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Our Mission

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 life:

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.

Several secondary principles relate to our basic objective:

a) Public 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.

b) It's 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" process.

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 worldview.

d) Basic 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).

Food for thought:

"Regardless of different personal views about science, no credible understanding of the natural world or our human existence…can ignore the basic insights of theories as key as evolution, relativity, and quantum mechanics." - The Dalai Lama
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