Presenter Terryl Givens
Title Fear and Trembling at the Tower of Babel
Abstract An overview of the idea of divinization through history, with a discussion of why the idea has been simultaneously appealing and horrifying in myth and religion.
[Five minute break]
Presenter Ugo Perego
Title DNA, genealogy, and spiritual identity: overcoming the concept of race while exploring our unique heritage
Abstract Based on the inheritance properties of DNA, it is possible to identify informative markers that have survived in our genome from past generations and therefore take a glimpse into humanity’s recent and ancient past. Similarities observed in genetic profiles can be grouped in larger clusters, called haplogroups, linked to specific geographic regions and ethnic groups. The contribution of molecular science to personal and religious identity, spirituality, family history, and the concepts of race and diversity is calling for a re-evaluation of previously accepted paradigms that are deeply rooted in many cultures.
Presenter James Felton Keith
Title Integrationalism: Spiritual disincentives for humanity
Abstract Over the past 200,000 years, spirituality has dominated the human consciousness, resulting in a wide array of immaterial theologies, ideologies and mythologies. Human ability to compensate for the unidentifiable and unknown over the millennia has provided extraordinary philosophical exploration, so much that thinkers have used spirituality's lack of rigidity to endorse everything from cultivating life to death alike. In Integrationalism, I will demonstrate that any activity is justifiable in reference to spirituality; and further, ethical ambiguities and disincentives to promote trans-humanism are prevalent. Considering the ambiguities, I offer an alternative understanding to all spiritual philosophy.
Presenter Roger Hansen
Title Three Spiritual Exemplars for Religious Transhumanists
Abstract This presentation will explore the lives and spiritual contributions of three of the early 20th century’s most innovative minds -- John A Widtsoe, Alfred North Whitehead, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin -- as possible inspiration for religious transhumanists. One of the three was a chemist, one a mathematician/philosopher, and one a paleontologist. One was a Mormon authority, one a religious non-joiner, and one a Jesuit priest. They were contemporaries, and each was very religious in his own way. But each had to invent his own belief system, as we all do.
[Ten minute break]
Presenter Malcolm Dean
Title The End(s) of Mythology
Abstract At the boundary of the Axial Age, natural knowledge was transformed into classical mythologies and early religious systems. What actually happened to human thought five thousand years ago? Why do cultures come with mythologies? Exactly what is mythology doing? At the boundary of the 21st century, complexity science and neuroscience are recovering a world compatible with ancient thought. Ancient philosophy presents, in intuitive language and symbols, ideas that have only been "discovered" recently: complexity, scale-invariance, fractality, the observer, the horizon of information, non-linear and topological thermodynamics.
Presenter Ralph Spencer Steenblik
Title Positive Parametricism
Abstract The parameter is a symbol for decentralization, for spontaneous organization. Instinctively, aggregated intelligence seeks to optimize for the most effective utilization of resources. It becomes pertinent to create and embrace systems which can accommodate and grapple with dynamic scenarios. We live in a time where technology has moved far beyond the way we live today. Problem solving must be collaborative, dynamic, and holistic.
Presenter James McLean Ledford
Title Christian Transhumanism
Abstract Soon, a wise and loving culture will apply the full power of technology to spiritual growth and so enter a state of hyper-evolution. They will enjoy continually diminishing hardship, and eternal life. God's will in this matter is revealing itself in today’s quickening changes imposed by the forces that guide our society; science, technology, spirituality, and even economics. From a Christian Transhumanist point of view, humanity is about to merge with what is called the Technical Singularity and so transcend this world. Learn about love in action in the technical world; connect to understand, forgive to grow.
[One hour break]
Presenter Max More
Title Apotheosis and Perpetual Progress
Abstract Transhumanism has a strongly spiritual aspect to it. That aspect can be obscured by an emphasis on science, technology, and analytical philosophy in many transhumanist discussions. But transhumanism is both transhuman-ism and trans-humanism. The philosophy’s deep roots in humanism mean that transhumanism champions not only rationality and scientific understanding but, critically, also champions an inspiring and challenging vision of perpetual progress, dynamic optimism, and progressive self-transformation. Essential to the perspective of transhumanism is an extropic striving not for a state of final, static perfection but for endless improvement -- apotheosis as perpetual perfecting rather than perfection. I will outline a few aspects of this vision, and respond to common questions and concerns about the meaningfulness of a transhuman life and the status of the physical body.
[Five minute break]
Presenter Dorothy Deasy
Title Epiphany Endangered: the relevance of God in a transhuman society
Abstract As we move further into the 21st century humanity has within reach the ability to alter the body human to such an extent as to give rise to a new post-human species. What is less clear is whether our ethical, moral and spiritual development can keep pace with our technological prowess. This paper will take the position that our faith communities are in a unique position to speak up for the need to hold both God and science together in our lives, to check human hubris and offset individual motives in exchange for ethical standards that support social justice.
Presenter Michael Ferguson
Title Trinitarian Archetypes: A Transhumanist Mythos
Abstract Three streams of Darwinian processes are bio-organic, technological, and cultural evolution. In this presentation I will explore the interrelationships between these evolutionary media, and demonstrate the application of Christian archetypes for a succinct mythos that accurately encodes the transhuman worldview. Mythos is story-telling; rather than view transhuman and the religious stories as inherently destructive competitors, the opportunity for synergy is emergent from the multimodal faculties of human beings to engage story at both technical and holistic levels of cognition.
Presenter Lincoln Cannon
Title Trust in Posthumanity and the New God Argument
Abstract If we will not go extinct before becoming posthumans then, given assumptions consistent with contemporary science and technological trends, posthumans probably already exist that are more benevolent than us and that created our world. If prehumans are probable then posthumans probably already exist. If posthumans probably increased faster in destructive than defensive capacity then posthumans probably are more benevolent than us. If posthumans probably create create many worlds like those in their past then posthumans probably created our world. The only alternative is that we probably will go extinct before becoming posthumans.
[Ten minute break]
Presenter Jason Anthony
Title Hacking Religion and the Ten Year Game
Abstract The scientific paradigm embraces the value of cumulative progress: theories are tested, advances are made, and the field moves forward. Religious evolutions, however, seldom follow that trend. There are usually returns to fundamentalisms, forefathers or a pristine state. As we look at the future of religion over the next 10-30 years, which “returns” offer the most fruitful direction for those looking to “hack” -- or reconfigure -- religion to meet 21st century challenges? I offer suggestions, and outline the rules for the Ten Year Game -- an attempt to build a next-gen religion that thrives on opposition and crowd-sources wisdom.
Presenter Giulio Prisco
Title The Cosmic Visions of the Turing Church
Abstract Following the Turing-Church conjecture, minds can be uploaded from biological brains to other computational substrates. Mind uploading research may achieve practical results within decades. Given the technology, humans may live indefinitely, colonizing the universe, and resurrecting the dead by "copying them to the future". Perhaps they will create synthetic realities inhabited by sentient minds; perhaps we are in a synthetic reality. These considerations parallel the tenets of many religions. The Turing Church will be a meta-religion, without central doctrine, characterized by common interest in the promised land where science and religion meet, science becomes religion, and religion becomes science.
[Five minute break]
Presenter James Hughes
Title The Compatibility of Religion and Transhumanism: Metaphysics, Suffering, Virtue and Transcendence
Abstract Transhumanism - the proposition that human beings should use technology to transcend the limitations of the body and brain - is a product of the Enlightenment humanist tradition. As a consequence most avowed transhumanists are secular, and many religious are skeptical or hostile towards the transhumanist project. However there are also many religious transhumanists who find the project of human enhancement at least consistent with, and sometimes a fulfillment of, their metaphysics, soteriologies and eschatologies. Transhumanism appears to be especially compatible with religious traditions that emphasize human agency and evolution to a transcendent state, such as Buddhism, or that have incorporated Enlightenment values, such as liberal Christianity. But elements of the transhumanist worldview and enhancement technologies are compatible with one element or another of most world faiths, even the most fundamentalist. We can thus expect that human enhancement technologies will be adopted creatively into the theologies of groups within all the world's faiths, producing many flavors of "trans-spirituality."
Discussion panel with keynote speakers and audience Q&A