Us | Definitions | Principles
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The mission of
the Science Integration Institute is to conduct and support
research and educational activities that use the process of
science, and the insights gained about the universe by modern
science, as tools to aid individuals in constructing realistic
and meaningful views of their role in the universe.
In carrying out
our mission, we are guided by the following principles. These
are the basic assumptions behind the point of view that frames
our approach to science and the role it plays in everyone's
1) We believe
that the human desires for meaning, purpose and significance
to our lives reflect fundamental and essential properties
of the universe in which we have formed. These feelings are
not illusions, nor are they irrelevant to the overall nature
of the universe.
2) At the
same time, we recognize that many of the worldviews developed
to express the meaning and purposes in the universe are inconsistent
with aspects of reality discovered through science.
3) In view
of (1) and (2), it is important to investigate nature and
communicate what we already know about nature in a way that
is directed by the explicit goal of uncovering what might
be real human meaning and significance in the universe. (Of
course, there are many other important reasons for scientific
research and education. This is simply the one aspect of science
we focus on in our programs). We aim to provide a way for
people to stay within the realm of scientific reality (i.e.
what we are able to uncover about the world through observation,
experiment, and reasoning) while still addressing the needs
that people tend to look outside of science to meet.
principles relate to our basic objective:
education is an inseparable part of our mission.
Dissemination of scientific findings in a form that people
can apply to their own lives is the whole point of doing
research within this perspective. Education is an essential
part of the process, not just an add-on at the end. The
central direction of our research comes from the broader
human need to address questions about our existence.
difficult to find a clearly-defined niche for doing this
kind of work within the scientific community. And for the
general public, it can be difficult to find scientific
information collected together in a form intended to
help you formulate and modify your perspective and to help
you think positively about your place and role in things.
Scientific journals and even most popular science writing
often are not focused on this. The ideas need to be synthesized,
and connections with personal worldviews must be explicitly
made. This is a distinct process, a "science integration"
c) A major
reason for commonly held negative attitudes about science
is the lack of this assimilation or integration step in
the process of doing science, and as a driving force for
at least some research work. (How could physics, for example,
be considered dry, inhuman, and irrelevant, when fully understood
as the study of the laws governing the operation of the
same natural world that has produced us?) In addition to
doing new research driven by our objectives, much scientific
research that has already been done still needs this last
step of transformation into a form that can connect to a
person's perspective on a particular issue or a general
scientific research can provide a direct service to individuals
in the way we've described above, and can be funded on that
basis. A secondary goal of SII is to help demonstrate that
this funding model can work, that insights of science are
something people value and are willing to support directly.
By relying on individuals for most of our support, we are
forced to continually market the value that the insights
from this kind of science can have for people. This funding
structure will help us maintain the tight connection to
our audience, described in item (a).