Modern science arose in no small part by freeing itself from the dominance of religion. The scientific method has provided powerful knowledge about the world, and the useful technologies that flow from it, because it limited itself to empirical evidence and testable theories.
But gradually during the modern period many people began to interpret the success of science as proving that all that could be known, and indeed all that could possibly exist, was accessible to science. If values, questions about the meaningfulness of one's existence or the purpose or life beliefs about gods or ultimate reality are not accessible to scientific testing, then all such ideas must be discarded. In recent decades leading scientists from many cultures have begun to question these assumptions. They have found resources within their cultures and spiritual traditions for addressing questions of value and meaning. This trend has been accelerated by the horrors of the 20th century, which in many ways were caused by developments within science and technology, and they have begun to speak forcefully, as scientists and as persons with religious, ethical and philosophical convictions, about the key issues that humanity faces: bioethics and medical ethics, the environmental crisis, the arms race, the dehumanizing effects of technology, the future of our planet and of the universe.
The symposium will be held on October 18 and 19, 2002 at a conference room with a capacity of about 240 persons in Gakushuin University, Tokyo. At the symposium 7 Japanese scientists and 5 scientists from outside Japan will address the question of science, values and the limits of knowledge in two sessions each day. At the end of each day, each speaker will give a short presentation based on what the other speakers have spoken earlier, and selected written questions from the audience will be addressed to the speakers. There will be an informal reception for the speakers and the participants at the end of the first day. The speakers represent a wide range of religious faiths, including Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim Shinto and Christianity.
The talks will be presented either in Japanese or English with simultaneous interpretation. The symposium proceedings will be published both in English and Japanese in one volume and will be distributed both within Japan and abroad. Further information is available on the following web site: www.ssq.net
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