- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
French Panel Pans Astrologer's Ph.D.
17 August 2001 7:00 pm
An interdisciplinary group that battles pseudoscience has joined a chorus of scientists critical of the Ph.D. awarded by the famous Sorbonne University to France's best-known astrologer.
In April, Elizabeth Teissier was awarded a doctorate "with distinction" in sociology for a 900-page opus on the attitude of "postmodern" societies toward astrology (Science, 27 April, p. 635M). Both astronomers and sociologists howled about the award, and the French Association of Scientific Information appointed a group to review the thesis.
Its report, released this month, heaps ridicule on Teissier's thesis, saying it is riddled with errors, misinterpretations of sociological theory, ignorance about astronomy, and "bombastic ... and often incomprehensible" prose. The scientists conclude that her effort is nothing but a brief for astrology and "is not at any point, in any way, a sociology thesis."
Teissier's thesis adviser, Sorbonne sociologist Michel Maffesoli, still defends her work. Maffesoli, who heads the Centre d'Etudes sur l'Actuel et le Quotidien, says the panel's chair, Bernard Lahire, a sociologist at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lettres et Sciences Humaines in Lyon, represents only one school of sociology and is not equipped to pass judgment on "what is and what is not sociology." The views of astronomers, he adds, are irrelevant.
But panel member Denis Savoie, a science historian at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris, says he hopes French universities will wake up to the toll that this "disastrous affair" has taken on their credibility.
Related sites (all in French)