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Top German Scientist Bluntly Criticizes Splinter Branch Of Science Attempting To Hijack Global Policymaking!


Top German Scientist Bluntly Criticizes Splinter Branch Of Science Attempting To Hijack Global Policymaking!

At his Klimazwiebel website, Hans von Storch, a climatologist for more than 40 years and a director of the Institute of Coastal Research for over 20 years, writes of how last June at a symposium in Nottingham he was asked to comment on his view of the role of science in society. A dean of German climate science, von Storch has long been a vocal critic of a cabal of climate scientists who are venturing beyond their fields and attempting to seize the role of deciding policy for society. He maintains that scientists are simply not qualified to run the world, even though many have deluded themselves into thinking that they are. Lately a limited group of climate scientists have been demanding a rapid and radical transformation of global society. Von Storch warns that science is always on the verge of error: “Scientific knowledge represents a resource for the public, in making-sense of complex developments and perspectives, in decision making.” He also says that science must always “be prepared to revise its understanding when new observations arrive, or if contradictions in the present understanding are unveiled“. He warns against dismissing those who challenge science: “Attempting falsification is a necessary step to add plausibility of scientific knowledge”. He warns of the consequences of abusing science to promote personal agendas: “…by renouncing attempts of falsification, by failing to implement the scientific method (and norms a la Merton), by using the knowledge for the promotion of specific societal interests, this capital science is spent“. Von Storch says scientists should not venture beyond their fields because in truth they are “Fachidioten” [nerds], a German term for “narrow specialists, i.e. nerd”, and that scientists should not let their arrogance get the best of them. He says these nerds “know their narrow field particularly well; their understanding of other fields, which are also of great importance for a societal problem, {but that it] is as good as that of as any hairdresser, taxi-driver and journalist“. The veteran German climatologist reminds us that scientists are also just normal citizens and so they “should not use the capital of science as an argument supporting own preferences“. He describes an environment where some scientists are abusing their status and how the public “is getting ‘resistant’ to the cacophony of newest scientific claims that this-or-that catastrophic development if this-and-that is not done“. He says there is a need for “improving the relationship between science and policy” and that science needs to be “re-scientized” and policy needs to be “re-politicized”. On the role of science in society, Hans von Storch writes Science is supposed to provide best explanations of complex developments, independent if these explanations support one political preference on another. Policy, on the other hand, is supposed to take decisions, with all consequences for all aspects of the real world, which are acceptable for the public – in terms of values, preferences, and perceptions.” In other words, scientists, like everyone else, have the right to express their opinions on issues, but they must avoid actively deciding policy, and threatening terrible consequences if policymakers decide otherwise. At the end von Storch says “Different scientific quarters provide constraints for different components of the real world. Eventually, however, political decisions are balancing societal preferences and values, and the role of science is and must be limited“. Read his comment in full here.

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