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Naturalism, Nanotechnology, and Our “Post-human” future: A Reformed Perspective Charles C. Adams Dordt College 2006-2008 ARIHE Lectures.

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Presentation on theme: "Naturalism, Nanotechnology, and Our “Post-human” future: A Reformed Perspective Charles C. Adams Dordt College 2006-2008 ARIHE Lectures."— Presentation transcript:

1 Naturalism, Nanotechnology, and Our “Post-human” future: A Reformed Perspective Charles C. Adams Dordt College ARIHE Lectures

2 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Introduction: Ray Kurzweil The Age of Spiritual Machines Bill Joy “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us”

3 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future A biblical foundation Defining science and technology A little history A look at naturalism A Christian alternative to naturalism A look at some issues The main point

4 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future The Creator-creature distinction –Genesis 1:1 –Hebrews 1:1-3a –Colossians 1:15-20 The goodness, unity, and dynamic quality of creation –Genesis 1:25-28, 31

5 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future The creatureliness of being human –Genesis 2:7 –Psalm 8 God’s faithfulness to his Word for creation –Psalm 119:89-91

6 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future The radical character of the fall and the curse –Genesis 3:17-18 –Romans 8:20 Redemption as reconciliation of all things –Colossians 1:20

7 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future So what does it mean to be human? A creature like other creatures A creature unlike other creatures –Responsibility and freedom –Multifaceted dimensions of responsibility –The Creator’s enabler with respect to creation

8 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Egbert Schuurman’s philosophy of technology Meaning disclosure Distinguishing science from technology Distinguishing physical technology from biotechnology

9 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Science: Humanity’s attempt to understand and articulate the orderliness in creation Technology: Responding to the cultural mandate –Genesis 1:28, 2:15 –Psalm 8:6-8

10 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future A Little History Aristotle, the Aristotelian worldview, and the Copernican revolution Galileo and naturalist epistemology Descartes, dualism, and the foundations of naturalism

11 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future The Naturalistic Worldview Simple physical reductionism Humanistic naturalism Christian naturalism: methodological atheism

12 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the future Moore’s law and more The merging of human and machine intelligence Downloading our consciousness into durable robotic bodies 2099

13 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Rodney Brooks Confession “On the one hand, I believe myself and my children all to be mere machines.” “But that’s not how I treat them.” “Like a religious scientist, I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.”

14 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Bill Joy’s Angst Old vs. New Technologies –NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) –GNR (genetics, nanotechnology, robotics) We lose our humanity when we evolve into our robotic creations

15 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Francis Fukuyama’s Fear Distinguishing neuropharmacology from genetic engineering Losing our essential humanity

16 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future A Christian Alternative to Naturalism God, not creation, is divine. –Roy Clouser’s The Myth of Religious Neutrality Reason is creaturely.

17 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future A Christian Alternative to Naturalism The image of God: built upon our physical and biotic nature, but not reducible to it. The New Jerusalem rather than Utopia. Normative technology and shalom.

18 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future A Christian Alternative to Naturalism The predispositional properties of technological artifacts. The bi-directional character of technological artifacts.

19 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Some Issues Merging with our machines. Genetic therapy and “playing God.” Nanotechnology, biotechnology and risk.

20 Naturalism, Nanotechnology and Our “Post-human” Future Conclusion Technology as response to God’s call. Technology as normed. Technological products as promoting or inhibiting faithful living. Therefore: –Working prophetically in technology. –Living discerningly with technology.


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