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SCIENCE: DOES IT MATTER? Prof. Dr.Pieter J.D.Drenth, President All European Academies (ALLEA). Budapest Science Forum 2003 8-10 Nov. 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "SCIENCE: DOES IT MATTER? Prof. Dr.Pieter J.D.Drenth, President All European Academies (ALLEA). Budapest Science Forum 2003 8-10 Nov. 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 SCIENCE: DOES IT MATTER? Prof. Dr.Pieter J.D.Drenth, President All European Academies (ALLEA). Budapest Science Forum Nov

2 Science matters Many present-day official statements stress the importance of science for our economic and social future, i.o.w.: Stress the revelance of science

3 What is relevance of science? * Relevance of science is a multidimensional concept, referring to diverging goals and concepts. * Four types of relevance are proposed: -intrinsic relevance: augmentation of body of knowledge, and educational function -Instrumental relevance: practical tools and instruments -Innovative relevance: new knowledge leading to innovative applications -Contributive relevance: support for decision-making or policy development

4 Different types of knowledge * Scientists should not become decision-makers; different roles and responsibilities * Two types of knowledge should be distinguished: (1) Solid knowledge which only needs political translation for use in policy decisions (2) Incomplete, probabilistic and uncertain knowledge, direct extrapolations of which are full of risks * Precondition for usefulness of all types of scientific knowledge: its independent nature.

5 Reasons for non-use of science - Research results are contra-intuitive or contradict stereotypes - Research repeatedly produces contradictory results - No or insufficient knowledge available - Science does not answer policy maker’s real questions - Lack of willingness to accept research results - Decision-making is more than pure application of facts and knowledge

6 Moral responsibility * Scientists are led by scientific criteria; veracity is their main touchstone; freedom and independence are important conditions * This does not preclude moral and social responsibility: choice of research subjects, conducting of experiments, application * Science should take concern and apprehension of the public seriously * Balance between freedom and responsibility: freedom in constraint


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