Why is science not absolute

Why science and democracy are mutually dependent

Life in freedom is not easy and democracy is not perfect. But we never had to build a wall to keep our people with us and prevent them from going elsewhere, ”said John F. Kennedy in his famous 1963 speech in Berlin. Freedom (to think, speak up, do research, and travel) and democracy are closely related. But they are extremely unstable achievements that have to be reaffirmed again and again. The unhindered acquisition of knowledge, critical discussion and controversy are an essential foundation, especially of academic freedom, a fundamental right in Germany and at the same time a pillar of liberal democracy. But “the freedom of teaching does not release you from loyalty to the constitution” - according to Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law. Scientists must be aware of the responsibility that arises from their freedom. Legal and ethical limits of research are put to the test against the background of social developments and debates. At the same time, the fundamental freedom in the choice of research subjects is an achievement of the free political system, which must be preserved for the sake of diversity and creativity. Because it is precisely through the freedom of science that the innovative capacity of the economy and society is strengthened. In the age of “fake news” and “fake information”, an active exchange and good science communication are absolutely necessary. Today in particular, it is important to strengthen the courage to engage in impartial discussions. This also includes the acceptance of the “Agree to Disagree”. Because only through open discourse and dealing with people who think differently can new solutions be found. Pluralist democracy and a diverse, free science go hand in hand. Both require self-discipline: learn - listen - understand - think - argue - reason - decide. But democracy and academic freedom must be acquired again and again; only then can we tackle the challenges of the future with a stronger focus.