VICTORY FOR SCIENCE! German Research Foundation Regrets Censorship, Reinstate’s Critic’s Statement

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The German Research Foundation is back, again in favor of diversity of scientific opinion! Image: Galileo fails to change Catholic Church doctrine.

After widespread criticism, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has decided to reverse its July 30th decision to take down a dissident climate science statement from prominent German satirist Dieter Nuhr (background here).

The DFG has put Nuhr’s statement back online again after realizing it had blundered when it caved in to activists and had not acted in the interest of science (pdf here).

What follows is DFG’s new statement in English (my emphasis added) expressing its regrets and announcing that Mr. Nuhr’s statement has been put back:

The DFG expressly regrets that the statement by Dieter Nuhr was taken hastily from the website of the online campaign #forknowledge. Mr. Nuhr is a person who stands at the heart of our society and is committed to science and rational discourse. Even if his pointed satirical nature may be irritating for some people, an institution like the DFG in particular is committed to the freedom of thought based on the Enlightenment. We have therefore reinstated his statement. The discussion about his statement exemplifies the developments that currently characterize many public discussions about science.

“A culture of debate has developed in various sectors of our society, in which it is often not the objective and stronger argument that counts, in which less is listened to and inquired about, but rather increasingly judged and condemned hastily. Instead of joint dialogue, increasingly polarized and divisive debates are taking the place of mutual dialogue. Particularly in the case of central issues such as climate change or the coronavirus pandemic, this hinders the really necessary discussion of scientific topics and the constructive exchange between science and society. Scientists who make their findings public and describe political options for action are increasingly the target of unobjective attacks and personal defamation. This also applies to social movements that advocate science and publicly call for scientific findings to be made more of a basis for decisions and actions.”

“These developments are not beneficial to society and are all the more worrying as science plays a central role in meeting current challenges, with which it is currently strongly perceived and valued in society. For its part, it is dependent on a critical, OPEN and constructive culture of communication.”

“The DFG would like to take these observations as an opportunity to initiate an intensive debate on the current debate culture surrounding science. The DFG stands for diversity of opinion and freedom of expression as well as for a differentiated culture of discussion. It will continue to do everything in its power to achieve this in the future – together with other figures from science, media, politics and other areas of society, both in Germany and abroad.”

What follows below is Nuhr’s original statement which the DFG “hastily took down” when it caved to public pressure from activists and ideologues. There’s nothing wrong with this statement:

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.”

Now after public outrage across Germany, Nuhr’s statement has been reinstated. A big victory for open science!

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne.




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18 responses to “VICTORY FOR SCIENCE! German Research Foundation Regrets Censorship, Reinstate’s Critic’s Statement”

  1. Richard Saumarez

    Wow! What a turn around.

    I expect the shrieking mob will now try to “cancel” the DFG.

  2. Maurizio

    Indeed a big win for freedon and enlightenment. Prost!

  3. tom0mason

    A win for sure but is it too late already. Most people would have seen or heard of the take-down and will not necessarily know of its reinstatement.
    Will any part of the MSM report on this, will they give it the same prominent coverage that the take-down had? — I very much doubt it.

  4. Yonason

    The endeavor of science is not to arrive at truth, but to expose and peel away what is useless to get at what works. It can be very difficult for those who, for whatever reason, are unable or unwilling to part with what doesn’t work. Many (sometimes most) scientists suffer profound separation anxiety when parted from their most treasured junk. At times progress can be very painful, especially when opportunists find a way to exploit weaknesses that are nearly always there.

  5. Sean

    I think the public has had enough of cancel culture. Even the N.Y. Times did an article on the damage being wrought by perpetual protests that have lost site of why they started in the first place. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/us/defund-police-seattle-protests.html The mobs now are are aimless youth, often white, and prone to violence and intimidation. administrators have begun to learn that giving into demands doesn’t make the problem go away, it just encourages new demands. Then there are the free speech letters and petitions initiated by creative liberal authors and artists. Once bureaucrats and administrators realize that giving into the loudest most emotional voices and can’t bring themselves to stand on any kind of principle or tradition, they’ve only demonstrated how thoroughly incapable they are of leading and it’s time for them to get canceled.

  6. bonbon

    The Prologue to this work, essential reading for any scientist, by Albert Einstein, is stunning for us today, bombarded as we are by mobs and ideologues :
    Where is science going?
    by Planck, Max Karl Ernst Ludwig, 1858-1947
    https://archive.org/details/whereissciencego00plan_0/mode/2up

    In the spirit of open discussion, see what Einstein says about Max Planck, contrary to other various groups of “scientists”.

    Unfortunately, Galileo, pictured above, belongs to a category that the angel would clear out of the Temple of science, to paraphrase Einstein’s Prologue .

  7. Charles

    An inspired beginning. But restoring science to its institutions, which are driven by money, has a long way to go.

    https://hhgpc0.wixsite.com/harde-2017-censored

    http://www.nzclimatescience.org/blog/ed-berrys-rejected-paper

    The disease will be cured only when the infection of public funds has been removed – by those who control it.

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