Transhumanism and the Church

Transhumanism and the Church March 23, 2015

Samford University will be hosting a conference on Transhumanism and Christianity. It will be in September, and the deadline for proposals in in May. Here is the call for papers:

2015 Conference: Transhumanism and the Church
Samford University • Birmingham, AL • September 24-26, 2015

Transhumanism and the Church: Theological Reflections on Technology and Human Enhancement

ChipInHeadTechnology has changed our world dramatically over the past century and promises to change it more rapidly in coming years. Emerging computer and biomedical technologies have the potential to revolutionize our bodies and perhaps our understanding of human nature. Transhumanism is the name for the movement that enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to transcend bodily limits with new technology, especially the possibility of extending the human lifespan and increasing mental and physical abilities. Its most optimistic advocates predict a future where death has been defeated through the power to reverse biological processes or offload mental states onto computers. What should be the response of the church to Transhumanism and the technological possibilities for human enhancement that are on the horizon? Samford University’s Center for Science and Religion will host a conference on “Transhumanism and the Church” as a way to promote critical reflection and public understanding on an issue that will become increasingly important in future decades.

Examples of possible topics for conference presentations include:
• How does a Christian view of human nature support or conflict with a Transhumanist view? For example, is Transhumanist optimism about improving human nature compatible with Christian expectations about the redemption of the world?
• Does Transhumanism represent a (secular) rival to Christian theology or are there some themes that are compatible with the Christian tradition?
• What is the proper role for technology? Is there a principled way to distinguish between beneficial and harmful technological enhancements?
• What does the coming technological future indicate about God’s purpose for creation?
• What would changing human nature imply for traditional Christian doctrines?
• What implications does a theological critique of Transhumanism have for the way we treat the biological world?

Keynote speakers include:
Ron Cole-Turner – Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Editor of Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement

Jeanine Thweatt-Bates – The College of New Jersey
Author of Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman

Joel Garreau– Arizona State University
Author of Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies–and What It Means to be Human

Steve Donaldson– Samford University
Author of Dimensions of Faith: Understanding Faith Through the Lens of Science and Religion(forthcoming)

Michael Burdett– Oxford University
Author of Eschatology and the Technological Future

Jeffrey Bishop – St. Louis University
Co-Author of Chasing After Virtue: Neuroscience, Economics, and the Biopolitics of Morality(forthcoming)

Please send a 350-500 word proposal with your name, professional title, home institution, and contact information (including e-mail address) to Dr. Josh Reeves at Some conference papers will be selected for inclusion in an edited book, along with chapters from the keynote speakers.

The deadline for proposals is May 1. Presenters will be notified of acceptance by May 21. Final papers are due by September 14 for consideration in edited volume. Registration opens June 1.

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