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The Chair in Science, Technology and Religion was officially founded by the Governing Board of Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid, in the ICAI School of Engineering. Its by-laws and regulations were approved in a Governing Board session held on 30 June 2003. It was established given the conviction that the activity carried out by the Chair could produce important results that can be summarized in eleven points:

  1. It responds to already existing concerns among students and academic staff at Comillas Pontifical University about the institutionalization of dialogue between science, technology and religion. As a result, the Chair was approved in response to initiatives for its creation which were promoted by the same academic staff.
  2. It responds to the social need for opening dialogue between two very important facets which are currently present in all developed countries and also in Spain: a) The growing significance of science and technology as a framework of reference that sets the values of modern society. b) The presence of religious traditions in our Christian country which continue to be an important part of the culture. The need for dialogue on science, technology and religion responds to desires for harmony and intellectual concord in society.
  3. It responds to the constituent aims of Comillas Pontifical University as a Catholic university founded as an academic, teaching and scientist-researcher area that contributes to the crucial conciliation between human and natural sciences, technology, society, culture and religion and, in particular, Christianity. These aims also fully respond to the rich intellectual, cultural, scientific, philosophical and theological tradition of the University's patron: The Society of Jesus.
  4. It responds to the specific aims of the ICAI School of Engineering which, integrated in Comillas Pontifical University, not only pursues strictly scientific-technical training, but also seeks dialogue training with Christian philosophy/theology. This Chair in the School of Engineering is the platform that intends to support this dialogue.
  5. From a Spanish perspective, it responds to the important international movement which is present today concerning scientific/religious dialogue. In the United States there are more than fifty associations committed to this dialogue. In Europe we have ESSSAT (the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology) which holds a bi-annual congress (hosted by Barcelona in 2004). Among many university institutes present today, we can mention CTNS (Center for Theology and Natural Sciences) at Berkeley. The most important foundation for these purposes is the Templeton Foundation. It annually grants the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities and consists of more than one million dollars. Likewise, there are many specialist journals such as Zygon (Chicago) or Science and Theology (Berkeley). Spain, with the exception of very specific researchers, has very few noteworthy institutions that can be included in this international movement of dialogue and which endorse their own activity that reaches the standard of our country. The Chair could be taken as a contribution to this desirable integration process that already has an established international platform.
  6. From a Spanish perspective, it responds to the same need which is applicable to all of Latin America, given that the Chair could stimulate interest in its topics and project the attributable results of its activity in the Hispanic- and Portuguese-speaking cultural sphere.
  7. From the perspective of the chair, it responds to a possible and expected social demand, external as such to the University, made up of former alumni from the University in general and from ICAI in particular, who having already been occupying professional positions for a few years, usually contemplate with personal concern in-depth questions concerning science, technology, philosophy and religion which encompass the topics undertaken by the Chair. This could create a far-reaching university platform that would facilitate relations with former students, incorporating them into an enriching exchange.
  8. It simultaneously responds to an external social demand in select intellectual spheres. This same access to former students of the University could also be provided to other professional fields, even from outside Comillas Pontifical University, given that in general terms there are many intellectuals, students and university graduates, academics and university lecturers who are interested in the Chair's topics where they could find a suitable platform for reflection.
  9. It possibly, ultimately, responds to a social role, going by what has already been said, science, technology and religion are not academic issues, but rather very important integral parts of our culture. Society is not only interested in science and technology but also in religion, which is proven by many sociological studies. Therefore, academic activities carried out by the Chair that would obviously involve a certain qualitative maturity could be translated, under the auspices of the same Chair, to a wide range of activities informatively intended for society, thereby exercising a social or public service function.
  10. It responds to many issues and concerns regarding the philosophy of science and technology which, although not immediately connected to religion, would emerge in the framework of an extensive and open reflection forum, such as the one established in the Chair. As such, this could help define a framework for meta-scientific reflection regarding epistemology and the basic philosophy of science and technology. The Chair could therefore be an appropriate sphere of in-depth philosophical reflection on science and technology as such, apart from their religious references.
  11. It responds to the need to create a forum for reflection and discussion –critical, philosophical, scientific, enlightened– on topics covered by the Chair which, while still within the framework of a Catholic university, is an academic sphere that is completely open to diverse opinions and approaches; an area for interconfessional, Christian and religious dialogue, open to believers, non-believers and to whoever displays rigorous thought and contributes to the dialogue.

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