Maiani speaks on the Ratzinger affair January 21, 2008Posted by dorigo in news, physics, politics, religion, science.
Amara sent me an interview which I am glad to offer translated into English, for the sake of those who wish to follow the ongoing querelle.
It appeared on the italian newspaper “L’Avvenire”.
“It is true, they used us”. By Paolo VIANA
“«We all lost». Luciano Maiani shrugs his shoulders. He shows the pictures of ‘his’ Sapienza under siee and the titles of newspapers that brought back to chronicles of the seventies.
«We all lost, I am not talking about the Pope, but about the academic world, the students, the politicians» comments the nominated president of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. A scientific high-profile, bipartisan nomination, the one of the former president -among other things- of CERN and of the national institute of nuclear physics (INFN), but since Maiani signed the letter of the 67, the one which defined as «incongruous» the choice of inviting the Pope to La Sapienza, the approval is stuck in the mud of the italian parliament. Today Maiani explains the reasons for which he considers the protest against Ratzinger a defeat.
Why did you sign that letter ?
Because it was an internal letter, a normal act of dialectics among academics: a group of professors expressed a dissent to the rector on the organization of the happening. One wanted to pass a message of autonomy of science which was totally distorted, becoming a message of arrogance and intolerance that obviously I do not share. We have been exploited.
Look, reading the text, your opposition to the presence of the Pope is even too clear.
A studious of communication, Mac Luhan, used to say that the means is the message. Well. Then let us ask ourselves why the letter of a group of professors to their rector gets published on Repubblica [an important national newspaper, TN] two months after it has been written, when the rector has already decided and we have acknowledged his decision. With that publication, two months after the fact, it has been transformed into a manifesto against the Pope, exactly to lead us to the barricades. I am quite saddened, we all lost: I am not talking about the Pope but about the scientists, the students, the academic authorities, the public opinion, the political world…
Excuse me, didn’t you expect that, given the situation ?
It could become the occasion of a discussion on the relationship faith-science, but it was a bagarre instead. I signed in the spirit of independence of science from religion, but within a dialogue, the one which, to make an example, I personally experienced with the meetings at the Università Lateranense between scientists and theologists, organized by Piergiorgio Picozza and Sigfrido Boffi. That is the right environment to come out of this situation.
Are science and faith in Italy at war against each other ?
No, but a deep fracture has been created between scientists and non-scientists, between believers and non-believers, an extremely worrysome one. Italian society must discuss with different societies, like the islamic one, and we cannot afford such a dramatic fracture. The more so because, everywhere, physicists and scientists from different religions, atheists included, work side by side.
Do you believe it is possible a dialogue when the tension rises to such levels ?
I read the speech of the Pope: reason is the meeting point. It must also be the starting point for a table gathering scientists and theologists, where to discuss of which relation should there be between science and faith in the modern world. The dialogue must start back from there and we have to fill in the crack. We need a sherpa work, conferences at various levels, to find a common ground, for instance around the role of reason, and establish a ‘confidence’ between scientists and men of the Church, based on the knowledge that nobody wants to overcome the other. Only then the relationship science-faith will give rise to something else than such fights on Galileo and Giordano Bruno, two human heritages that must not be used to oppose us to the Church.
Is the scientist or the nominated CNR president speaking ?
I teamed for decades with scientist of all opinions and I do not remember to have ever had a disagreement for faith or ideology reasons. This binomial pluralism-tolerance must hold the more so for who leads the CNR, a great multi-disciplinary, multi-confessional, multi-cultural insitution. Every discrimination that privileged a part would be a very bad public service.”