Montag, 23. Oktober 2017

Why We Should Trust Science

Lecture within the WZB series "Achtung: Demokratie" by Naomi Oreskes

Scientists around the world are increasingly under pressure. In the course of some major recent events, such as the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and legislation in specific countries, science has been under hefty attack: Its methods, data, and results are fundamentally questioned – to an extent to which the use of scientific work as such is disavowed. As a reaction to these developments, the movement “March for Science” was formed at the beginning of this year. Also in Berlin, a large demonstration took place at the Brandenburger Tor to support scientific freedom.

Naomi Oreskes, Professor for the History of Science at Harvard University, was one of the speakers at the March for Science in Boston and has been a prominent figure in the global discourse on the role of science in society and politics. In her talk for the WZB series Achtung: Demokratie she will explain “why we should trust science”. How can we reinstall public trust in scientific work? How can we better explain the principles of falsification to the public? Which role does research play for the liberal democratic order of our countries? With the help of concrete examples from the medical field and climate change, Naomi Oreskes will discuss strategies of how to defend science.

Introduction and moderation by Jutta Allmendinger, President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

The event will be held in English with no translation into German.


The new WZB series Achtung: Demokratie was initiated by staff members of the WZB. The series offers a platform for discussions that have been lead since the rise of populism, the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump. Liberal democracies are under pressure and have to face criticism. And science has to clarify, in how far it engages in these discussions beyond dry analysis.