A la place de Darwin

BERKELEY – Imaginez que vous êtes un jeune scientifique, qui consacre des années à recueillir des informations sur la base du fonctionnement de la nature. Vous forgez votre réputation en collectant des plantes, des animaux, des fossiles et des échantillons géologiques du monde entier ; et en répondant à des courriers qui ont suivi vos progrès et font de vous un scientifique de premier plan. À votre retour d'un grand voyage de cinq ans, vous découvrez avec surprise que vous êtes une étoile montante de la science.

Tout au long de votre voyage et les années suivantes, se sont levés les voiles qui dissimulaient des explications naturelles incroyablement simples et pourtant puissantes. Vous comprenez alors que vous exploriez une terre intellectuelle vierge. Vos mentors universitaires et les scientifiques dont vous avez lu les travaux se heurtaient à de grands problèmes qui semblent désormais, si ce n’est résolus, au moins résolubles.

Les gens parlaient de l’évolution depuis des décennies et vous, vous arrivez avec une théorie – la sélection naturelle – qui pourrait bien en expliquer la majeure partie. Vous prenez conscience que révéler ce que vous venez de comprendre révolutionnera non seulement votre domaine scientifique, mais anéantira potentiellement nombre de fondements religieux et philosophiques de vos compatriotes.

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