Expanded Reason Congress
"The human being in contemporary science"
The V Expanded Reason Congress ” The human being in contemporary science” has a double intention: on the one hand we want to present some of the best works and researchers of our time, several of them winners of the last editions of the Expanded Reason Awards. They will show us the path that biology, biotechnology, physics, ecology, neuroscience, education, etc., are following to make science more human. On the other hand, we will try to deepen in a look at reality that places science on the path of respect and service to man and the world.
In short, we will ask ourselves, with the help of experts, what are the challenges, opportunities and difficulties presented by the different fields of contemporary science in relation to the dignity of the person and the care of their environment, aware that scientific advances will be fruitful as long as they are at the service of the growth and development of human beings and the societies and communities in which they live.
Así fue el Congreso Razón Abierta «El ser humano en la ciencia contemporánea»
María Lacalle, directora del Instituto Razón Abierta, ha sido la encargada de inaugurar el Congreso en su quinta edición bajo el título “El ser humano en la ciencia contemporánea”. Durante su intervención, ha expuesto que existe una gran responsabilidad en el mundo actual para hacer una ciencia más humana y trabajar en la unidad del saber sin evadir las dificultades. Se refirió a Juan Pablo II cuando exhortó a estudiar los graves problemas contemporáneos como la dignidad humana, la promoción de la justicia, la protección de la naturaleza, la búsqueda de la paz y un nuevo ordenamiento económico que sirva mejor a la comunidad. La investigación, a su juicio, debe dirigirse a la raíz de los problemas buscando soluciones creativas.
Education: a path to meaning
The wonder of the world through quantum physics and ecology
Michael Taylor proposes to discover the metaphysics of the gift in order to appreciate the beauty of creation. In philosophical terms, wonder demonstrates the humility that one must have before reason, because it exposes oneself to an overabundant objective reality that becomes intelligible. He explained that the world communicates truth and beauty so that the human being receives the gift of wonder and this, precisely, reminds us that man is limited, but that he can also embrace a portion of reality.
Javier Sánchez Cañizares remarked that the astonishment of the scientist comes from living in a world that is not chaotic, from knowing that in a few seconds it will not explode into a thousand pieces, since there are a series of stable patterns. “It is part of the sense of mystery,” said Professor Sánchez Cañizares, but not as an excess that shows the human limits, but as an astonishment about the ability to understand how the processes of nature work, something that Albert Einstein himself recognized.
Are we physically and psychologically determined? Neuroscience and Psychology in dialogueThe third round table was held under the title “Are we physically and psychologically determined? Neuroscience and psychology in dialogue“. To answer the question of whether the human being is physically and psychologically determined, Paul Vitz presented a Catholic Christian metamodel in which he defends free will from three points of view: the way in which life can be known (experience of conscience), the choice of the therapeutic process to develop the virtues, and the spiritual life it entails (soul capable of choosing God). Therese Lysaught has discovered with her fellow researchers where the idea of neuroscience being determined comes from. They realized that there was a correlation between economics and virtue, because if there was prosperity it was because of being virtuous, so that a whole cultural anthropology was rooted in the most recent version of homo economicus. And, furthermore, they found that there was an assumption of biological determination, based on medication and the reduction of psychological problems to a genetic issue, which departs from the person-centered model and neglects the social context. For this reason, he encouraged the creation of open spaces that address pertinent questions and establish an interdisciplinary dialogue.
Biology and biotechnology at the service of the human question
The fourth round table of the Congress was entitled “Biology and Biotechnology at the service of the human question”. One of the first topics was the impact of a new genetic engineering tool (CRISPR) that makes it possible to modify the genome and correct alterations responsible for serious diseases. The thesis of Maureen Condic‘s book is that, even if time is reduced and precision improved, it is alarming to use human embryos because they are destroyed and the composition of a person is changed: “There is no precise information on the influence of this tool on people and the negative effects cannot be anticipated”. On interspecies chimeras, known as hybrids between animal and human, Professor Condic explained that creating an entity without a clear ontological status is reason enough to reject it: “The fact of incorporating cells, both in reproduction and in the brain, raises serious ethical and philosophical problems, it is impossible to know where the animal begins to stop being human or the other way around”. On the subject of abortion, he declared that the embryo is a scientifically proven human being and there is an increasing scientific consensus on the presence of human life in the first weeks of embryonic gestation.
EXPANDED REASON AWARDS CEREMONY
The Awards Ceremony, which concluded the Expanded Reason Congress, brought together the winners of the IV and V editions who, due to the pandemic, were unable to receive their awards in previous years.
The Chancellor of the University Francisco de Vitoria, Daniel Sada, and the Executive Secretary of the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, Pierluca Azzaro, gave welcoming remarks in which they congratulated the winners and stressed the importance of the mission of the Expanded Reason Awards in the university world as a service to society. The winners of both editions took the podium to receive their awards and thanked their universities and institutions of origin and their work teams. They all emphasized that the fruit of their work would not have been possible without their teams and related communities.