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Lunch Lecture @FRIAS Reflections

The FRIAS Lunch Lectures Series are dedicated to reflecting on knowledge, science and technology in the broadest sense. Each semester introduces an overarching guiding question, by current FRIAS Fellows from the point of view of their disciplines. Due to the current contact limitations during the Corona pandemic, the Lunch Lectures are integrated into the FRIAS Reflection Series, which takes place on Wednesday, 3 pm, and can be accessed via Zoom. 

Video podcasts of all Lunch Lectures at the FRIAS media library.


FRIAS Lunch Lectures im Sommersemester 2020: Science and Society in a Postfactual Era

Lunch Lecture @FRIAS ReflectionsThe values of science are under attack. The world is increasingly turning to science and technology for solutions to persistent socio-economic and developmental problems. Yet, at the same time, many people – from concerned citizens to powerful stakeholders – do not trust science. Public trust is suffering as falsehood is presented as ‘alternative facts’, ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’, and the ‘dual use’ and unintended consequences of emerging technologies as artificial intelligence or genetic engineering is perceived as an increasing risk.  The resulting devaluation of science-based reasoning is a problem for the scientific community, but also for democratic societies that rely on rational discourse and evidence-based decision-making. At the same time, social movements, such as Fridays for Future, emphasize the importance of scientific facts and hope to induce social and political change with evidence-based policies.

From a normative perspective, attention and adherence to the ethical and legal standards of science are crucial for creating trust in science among policy-makers and the general public. Furthermore, obstacles to the diffusion of scientific knowledge and its applications such as scientific illiteracy and lack of access to new technologies jeopardize the potential of science to help successfully address the grand challenges of our times. In this Lunch Lecture Series we will (1) map how science-based reasoning and decision-making is threatened and (2) how emerging digital technologies fuel postfactual and irrational discourses in society as well as (3) explore concepts and ideas, such as the ‘right to science’ that could strengthen science as a central tenet for democracy, human flourishing and sustainable development.

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