Zuckerberg at F8 Conference AFP/Stringer

Un regard scientifique sur un monde postfactuel

VIENNE – Nous venons d’entrer dans une nouvelle ère inquiétante. Le volume considérable de faussetés et de mensonges éhontés débités au cours de la campagne électorale présidentielle des États-Unis découle du dédain grandissant pour les connaissances factuelles, comme tend à le démontrer la prolifération de fausses nouvelles disséminées sur les plateformes de médias sociaux comme Facebook et Twitter sans passer par les filtres du journalisme professionnel.

Dès le référendum du Brexit du Royaume-Uni en juin, l’opinion générale jugeait déjà superflue l’opinion des experts. Les élites du monde entier étant accusées d’être indifférentes au sort du peuple, l’amertume et la colère font ombrage aux délibérations fondées sur les faits. Dans un tel climat d’inquiétude, de confusion et de nostalgie pour un passé mythique, l’émotion brute ne peut que régner. Les règles des débats publics sont devenues caduques, et l’horizon illimité des avenirs possibles se rétrécit en une échappatoire que les marchands de peur dépeignent comme le seul moyen d’avancer.

Voilà une piètre façon de composer avec l’incertitude qui contraste fortement avec la méthode scientifique et le libre examen des faits. En science, l’incertitude constitue un puissant aiguillon pour acquérir des connaissances ; en fait, c’est la première motivation pour faire de la recherche, qui est par nature imprévisible.

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