MOSCOW UNIVERSTIRY CELEBRATES 250TH ANNIVERSARY
- Historic Event and a Great Festive Day. Viktor Sadovnichy, Rector of the Moscow State University and RAS member, addresses a Convent of MSU Graduates on December 2, 2004. “On January 25, 2005 Moscow University turns 250. /…/ We are pleased to welcome you here, in our Assembly Hall… where its history is being written down. Today we are adding the first Convent of MSU Graduates to this history”.
- Academician Valery Kozlov, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) discusses Possible Ways of Integrating Academic Science With Education (speech delivered at the Joint Scholarly Session of RAS and the Academic Council of the Moscow State University (MSU) on December, 2004). “Integration is not about changing the signage or merging the management; the true meaning of integration is to establish strong links between research and education, based primarily on project financing, administration and measures to encourage cooperation”.
- Our guest at Zdravy Smysl: Professor Vladimir Mironov, MSU Vice-Rector and Dean of the Philosophy Department, interviews ZS Chief Editor, RHS President Valery Kuvakin. “The starting point in our interview could be the mission of a University, as a general idea, and the mission of the Moscow University in particular, as the most prominent keeper of the Russian tradition of education…”.
- “There is Much that Can Be Done”. Academician Vitaly Ginzburg, Nobel Prize winner, addressed the Convent of MSU graduates on December 2, 2004. “… I would rather not join the panic cries about our science being dead. There is much that has been saved, and there is much that can and must be done. So I call upon the strong legion of MSU graduates not to lose heart, and try to contribute as much as possible to the development of science and education”.
- RHS Vice-President, Academician Garri Abelev, himself a MSU graduate, has been Professor of the University for 40 years. He attributes the highest value to the Traditions of True and Pure Science at MSU. “University research, non-detachable from the teaching of fundamental science, is inevitably based on the same system of values as fundamental science itself… This is what makes it so important”.
SCIENCE AND POWER
- Vsevolod Lyashenko, Rumor is We’re In for Science Reform… “Through the grapevine, we learn some shocking details about reform plans – we are told that RAS may be closed as being redundant, and the number of research institutes will be reduced …”. “…This blow against science has political as well as economic implications. They want us to fear!”
- Gennady Shevelev shares his impressions About the Summer School and Other Things. Last summer RHS members and interested outsiders attended the International Summer School on “Modern Humanism, Naturalism and Critical Thinking” that took place in the MSU premises. “Having learned experience of countries well advanced in ways of secular humanism, we could try and apply it in our future work… At the same time, there has been tangible theoretical benefit for us from participation in the Philosophy School”.
OUR GUESTS FROM THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE INSTITUTE
- The Moscow Saga by Sergei Buryanov and Sergei Mozgovoi, Council co-Chairmen of the Freedom of Conscience Institute. Uncovering problems in the state relationships with religious associations in Russia, and the negative role played by the Chair of Religious Studies at the Russian Presidential Academy for Civil Service, and the Brigham Young University International Center for Law and Religion Studies (Provo, Utah, USA). Mechanisms of unlawful cooperation are disclosed in the presented article by Alexander Soldatov, Moscow News reporter and Editor-in-Chief of Portal-credo.ru, and in the Declaration “For the Freedom of Conscience, Against Corruption in State-Church Relationship” by Sergei Buryanov and Sergei Mozgovoi.
- Newsline. Mass Media on Xenophobia and Ethnic Extremism. Information provided by the Moscow Human Rights Bureau
TEACHING AND EDUCATION
- Subjective Notes on the Learning Mechanism. In this essay Georgy Drizlikh proposes his own hypothesis of learning, based upon analogy with the mechanism of immunity development. “There is real evidence supporting the assertion that the learning of something new… always proceeds through interaction between the environment and the body’s innate programs”.
- Eduard Finkelstein, Emma Rautbart, How to Pick Fruits of Education from the Tree of Knowledge? “The most difficult question is, how to teach people to apply critical thinking in their daily life. In our view, emphasis should be placed on science – not as static knowledge but as a way of understanding the world”.
SKEPTICISM WITHIN A WORLDVIEW
- Skepticism and the “Ruin Spirit”. The “Theme of ruins” (as well as Skepticism) is gaining popularity in front of our eyes, according to Stanislav Zavadsky. – “What is the solution to this ruin-oriented skepticism?.. The courage to become and to improve – as Paul Kurtz rightfully argues – is the greatest opportunity and privilege of humans…”
- Tradition, Civilization, Culture. Review of Word Usage by Alexander Kruglov.
- Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov (1829 – 1905) was born 175 years ago.
HISTORY OF DELUSION
- Natalya Vasilyeva “The history path of human intellectual culture is covered with the carcasses of dead beliefs”. On F. Zelinsky’s article “The Defunct Science”. “The article… offers the attentive reader much more than just information about naive perceptions of the past… It helps explain why the attempts to fight occultism using only the methods of natural science have been unsuccessful”.
- The Defunct Science by Faddei Zelinsky. First series of extracts from the article by the well-known Russian philologist and Antiquity scholar (1859 – 1944). “The first in the line of defunct sciences was Astrology, which this article attempts to characterize…”
- What Can I Do Alone? Our regular reader Maiya Mitnik, a research fellow from Vladivostok, shares her view on the nature of religious superstition and uncritically accepted customs. “When asked about the safest way to cross the street, the boy said: stay with the crowd. And he was almost right … But the crowd may carry you somewhere you did not intend to be”.
REVIEWS AND CRITIQUE
- Within the Context of Planetary Realities. Vasily Gritsenko, Boris Yesenkin offer critique of the Globalistics Encyclopedia (Ed. by I. Mazur, A. Chumakov; Center for Research and Applied Programs “Dialogue”. M., 2003). “’Globalistics’ can be viewed as a form comprehensive, semi-universal theoretical response to the challenges of the cosmic evolution, global ecology, politics, economics, science and education faced by modern Russian and international community.
- “Humanism Just Means Loving People” – from poetry archive of MSU Professor Oleg Larmin (1926 – 1995).
- Views and Comments from ZS readers. Intellectual Castration – in a collective letter, V. Skvortsov, V. Bazhanov, T. Gorokhova and others are concerned that even the most respectable Russian media now carry horoscopes; Hands Off Leo Tolstoy! – A. Kosterin, engineer, writes about the recent Russian Orthodox campaign of posthumous abuse against the great author; “This is exactly what I need”, says A. Tasminsky, serviceman and teacher, describing his experience with Zdravy Smysl.
- Anti-clerical Conference in Moscow Adopts the “Freedom of Conscience Declaration” on December 25, 2004.