Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Stephen Law sympathises with the view that 'science' should be be explicitly mentioned in the BHA Strategy

Prof. Peter Atkins is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association (BHA). Dr Stephen Law is a member of the BHA Philosophers Group. The BHA Strategy (2010) comprises the Vision, Mission, Values and Aims (accessed: 20th April 2011).

This is the 6th of 6 videos recording a discussion, 'Can science alone answer our questions?' between Stephen Law and Peter Atkins at Think Week, Oxford on 24th February 2011. View all 6 parts of the discussion

In answer to my question, Stephen Law sympathises with the view that 'science' should be explicitly mentioned in the BHA Strategy. 

Read a verbatim translation of his answer to my question, below the video.

Part 6:  The verbatim transcription of my question follows.
My explanation in brackets (  ):-

1'30": Chris Street (anonymously) 'This is a question for both our speakers, Peter Atkins and Steven Law, who are both distinguished supporters of the British Humanist Association (BHA). Has science any role to play in humanistic philosophy and do you agree that the BHA strategy does not include science?'
1' 50": Peter Atkins 'Stephen this is your question'.
1' 55": Stephen Law 'Sorry just say the last bit again'
2'00": Chris Street 'Do you agree that the BHA strategy does not include any reference to science?
2'04": Stephen Law 'Strategy? Would it be right if the strategy did include science? What did you have in mind? Well give me an example.'
2'10": Chris Street 'I have in mind that the BHA strategy claims that reason has a part in understanding the world'. (the BHA Vision states "we want non-religious people to be confident in living ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.")
2'21": Stephen Law 'Right. That is (reason) is a big umbrella word'. My guess is that reason is understood to encompass science, that would be how I would read that. If you feel that it (science) really should have its own word in there explicitly, well, I have a little bit of sympathy with that actually, yes.'
2'40": Chris Street (agrees)
2'42": Stephen Law 'But the suggestion that the BHA is a closet anti-science organisation, doesn't rate philosophy and doesn't rate science, I'm absolutely sure that that is not true. I'm sure you don't think that either?'
2'56": Chris Street 'I don't, no I don't.' (I think BHA is pro science & pro philosophy)

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