Moscow, May 6, Interfax - Dmitry Itskov, the initiator of the Russia 2045 movement aiming to create artificial organisms and ultimately achieve immortality shares the view that science should be based on ethical values but insists that religion should not oppose scientific and technical progress.
"In our opinion, religion should not oppose scientific and technical progress. Science and religion should complement each other, and the development of advanced technologies requires ethical norms counterbalancing them," Itskov said in a statement on Friday in response to criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church regarding plans to create an artificial human organism.
In particular, prominent theologian Alexey Osipov noted that, "according to Christian teaching, soul is a substance that separates from the body after death but does not cease to exist, and it's not for us to separate soul from body and put this soul wherever we want."
Kirill Frolov, the head of the Association of Orthodox Experts, told Interfax-Religion that "it is the Church that really has something to tell scientists about immortality."
"It is the Church that knows who and how conquered death," and therefore it is important "to instill sobriety into scientists, some of which profess not only anti-Christian but also absolutely unscientific theories about the possibility of reaching immortality through technical progress," Frolov said.
Itskov argued that Russia 2045's principal goal is the development and integration of technologies capable of extending human life and improving its quality in the short term, and in the long run determine what humankind of the future should be like and respond to challenges dictated by the string of various crises the world is facing now.
Openness is among the key values for Russia 2045, and its members planned to engage both adherents to all existing faiths and world-renowned scientists, many of which are atheists, in discussing such notions as 'soul', 'consciousness', 'immortality', 'evolution' and so on, Itskov went on to say in replying to the Orthodox Church's criticism.
"We should work together to develop a new philosophical and scientific paradigm capable of combining religious values and scientific theories into a single harmonious and integrated worldview for humankind's future," Itskov said.