The Scimat Program: Towards a Better Humanity

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Maria Burguete, Rocha Cabral Scientific Research Institute, Lisbon, Portugal
Scimat (Science Matters), the new discipline initiated by Lui Lam in 2007/2008 [1, 2], treats all human-dependent matters as part of science. It thus includes all the topics in the humanities and social science. Scimat results from two recognitions: (1) Humans are a material system (made up of atoms); (2) Science is the study of Nature which includes all material systems (without appealing to God or any supernatural) [3]. The tradition of treating everything in the universe, human and non-human systems, from a unified perspective—starting with Aristotle and continued until the Renaissance—was broken with the rise of modern science in the last 400 years. Concerted efforts to revive this tradition happened from time to time and failed with one exception: the Enlightenment (1688-1789) with the aim to create a “science of man” succeeds in ushering in social science (Economics) but fails in turning the humanities into a science. It is an effort interrupted, partly due to insufficient understanding of the human system. The Scimat Program, started by Maria Burguete and Lui Lam in 2007, is the latest international effort to revive the Aristotle tradition of a unified knowledge. It has (1) established a biennial international scimat conference series; (2) formed an international committee (ISMC, including Nobelist Robin Warren, physicist/poet Jean-Patrick Connerade, and SciAm columnist Michael Shermer) to advocate the scimat concept and oversee scimat activities; (3) established a Science Matters Series of books. It is in the process of establishing a number of scimat centers around the world. In addition, a scimat general-education course for students of any major and any level is under construction. In this paper, the motivation, significance and progress of the scimat program will be outlined. In particular, scimat aims to raise the scientific level of the humanities which, not "natural” science, covers the art and science of humans’ critical decisions that determine the wellbeing of the human race. Thus, the ultimate aim of scimat is not just for a unified knowledge, but for a better humanity. [1] Lam, L. [2008] "Science Matters: A unified perspective," in Science Matters: Humanities as Complex Systems, eds. Burguete, M. & Lam, L. (World Scientific, Singapore). See also: [2] Lam, L. [2008] “Science Matters: The newest and biggest interdiscipline,” in China Interdiciplinary Science, Vol. 2, ed. Liu, Z.-L. (Science Press, Beijing). [3] Lam, L. [2014] "About science 1: Knowledge, Nature, science and scimat," in All About Science, eds. Burguete, M. & Lam, L. (World Scientific, Singapore).