A proposed method for the future
To prevent this type of situation from happening again, the signatories propose a method: “The international community has extremely effective tools“, explains immunologist Sophie Lucas, “to check the recent scientific activity of people who are active in a field, in a very specific discipline. We therefore propose that a status of scientific expert be validated by two of six different bodies in Belgium, namely the National Fund for Scientific Research in Belgium (FNRS) or its Dutch-speaking equivalent, the FWO, or the Dutch-speaking or French-speaking Academies science or medicine. These six bodies are perfectly capable of evaluating whether objectively, rationally, scientific activity is recognized by peers at the international level. And without this validation, no one should be heard as a scientific expert.”
This does not mean that a person could no longer be heard at all, but simply as an actor and author of an opinion, not as a scientific expert.
This collective letter received 3 responses, all of which fit into a common summary. These 3 deputies said that they were aware and that they had been outraged by the presence of this “false expert” in the hearings of the Chamber and that the authors should be reassured on the fact that most of the parliamentarians who heard this no one was aware of the limits of his remarks. The immunologist Sophie Lucas is however not reassured: “To be heard by the House is to receive a guarantee by the highest legislative body of our country, I’m sorry, but it has to be earned somewhere. And we citizens have no right to be fooled into believing in untruths because parliamentarians have agreed to hear from people who spread these untruths“, she continues.
Apart from these 3 reactions, the Commission has not yet followed up on this open letter and this proposal for validation of the scientific expertise by the most knowledgeable authorities.