VATICAN CITY, MAR 11, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, there was a presentation of the second phase of the STOQ Project (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest), one of the world's most prestigious current research programs on the relationship between science, philosophy and theology.
In his talk, Cardinal Paul Poupard indicated that the project is being coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Culture, of which he is president, and involves the Pontifical Lateran and Gregorian Universities, as well as the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum." Other pontifical universities also have some degree of involvement in the project, which is financially supported by the John Templeton Foundation and other sponsors in various countries.
The cardinal explained that the project "consists of a series of organically-coordinated initiatives at three different levels: the first and fundamental level is that of teaching, with the object of forming specialists in the field of dialogue between science and faith. This will take place by means of graduate studies programs in each university with a view to attaining a degree (bachelors or masters), and with the possibility of exchanging academic credits between the various universities involved in the project."
The president of the pontifical council affirmed that the project also includes: "the definition of joint programs with other public and private universities, with the possibility of attaining a form of double recognition; scholarships for doctoral theses; and the organization of an international congress in November 2005 on the theme 'Infinity in Science, Philosophy and Theology,' in which scientists, theologians and philosophers from all over the world will participate."
As for the final aim of the project, the cardinal said that it sought "to contribute to dialogue between areas of research and study that, in the modern age, have slowly become separated." To this end, its is necessary "to build firm bridges and create fruitful exchanges between science, philosophy and theology through dialogue among their respective practitioners."
Professor Vincenzo Cappelletti, president of the Italian Society of the History of Science, indicated that the project offers a chance to create "unity between the two elements that in modern times constitute (the university institution): the philosophical-humanistic element, and the scientific-experimental element."
Professor Gianfranco Basti, director of the STOQ Project, explained the results of the first year of activity, during which more than 300 students have followed the 12 academic courses and four seminars of the project in the universities involved: Gregorian, Lateran and Regina Apostolorum.
"The method we follow in implementing the study program of the STOQ Project," he said, "is to give our philosophy and theology students the possibility of following scientific courses within our humanistic faculties. ... This means renewing the old tradition of teaching mathematics and natural sciences in the pontifical Roman universities, as an organic part of the curricula of philosophy and theology students."
"Each of the universities is developing a specific theme: while the Gregorian University is concentrating on the problems of the foundation of the philosophy of science and nature, the Lateran University is devoting itself to the systematic formalization of the relationship between science and humanism, also using the new discipline of 'formal ontology,' paying particular attention to an 'anthropology for the third millennium.' For its part, the Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum is dedicating itself to a deeper study of the relationships between theology, philosophy and sciences of life (biology), with particular reference to ethical nuances (bioethics)."
OP/SCIENCE:THEOLOGY/POUPARD VIS 20050311 (580)