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Science has an impact on and a responsibility towards society

Most aspects of the modern western society are intrinsically tied to the success of the scientific method and technology (that is in turn based on scientific insight). Essential aspects are an open discourse that is based on logical arguments and facts. However, in the last years we see more and more people questioning the value and validity of science as a general guide for society. This is what the Science and Security Board, of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists described in their 2019 Doomsday Clock Statement:

The Enlightenment sought to establish reason as the foundational pillar of civilized discourse. In this conception, logical argument matters, and the truth of a statement is tested by examination of values, assumptions, and facts, not by how many people believe it. Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20191)

The responsibility of every scientist towards society is at least twofold: To work up to the highest standards of the field and deal responsibly with the funding received, and to communicate the results of the own research to society in a way that is most helpful to foster the discourse and help people and politicians take informed decisions.

Of course, due to the preliminary nature of its findings, science can never be used as the only source for answers to questions relevant to society as a whole. Nevertheless, the knowledge obtained by scientists should serve as a valid starting point and allow for informed discussions based on facts.

From: “A new abnormal: It is still 2 minutes to midnight. 2019 Doomsday Clock Statement”, available online (2020/09/27) and as PDF document
relevance/society/index.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/29 14:31 by till