Scientists Urge New Humanism of Dialogue Between Science, Faith and Ethics

Statement of a Pontifical Academy

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has called for a new humanism in which science, ethics and faith work in dialogue and not in opposition.



The institution, the oldest of its kind in the world, made the proposal public today in a statement issued though the Vatican Press Office.

"Today, more than ever before, what is required is a new humanism which takes into account all aspects of human culture, and where human, social and natural sciences can work together as partners," the appeal states.

The document summarizes the conclusions of the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, held Nov. 8-11. That session looked at the contributions made by scientific activity and education to the culture of humankind.

A humanism that is able to integrate sciences with ethics, the statement explains, "will greatly contribute to improving the overall knowledge of our world and our place in it, to increasing the respect for future generations, to promoting what is human in people, to safeguarding the environment, and to fostering sustainable growth and development."

"In this way, science will help to unite minds and hearts, encourage dialogue not only between individual researchers and political and cultural leaders, but also between nations and cultures, making a priceless contribution to peace and harmony amongst the peoples of the world," it continues.

"Science, so much appreciated in the teaching of John Paul II, when it is in harmony with faith can fully participate in this new humanism," it stresses.

"A worldview, where science and its values play their role in the quest for truth, together with the ethical wisdom developed down the centuries, can be of great help in assessing policies and technology so as to reduce the possible risks that accompany many such applications," the statement adds.

For this reason, the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences make an appeal "to fully recognize the valuable contribution made by the natural sciences to human culture."

Academy members include Gary Becker, economics professor at the University of Chicago and a Nobel laureate; Ahmed Hassan Sewail, professor of chemistry and physics at California Institute of Technology; and Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists.

The pontifical academicians are 80 women and men from many countries who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of scientific endeavor. They are named by the Pope after being elected by the body of the academicians.