A German weekly “Die Zeit” commentary criticizes the hostility directed at skeptical climatologists and epidemiologists.
“Where do we end up if a scientist’s degree of alarm becomes a litmus test for his scientific respectability?” Science activism represents “relapse into pre-enlightened thinking”.
Dogmatists refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope. Image cropped here.
The false prophets
Over the recent years, we’ve seen a number of alarmist climate scientists demanding we believe that they are the beholders of the truth, and so policymakers need to heed their advice without question.
Rather than arrogantly declaring that the science is settled, scientists shine through by remaining doubtful, Dorn writes.
She warns of climate scientists having become “ideologists” in the climate debate, and that this is threatening to happen in epidemiology/virology as well.
Not acceptable to defame doubters
“There is a world of difference between an irrational dogmatist and a reasonable skeptic, Thea Dorn writes. “It is not acceptable to immediately defame anyone who expresses doubts about the reliability of epidemiological or climate models as a ‘climate’ or ‘corona denier’”.
In Germany there have been a number of renowned virologists who have recently come under fire for dissenting against the alarmist claims made by other virologists.
Dorn writes: “In contrast to religion, modern science owes its success to its openness to doubt, criticism and self-correction.”
Rahmstorf suggestion “absurd”
Thea Dorn particularly fires harsh criticism at Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf, alarmist scientist at the Potsdam Institute, for suggesting in an essay in Spiegel in 2019 that mankind somehow had control over the “earth system” but was losing that control, an assumption that Dorn called “absurd and highly questionable”.
Dorn slams Rahmstorf and Prof. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber for mischaracterizing the earth’s complexity as a mere set a dominoes on the verge of toppling, and claiming they have the models to predict the future, and they and the alarmist virologists and immunologists should be heeded.
Be thankful for skeptics
On the role of skeptics, Dorn writes: “On the contrary: we can be thankful that – still? – there are enough scientists who reject the magic of the crystal ball and the delusion of total controllability.”
Dorn also sharply criticizes the concept of the “activist scientist”, which Hans Joachim Schellnhuber calls himself. She comments: “It represents a relapse into pre-enlightened thinking. With a slogan like “Unite behind the Science!” one might swear crusaders to a holy mission.”
One of the most tragic acts that a democracy can commit is self-submission to the rigid rules of a clerical natural science for fear of submission to the power of nature.”