- Valery Kuvakin:Science and Education in 21st Century. Which are the most important features of “New Renaissance” as a positive, creative alternative to the mounting inequality, religious fundamentalism and extremism? What is Russia’s role in the global cultural process? Which are the main impediments to Russian science and education? “…I want to use the opportunity – while I still have it – to step forward as an open apologist to the values of science and education as the cornerstones of the Renaissance project…”
OUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
- Schismatics in the Army, by Alexander Tvinidze. Bewildered generals, and the Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov acting as their prompter. What kind of future awaits the armed forces and the country under their leadership? Reporting from February 14, 2006 media conference at the Izvestia Press Center. The joint initiative by the Russian Orthodox Church and a number of military officials to introduce chaplains may trigger an ethnic-confessional split in the armed forces. However the movers of the idea view the matter as settled…
- Sergei Mozgovoi. Turnskins with Braid on Soutane. In the opinion of the Freedom of Conscience Institute Co-chairman, “the introduction of uniformed clergy is neither a naive fantasy nor a matter of distant future. This innovation may be impeded, not because of legal problems, but for the sheer lack funds allocated for the military reform…”
- “Looks Like a Trend!” Religion Policy of the Russian Authorities Before and After the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue Attack. Citing extracts from postings made on February 10, 2006 at the Portal-Credo.Ru. A young man burst into a synagogue shouting anti-Semitic slogans and injured nine people with a knife… Is there any indication of state-sponsored anti-Semitism in modern Russia? Is the acceptance of xenophobia, official or otherwise, based upon some political calculation? Lawyers, members of religious groups and human rights activists share their views.
- Surge of Xenophobic Violence – Outcome of the Official Religion Policy. Statement by the Freedom of Conscience Institute.
- The Boundaries of Scientific Knowledge, by Yury Yefremov. “Rumors are mounting of a crisis in science… The in-fashion philosophy of postmodernism claims that scientific knowledge is similar to mysticism, that “everything goes”, and that the results of science and the fantasies of parascience are equally acceptable… Ill-founded, easily disprovable hypotheses are flourishing on the sly, disclosing the their authors’ ignorance… The debauch of irrationalism may throw the humanity half a millennium back and put its very survival in doubt.”
- Grigory Gumnitsky. Faith in the Light of Reason. “Against the background of outstanding scientific advancements, religious faith, which used to be the guide for human beings, is of no more use today than a lampad under sunshine. Under the circumstances, Theology’s attempt to advertise faith as a special kind of knowledge and reason is understandable. But this attempt is futile…”
SCIENCE AND PSEUDOSCIENCE
- Scientists and Mock-scientists under the Microscopic Scrutiny of Science. Yevgeny Eidelman suggests an original test of scientific discoverer’s professionalism, which one can apply without having special education. Subject to test this time are Albert Einstein and Russian “revolution” scientists.
- Alexander Loktev. From the Faith in Physics – to the Physics of Faith? “I would like to draw attention to what is happening today on the book market, which is infested with low-grade products by authors who abuse the authority of science to brainwash naive readership.”
THE POST-SOVIET HUMANISM
- Ivan Sharapov. “The Way is Enlightenment, the Aim is Humanism” . Remarkable episodes from the biography of the Geologist whose scientific discovery cost him freedom, with some extracts from his Brief Encyclopedia of Aphorisms and The Humanist Manifesto: “The essence of Enlightened Democracy is that every effort of the society and state should be focused on the enlightenment and education of the people, elimination of the slave mentality and immorality, and rehabilitation of habitat…”
- Heaven on Earth, an excerpt from Globalization. Outlines of the Entire World by Alexander Chumakov. “Nowhere in the universe has there ever been, or will there ever be, another heaven except the one already existing on Earth… This is the only world in which a human being can feel as comfortable, secure and well-off as possible.”
LESSONS FOR TOMORROW
- Yury Shapiro. The Feeling of Time. The 1944 air attack on a train, the tragic events of 1993, the Moscow market roof collapse on February 24, 2006, and… the arrest of the author’s parents during Stalin repressions… “All tragedies have the same flavor – and they are not diminished with time”.
- Vyacheslav Zenin. Spirituality and the Spiritual Fathers. According to our reader, a Physics Engineer, religiosity and spirituality are two different and, to some extent, conflicting concepts. The Church’s self-positioning as the spiritual leader of the 21st century Russian society is ridiculous and destructive.
- Nikolai Kaverin. Artificial Selection, the Quality of Fir and the 20th Century Russia. “…From 1918 to 1953, artificial selection took place on a mass scale, eliminating the noncompliant and favoring the obedient. That makes two generations. Now, as another two or three generations have passed, we should see some results. Have we become more obedient?..”
- Vsevolod Lyashenko. On the Quality of Fir (an Alternative View of Unnatural Selection). “…is it true that, as a result of unnatural selection (i.e. mass-scale extermination under various pretexts) the Russian population has grown submissive and socially inactive – at least en masse? I really hope it did not work out that way…”
STATEMENTS AND RESPONSES
- Oleg Lishin. On the Issue of “Dedovshina” (raised in ZS by Vsevolod Lyashenko) – the notorious tradition of young soldiers being subject to hazing by second-year privates. “One has to admit that this sort of military training is not at all harmless, as it contributes to the overall erosion of the Russian society’s moral values…”
- Lev Fontalin. Hypercritism and Common Sense; Vsevolod Lyashenko. “Pure Reason” or… (Response to Criticism) – on Vladimir Tsaplin’s “Common Sense and Stereotypes” criticizing many of the articles published by Zdravy Smysl.
- Paul Kurtz, Chairman of International Academy of Humanism, wrote a letter to the RHS Executive Committee: “We are very encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the participants at our World Congress, Toward a New Enlightenment. We are very pleased that you could join us… We are one of the major voices in the world promoting science, reason, secularism, and humanist values. In all of this progress – you have been our partner”.
- Nikolai Rustanovich. Those with Thin Lips (a Traveler’s Essay). Talking with a Russian nazi en route into the depth of Russia…
- Mikhail Mamchin. Life Gets No Better, Just Funnier… Sayings and aphorisms.
- Richard Hull. “Don't let worry kill you off – let the Church help…” Thank goodness for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services.