April 9, 2004

New TV04 Symposium: Faith, Transhumanism and Hope

We've recently added a new event to the TransVision 2004 conference: The Faith, Transhumanism and Hope seminar. Here are the details:

Faith, Transhumanism and Hope
At first glance, religion and transhumanism may seem to have little to do with one another, or even be in direct conflict. Yet in the past few years transhumanists have emerged in a variety of religious traditions. A recent survey of the members of the World Transhumanist Association found that a quarter of the members were religious or spiritual, based in more than a dozen different religious traditions. Meanwhile debate has emerged within religious communities about the potential outcomes of human enhancement technologies and a transhumanist worldview. Some images and ideals of the posthuman sit well within discussions of spiritual transformation and relate to religious longings. Others, such as pursuing transcendence through technology, stir up heated debate and antagonism. Discussion has emerged about whether a syncretic religious transhumanism is possible or desirable.

For this symposium and a special issue of The Journal of Evolution and Technology we are looking for contributions that address questions such as:

* Are transhumanism and religious faith compatible, complementary or antagonistic?
* How much is transhumanism a product of secular humanism?
* Are only specific theologies or faiths, such as religious humanism, technopaganism or Buddhism, compatible with transhumanism?
* What does a Christian transhumanist believe? A Buddhist transhumanist?
* Is transhumanism utopian or merely progressive?
* Do transhumanists deify technology?
* Is the transhumanist desire for immortality just a sublimation of a desire for heaven or nirvana?
* Is the transhumanist expectation of a Singularity just a sublimated religious millennialism?
* What does Jerusalem have to do with Silicon Valley?
* How long, oh Lord?! How many years are enough?
* Can robots ever have souls?
* Is humanity granted dominion over our own evolution along with dominion over nature?
* Have concepts of hubris and divine limits changed over the years? What ramifications do those changes have for theological interpretations of human enhancement?
* What are the spiritual implications of neurotheology and entheogenic technologies that create subjective experiences of meditative absorption, or religious awe and reverie?
* Do we have a moral obligation to use enhancement technology to make ourselves more compassionate, moral and wise beings?
* What are the spiritual implications of procreative liberty and procreative beneficence (using germinal choice technology to improve the lives of our children)?
* How can transhumanists improve dialogue with, and understanding among, suspicious people of faith?

Submit proposal
If submitting a proposal please include all of the following information in a proposal for your presentation:

* Title of presentation.
* Description of the content and format (300 words or less).
* Abstract (25-50 words) for inclusion in the conference program.
* Media to be used and audiovisual equipment needed (if any).
* Designated contact person (only one per proposal).
* Complete name, title, organization, address, phone and fax numbers, and email address for each session presenter.
* Brief biographical sketch (50 words or less) for each presenter.

Please submit your proposals electronically to conference chair James Hughes, Ph.D at james.hughes@trincoll.edu. The deadline is June 1, 2004. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Please attach the paper the presentation is based on if it is already written.

We strongly encourage joint submission to The Journal of Evolution and Technology or Transhumanity e-zine.

The Journal of Evolution and Technology is a peer-reviewed electronic journal associated with the World Transhumanist Association, publishing contemporary research into future science and philosophy.

This special issue seeks to highlight issues related to technological innovation, the human condition and secular and religious worldviews, while mapping out a platform for conversation between transhumanism and faith communities. We seek articles that consider areas of commonality and overlap, as well as their points of divergence between transhumanist and varying religious perspectives. We also encourage discussion of new ways of thinking about and integrating discussion of religious faith and

This issue on religion and transhumanism intends to present a variety of perspectives and hence is open in terms of topics covered.

Contributions in the form of full-length articles (5000-10,000 words) or forum pieces or position papers (2000-3000 words). Authors are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the editor or guest editor, Heidi Campbell - University of Edinburgh.

Manuscripts should be prepared according to the guidelines and be submitted by October 1, 2004. Please email completed manuscripts to Mark Walker, JET editor, at mark@permanentend.org or Heidi Campbell, guest editor, at hcampbe1@yahoo.co.uk.

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