The SCD Theology Research Network (TRN) and ISCAST (Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology) are pleased to announce a new online seminar series: Religiously Human in a Techno-Scientific World: Theological, Missional, and Pastoral Perspectives. The series will run from Semester 2 2022 through Semester 1 2024, with three papers per semester.
The aim of the series is to encourage theological reflection about the increasing impact of science and technology on our conceptions of human existence.
Friday 30th Sep 2022 @ 2:00 pm –
Friday 25th Nov 2022 @ 2:00 pm
Paper 1: Models of the Relationship of Science and Religion in Science Fiction and What They Reveal about Contemporary Attitudes toward Religion
Friday 30 September 2022, 2–4 p.m.
Rev. Dr Mark Worthing
This paper considers four different models in science fiction literature of the relationship between science and religion, from dismissal to identity. In some futures religion simply fades away and in others the distinction blurs; religion can be demythologised as advanced science, or recognised as a successful complement to science. Only rarely is Christianity seen as surviving in a significant way.
Paper 2: Human Flourishing Through the Contemplation of Nature in the Age of Science
Friday 28 October 2022, 2–4 p.m.
Associate Professor Rev. Dr Doru Costache
We know so much in our day and age! Notwithstanding our awareness that more than 80% of the universe eludes us, we know more things than we ever did about reality. Some even say that this is our only comfort: to realise the vastness of the cosmos and to find out, step by step, new things about it. But this knowledge, external to our lives, still leaves us empty. We still crack under the pressure of work, duty, and society—much more often and definitely more tragically than our forebears ever did. In this talk, I set out to show that the accumulation of information must be doubled by internal, personal processes of assimilation in order for us to flourish in this great age of science. One such way is by learning to contemplate nature, where knowing becomes a way of being, of connecting with things, of finding ourselves in the vastness of space and time.
Paper 3: Enhancing Medicine? Should Medicine Be in the Business of Human Enhancement?
Friday 25 November 2022, 2–4 p.m.
Rev. Dr Andrew Sloane
Biomedical technology has a long history of seeking to remedy the disadvantages resulting from disease or disability—from eyeglasses to prosthetic limbs and cochlear implants. While this work continues, recent scientific research and philosophical reflection have turned to the possibility of enhancing the human—physically, cognitively, and even morally. This raises important questions about the desirability of human enhancement, and its metaphysical and practical implications. The focus in this paper will be on a more particular question: should medicine be in the business of human enhancement? I will presuppose a theory of medicine that sees it as fundamentally being an expression of a community’s care for vulnerable humans, which aims at providing care that addresses that vulnerability (be it curative or not). In medical contexts, biomedical technology ought to be in the service of that kind of care, and so, whatever the theological and ethical status of human enhancement, it is not the proper task of medicine. Indeed, engaging in human enhancement would further medicine’s increasing captivity to both technological imperatives and the commodification of the body itself.
Future speakers include
- Associate Professor Megan Best, Institute for Ethics and Society, University of Notre Dame, Australia.
- Dr Victoria Lorrimar, Trinity College, Qld.
- Dr Christa McKirland, Carey Baptist College, NZ.
- Professor Bronwen Neil, Professor of Ancient History, Macquarie University, NSW.
- Professor Ted Peters, Distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics, Graduate Theological Union.