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SSQ Logo--Return to the main SSQ pageSSQ Japan Symposium

Science and Spirit:
Science, Values, and the Limits of Knowledge
October 18-19, 2002
Gakushuin Academic Consortium, Tokyo Japan

View this information in Japanese
More information about the Symposium location

SSQ Japan Symposium Overview
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.

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. This led to the so-called warfare model between science and the world religious and wisdom traditions. If values are not accessible to scientific testing, nor are questions about the meaningfulness of one existence or the purpose or life, nor are beliefs about gods or ultimate reality, then all such language must be discarded.

In recent decades leading scientists from many cultures have begun to question these assumptions. Against the backdrop of the horrors of the 20th century, which in many ways were caused by developments within science and technology, they have found resources within their culture, within its spiritual traditions, and within the world religions for addressing questions of value and meaning. They have begun to speak forcefully, as scientists and as religious persons, 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.

At the Japan Symposium, held at the Gakushuin University October 18-19, 2002, leading scientists addressed the question of science, values and the limits of knowledge. Symposium attendees heard important researchers connect their scientific work with broader questions of the human spirit. This symposium, entitled “Science and Spirit: Science, Values and the Limits of Knowledge,” featured twelve distinguished scholars from Japan, Europe and the United States.

Symposium Speakers Included:
Bruno Guiderdoni

Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France
Modern Cosmology and the Spiritual Prospect: a Dialogue in the Quest for Knowledge

Shuji Hashimoto
Waseda University, School of Science and Engineering, Japan
Machines with a heart (kokoro)

Fumihiko Katayama
Chief Priest of Hanazono Shrine, Medical Doctor, and Adjunct Lecturer of Public Health, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Japan
Natural sciences and religion

Katsukiyo Marukawa
Visiting Professor, Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Osaka University, Japan
Diminishing natural resources and natural environment and Buddhism (Zen)

William Newsome
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA USA
Science and Faith: A Personal View

Pauline Rudd
Senior Researcher, Glycobiology Institute, Oxford University, UK
Science, Spirituality and Creativity: A Biochemist's View

Humitaka Sato
Professor, Konan University, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University, Japan
The spirit (kokoro) which drives science

Tetsuya Sato
Theory and Computer Simulation Center, National Institute for Fusion Science, Japan
Can human beings and nature be understood by logic only?

George Sudarshan
University of Texas
Varieties of Experiential Knowledge: Science and Spirit

Sukeyasu Steven Yamamoto
The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN)
Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo, Japan
Science and religion in harmony - a Christian perspective

Shohei Yonemoto
Program of Life Science and Society, Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Science, Japan
Spirit (kokoro) as a mystery in natural science

Organizing Committee included:

Steven Yamamoto, Chair
Director, International House, RIKEN, (Inst. of Physical and Chemical Research)
Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo

Philip Clayton, Principal Investigator, SSQ

Keiichi Furuya, Faculty of Humanities
Keisen Women's University, Professor Emeritus, Science University of Tokyo

Yoshitaka Nagai, President, Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Sciences
Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo

Francis Renta Nishihara (Rev.), Assoc. Professor, Rikkyo University

Yoshio Oyanagi, Professor, Dept. of Information Sciences, University of Tokyo

Fumitaka Sato, Professor, Konan University
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University

Paul Swanson, Permanent Fellow and Director, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture
Professor, Faculty of Policy Studies, Nanzan University

Tomio Tada, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
Schedule

Friday October 18, 2002
8:30 AM Registration opens
9:30 AM Welcoming Remarks by the organizers
9:50 AM Session 1. Science and Religion in Harmony
Chair: Keiichi Furuya, Professor of Chemistry, Keisen University

  • Sukeyasu (Steven) Yamamoto, Director, International House, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN); Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo: “Science and Religion in Harmony: A Christian Perspective”
  • E. C. George Sudarshan, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin: “Varieties of Experiential Knowledge: Science and Spirit”
  • Fumihiko Katayama, Chief Priest of Hanazono Shrine, Medical Doctor, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Health, Tokyo Women’s Medical University: “Natural Sciences and Religion”


1:00 PM Session 2. Understanding Human Beings
Chair: Revd. Francis Renta Nishihara, Associate Professor, Rikkyo University

  • Tetsuya Sato, Professor, Director-General, The Earth Simulator Center, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC): “Can Human Beings and Nature be Understood by Theory Only?”
  • William T. Newsome, Professor of Neurobiology, Stanford University: “Science and Faith: A Personal View”

2:30 PM Session 3. Cosmology and the Human Person
Chair: Yoshitaka Nagai, Director- Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Sciences

  • Bruno Guiderdoni, Director of Research, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris and Director, Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies: “Modern Cosmology and the Islamic Prospect: A Dialogue in the Quest for Knowledge”

3:00 PM Panel: Questions and Comments from the Audience
(10 min. for Guiderdoni questions, then morning & afternoon session comments)

4:00 PM Reception for Speakers and Registered Participants

Saturday October 19, 2002
9:30 AM Announcements
9:45 AM Session 4. Spirit (kokoro), Life, Ethics, and the Natural Environment Chair: Yoshio Oyanagi, Professor of Information Sciences, University of Tokyo

  • Katsukiyo Marukawa, Visiting Professor, Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Osaka University: “Diminishing Natural Resources, the Natural Environment and Zen Buddhism”
  • Robert John Russell, Founder and Director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences: “Four Attitudes Toward Nature and Technology from a Christian Perspective.”
  • Shohei Yonemoto, President, Center of Life Science and Society: “Spirit (kokoro) as a Mystery in Natural Science”

1:00 PM Session 5. Finding Spirit (kokoro) in the World and Building a World with Spirit
Chair: Mark Richardson, Professor of Theology, General Theological Seminary, New York, New York

  • Shuji Hashimoto, Professor, Department of Applied Physics, Waseda University School of Science and Engineering: “Machines with a Heart (kokoro)”
  • Pauline Rudd, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Glycobiology, Oxford University: “Science, Spirituality and Creativity: A Biochemist's View”

2:30 PM Session 6. Science, Values, and Spirit (kokoro)
Chair: Paul Swanson, Director, Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture and Professor, Nanzan University

  • Humitaka Sato, Professor, Konan University, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University

3:00 PM Panel: Questions and Comments from the Audience
(10 min. Sato questions, then comments from morning & afternoon sessions)

4:00 PM Closing Discussion and Conclusion: Sukeyasu Yamamoto and Philip Clayton

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