DHe answers to Leopoldina’s president, Gerald Hug, my article in this newspaper which has a polemic excess that distracts from the problem at hand. So there is no point in me answering their charges against him. On the other hand, it is worthwhile to look closely at the problem that the article explains using Leopoldina’s example. It is not about Lothar Willer’s person, but about his role as director of the Robert Koch Institute. From this it should be clear that during the epidemic, the National Academy of Sciences, as an institution of policy advice, transforms itself into a position that can be neither scientifically nor democratically valid. Criticism of this aberration is not intended to damage Leopoldina’s reputation in any way, but to enable it to correct its course so that it can do its job better in the future.
At the center of criticism is Leopoldina’s statement of 8 December last year. Howg claimed in his reply that the statement presented hard lockdown as a “potentially optional option”. Apart from the fact that something that is normatively required is no longer an option, the statement does not speak of criteria, requirements, or choices. Rather, there is the bold sentence right at the beginning: “Despite the possibility of a vaccination campaign, it is absolutely necessary to reduce the number of new infections, which are still very high, from the scientific point of view, starting soon Lockdown through quick and fast. “
An argument should be stopped
It is the formulation of a scientific constraint that can only be understood in such a way that any further discussion about standards or alternatives is exaggerated. If Hug said at the beginning of his answer that researchers in the pandemic “with few exceptions” debate the appropriate measures against the pandemic by providing information about the current state of knowledge and giving science-based recommendations for action. ” have contributed. For discussion “, he is one of the few institutions. His opinion does not recommend, but the order, and information on the current state of knowledge, is unilateral with Ireland’s only comparative example that it is more vague than objective. Regardless of that There were many good reasons for a difficult lockdown at the time, but the murderous logic of scientific necessity was not one of them.
But now at the crucial point, Wieler’s signature on the statement. Its full scope is only partially clear from my article, which is why it is explained in more detail here. As president of the Robert Koch Institute, Willer does not enjoy the scientific freedom other researchers enjoy. Accordingly, he cannot participate in an expert group as an independent “veterinarian and microbiologist” who advises politics. As head of a federal authority, Weller is subject to the instructions of the Minister of Health.
Lothar Willer cannot express himself freely
If he expresses himself publicly, he does so as a representative of the state. They have no voice for the public, which can be contrasted with the voice of the federal government, especially not in the midst of an epidemic in which the Robert Koch Institute is by far the most visible German federal authority. What he says to the outside world has to “agree” literally with his employer Span. So when Wieler signs a statement from Leopoldina under the sole title of “President of the Robert Koch Institute”, the federal government is virtually signing as well. Ultimately, one would also have to conclude that by signing Leopoldina, she gave up her freedom from politics.