The German Research Foundation (DFG) has apologised for censoring a statement that science is not a religious belief system.
The statement by satirist Dieter Nuhr which caused the censorship controversy (source NoTricksZone);
Knowledge does not mean you are 100% sure, but that you have enough facts to have a reasoned opinion. But many people are offended when scientists change their mind: That is normal! Science is just THAT the opinion changes when the facts change. This is because science is not a doctrine of salvation, not a religion that proclaims absolute truths. And those who constantly shout, “Follow science!” have obviously not understood this. Science does not know everything, but it is the only reasonable knowledge base we have. That is why it is so important.
The apology from DFG;
The DFG expressly regrets having prematurely removed Dieter Nuhr’s statement from the website of the online campaign # fürdasWissen. Mr. Nuhr is a person who stands in the middle of our society and is committed to science and rational discourse. Even if his pointedness as a satirist may be irritating for some, an institution like the DFG is committed to freedom of thought on the basis of the Enlightenment. We have therefore resumed the contribution. The discussion about the article exemplifies the developments that currently characterize many public discussions about science.
A culture of debate has developed in various areas of our society in which it is often not the factual and stronger argument that counts, in which less listening and inquiries are made, but more and more often hastily judged and condemned. The common dialogue is increasingly being replaced by polarized and polarizing disputes. Especially when it comes to key issues such as climate change or the coronavirus pandemic, the really necessary discussion about scientific topics and the constructive exchange between science and society are hindered. Scientists who make their findings public and describe options for political action are increasingly the target of unobjective attacks and personal defamation. This also applies to social movements
These developments are not beneficial to society and are all the more worrying as science plays a central role in overcoming current challenges, with which it is currently strongly perceived and valued in society. For her part, she is dependent on a critical, open and constructive communication culture.
The DFG would like to use these observations as an opportunity to initiate an intensive examination of the current culture of debate around science. The DFG stands for diversity of opinion and freedom of expression as well as a differentiated culture of discussion. It will continue to do its utmost to achieve this in the future – together with other actors from science, media, politics and other areas of society at home and abroad.
Source (Google Translate): https://kaltesonne.de/rolle-rueckwaerts-bei-der-deutschen-forschungsgesellschaft-nuhr-statement-wieder-online/
I applaud the DFG recognising and correcting their error, but such a statement should never have been censored.
I hope this is the start of something bigger, because something has gone very wrong with modern academia. Scientists like Peter Ridd should not be persecuted and punished for taking unfashionable positions. The penalty for speaking your mind if you are a scientist, even if you are later proven to be wrong, should not be excommunication and financial ruin.
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