“Guilt and Lies” – Science communication and trust in times of crisis
The communication of science is of fundamental importance to society: Topics such as digitalization are transforming our lives, and climate change is a global challenge of our times. Without the application of the latest research results, it will not be possible to come to terms with these developments. Since research is often publicly funded, scientists have a special duty of legitimacy toward the public. However, the demand for transparency is no simple matter. Research results – and their “translation” appropriate to recipients from various groups of the population – are often complex. In times of crisis, the problem of building trust becomes exacerbated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, legislative measures based on expert recommendations led to a morally charged discourse. This presented science communication with an almost insurmountable task: There was great pressure to justify measures vis-à-vis a highly heterogeneous target group, especially since the factual basis was frequently called into question. Those who now demand a “reappraisal” in retrospect often link this with apportionment of blame.
38th Bertha Benz Lecture
July 23, 2023
Foyer of SRH University