Cults
Is Forum Integrity Eclipsed by Moon?

“SCIENTISTS: DON’T HELP MOON—GO HOME!” So read a poster carried by one of fourteen demonstrators in a near-freezing drizzle outside the Sheraton-Boston Hotel. The scene was the day after Thanksgiving and start of the seventh International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), sponsored by Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church.

Undeterred, some 480 top-drawer scientists from more than fifty nations—plus about 180 spouses, 100 observers, and 100 staff members (most of them students from the church’s seminary in Barrytown, New York)—gathered in the grand ballroom for the opening plenary session and Moon’s “Founder’s Address.” Based on the conference theme “The Reevaluation of Existing Values and the Search for Absolute Values,” Moon’s speech was read in English, but copies were distributed beforehand because of Moon’s heavy Korean accent.

The International Cultural Foundation (ICF), a part of the Moon empire that stages scientific functions, planned this conference, for which it spent $500,000—much of that being earmarked for travel and hospitality costs for the participants. Those people involved in leadership roles, including scholars who delivered some eighty formal papers, received “several hundred dollars” each (said to be the going rate at comparable gatherings, according to ICUS secretary-general Michael Young Warder). ICUS board chairman Eugene P. Wigner, professor of physics emeritus at Princeton University, was one of several Nobel laureates who attended.

In a program statement, planners described the purpose of the ICUS as providing an “opportunity for scholars and scientists to reflect upon the nature of knowledge and to discuss the relationship of science to the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: