May 29, 2023

Virologist drosten: researchers must call nonsense by its name

virologist drosten: researchers must call nonsense by its name

The virologist christian drosten defended the value of independent science against sometimes harsh criticism in social media and referred to the logic of gaining scientific knowledge.

In the corona pandemic, his task was "to explain the methods of my field, to point out the limits of scientific studies, to classify what is fact and what is fiction," drosten explained in a speech published on sunday in marbach im neckar, commemorating the birthday of poet and philosopher friedrich schiller. Researchers had to "paint a realistic picture and not the desired one. Therefore, he felt obliged to "intervene in a corrective way and to call outright nonsense by its name for once".

But if you act like this as a scientist, today you are immediately "in the middle of the broad public opinion battle" about the corona pandemic. "And for someone who is concerned with facts and assured knowledge, this is, let’s say, an interesting and instructive experience."Scientific contributions were no longer discussed objectively and coolly, but were part of a "tremendously hard-fought" debate. "The whole thing takes place around the clock at high temperatures in the spin cycle of social media."

Drosten asked for understanding that the scientific view of novel viruses could also change, the logic of scientific discovery applied. The path can be compared to an expedition into the unknown, which includes missteps and jolts. "Original theories and assumptions can be proven wrong and at the same time provide important new impulses. For people who are not used to this, it is sometimes difficult to understand."At the beginning of the corona pandemic in spring, for example, many scientists considered the wearing of mouth-nose masks to be rather unnecessary – in the meantime, these are recommended as an important protective instrument.

Drosten (48) works at berlin’s charite and also advises the federal government on the corona pandemic. The german literature archive in marbach awards the schiller speech to a new speaker each year to commemorate the birthday of friedrich schiller (1759-1805), who was born in marbach.


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