Doubts as and about the system? How to deal with skepticism towards science and technophobia

Doubts as and about the system? How to deal with skepticism towards science and technophobia

Tuesday, 28. June 2022 // 15.00 - 18.00

WISTA Management GmbH, IGAFA e.V., BR50

Rudower Chaussee, 12489 Berlin

Illustration: Dorothee Mahnkopf/©WISTA Management GmbH

Illustration: Dorothee Mahnkopf © WISTA Management GmbH

In general, skepticism is a constructive attitude in research and science: After all, scientific findings rest on the fact that gained knowledge is constantly questioned critically to make progress in understanding the world and its parts. However, the science-immanent culture that doubts all assumptions and the improvement of research designs as well as the consistently querying of scientific results is often not understood in the society, media and politics.

Research has to face more and more radical skepticism and even distrust, especially when scientific results become relevant for political, economic or social discussions. This is not only true in terms of accepting the climate change and the debates about the adaptation to its consequences, but as well as concerning COVID-19. Not only is the effectiveness of vaccinations and the use of protective measures questioned, but also even the pandemic itself is queried to some extent. Another aspect is the rejection of new technology in general like in the field of genetic engineering, by the development of new kinds of energy production or in terms of the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Scientists that conduct research in topics that are identified as sensitive, are confronted with these kind of challenges. However, at the same time there is the political and societal expectation that researchers present and communicate their results in public, are engaged in knowledge transfer or implement the new technologies, together with practice partners of industry and society, for the practical application. Skepticism in science and technology not only compromises the innovation e.g. in medicine, in certain industrial fields and in the fight against the climate change. Increasingly, scientists themselves are becoming the target of verbal attacks or open threat.
 

Exchange of Experiences between Scientists

To which conclusion does social science come in terms of skepticism in technology and science taking place in the society? What experience researchers during their work? How can prejudices be tackled and trust in science strengthened again? And, how can research institutions support their scientists when they are the target of attacks?

These topics will be subject of discussions during a first interdisciplinary exchange of experiences between scientists. The event is initiated by the WISTA and the IGAFA in cooperation with the BR50 Offices and will take place on June 28 at 3 pm in the Technology Park in Adlershof. The participation is free of charge. Furthermore, it is possible to establish a BR50 Interest Group to address this issue in a deeper way.
 

Exchange, Networking, Outreach

On the one hand, the meeting fosters the exchange and networking but on the other hand, it serves as brainstorming event to prepare further activities on this matter. E.g., a public panel discussion is envisioned for autumn 2022.

We ask for registrations from all scientific disciplines. In case you have experiences due to your conducted research and/or the scientific field you are working in, we highly welcome your input with a short five minutes statement. Please indicate your willingness to contribute (including a rough topic) when registering.

Registration: pr@wista.de