". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. 26 April 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  10. ^ Bernard Lahire; Philippe Cibois; Dominique Desjeux; Jean Audouze; Henri Broch; Jean-Paul Krivine; Jean-Claude Pecker; Jacques Bouveresse (6 August 2001). "Analyse de la thèse de Madame Élizabeth Teissier" (in French). Analyse de la thèse de Madame Élizabeth Teissier. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  11. ^ Thierry Ardisson (10 November 2001). "Interview biographie de Elizabeth Teissier". Tout le monde en parle (in French). France 2/Dailymotion. Retrieved 2 April 2015.(13:25)
  12. ^ "Des scientifiques s'en prennent aux anti-OGM". L'Éxpress (in French). 14 December 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  13. ^ Michel Naud (2008). "Rapport d'activité, assemblée générale 17 mai 2008" (PDF). Website AFIS (in French). p. 11. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Non au gel (moratoire) de la culture du maïs OGM résistant à la pyrale". Website petition against GMO ban (in French). AFIS. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  15. ^ "OGM – Afis". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. October 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Comment le Sénat et les lobbies ont réécrit le projet de loi OGM". Mediapart (in French). 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Biotechnologies & Agriculture durable, un post-Grenelle de l'environnement". agrobiosciences.org (in French). January 2008.
  18. ^ "Le Dr Kahn dénonce les liens de l'AFIS avec Monsanto". Website Combat Monsanto (in French). Combat Monsanto. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  19. ^ "When questioned, Marcel-Francis Kahn willingly confirmed that he is "against the campaign of unconditional defence of GMOs that the AFIS has conducted for the past two years", and that he opines that "there are probably ties between these two researchers and Monsanto and its affiliates". But the doctor immediately added that he was not aware of any "specific facts", and that he had "no evidence" to support his claims." "OGM : Marie-Monique Robin contre Monsanto". arretsurimages.net (in French). 25 April 2008.
  20. ^ "Elle court, elle court la rumeur..." Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  21. ^ Vincent Courtillot & Jean-Louis Le Mouël (July 2010). "Et le Soleil dans tout cela ?". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  22. ^ Stéphane Adrover & Benoît Rittaud (July 2010). "Un point de vue sceptique sur la thèse " carbocentriste "". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  23. ^ Stéphane Foucart (20 September 2012). "Le rationalisme, au risque du biais "anti-écolo"". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  24. ^ Sylvestre Huet & Michel Naud (July 2010). "Réchauffement climatique : dialogue avec Sylvestre Huet". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  25. ^ a b "Gouvernance et transparence". Website AFIS (in French). AFIS. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2015.

External links[edit]