Is Knowledge Losing Power? Towards a More Resilient Science System for the 21st Century
Many voices from all over the world, some loud and alarmed, some quiet and concerned, agree on one point: Science is in a crisis of confidence! Knowledge seems no longer to be power, expertise strangely out of fashion and scientists themselves are openly questioning the existing standards for measuring re-search quality and integrity. For a system, whose leading currency is truth, this is a dangerous development. Science would not be science if it had not already reacted to these crisis symptoms. Conferences have been held, manifestos have been published, new institutions have been built.
The remedies they offer, however, are contested and depend on the assessment of the exact nature of the problem. Are we facing a self-induced quality crisis within the existing science system, which just needs to be technically improved? Are we dealing with a “generalized crisis in the epistemic governance of science" (Andrea Saltelli), calling for more revolutionary changes, for new forms of “post-normal” or “transformative” science and public engagement? Or is science “under attack” from outside and needs to develop more powerful de-fence (i.e. communication) strategies?
These and other questions have been discussed by the participants of the 12th Berlin Debate.