BRAVE NEW WORLD?
GENETIC ENGINEERING & HUMAN DIGNITY
HILTON, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, USA, August 2-5, 2012
Genetic engineering poses a challenge equal to AI’s “transhumanism” in its implications for human dignity and the very notion of what it means to be human. Indeed, there seems to be a confluence of gentech and AI since they are closely related. While gentech promises unprecedented new powers for humans to redesign God’s creation, AI seems to provide the necessary technology for manipulating such a Brave New World. Gentech’s enormous potential benefits include altered plants which can withstand diseases or vicissitudes of climate and thus yield more abundant crops to possibly end hunger in the world. New discoveries in bio-sciences, such as the ability to grow skin tissue from DNA to repair damaged or burnt skin of fire or accident victims, may extend to growing entire organs or limbs which could revolutionize medicine, replacing organ transplants and prosthetics. Just like in nature, where amphibians can re-grow missing limbs, humans might be able to do the same. As with many successful human inventions, from the submarine to the airplane, nature has the secret key to regeneration processes which gentech might discover. But gentech’s social, psychological, and spiritual implications pose even greater challenges to human self-understanding. As in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, the central question concerns not only science or technique, but their impact on human self-identity and free choice. Gentech and AI may appear to replace God and elevate man in His place, since the new powers promise to fulfill humanity’s quest for self-sufficiency and immortality. As stewards of God’s creation, we face the challenge, then: how can science and technology benefit, rather than enslave, all humanity?
KEYNOTE I: “EXISTING WITHOUT MY BODY:
The Technological and Spiritual Possibilities and Actualities”
Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University/Olive-Harvey College
KEYNOTE II: “BRAVE NEW WORLD:
Media Manipulation and Human Dignity”
Dr. Ted Baehr, CFTC/Movieguide
ICSA VII CONGRESS GUIDELINES:
BRAVE NEW WORLD endeavors to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines and denominations for an exciting international conference which takes both scholarship and faith seriously. Symposium Venue: ICSA VII is co-sponsored by IIR-ICSA-JIS in the City of the Roses–the world-famous Tournament of Roses–in sunny Southern California, with many cultural/sightseeing opportunities. Send Abstracts (250 words) to: Dr. O. Gruenwald, JIS Editor, 1065 Pine Bluff Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107, USA, per e-mail (no attachments) to: ICSA VII (click for e-mail). Include: Paper Title, First & Last Name, faculty or student, mailing address, phone & e-mail. Publication: Fully-developed papers will be considered for publication in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies XXV 2013. Conference Web: www.JIS3.org/icsavii2012. Registration: Symposium participants must preregister: $75 by 15 April 2012; $100 after 15 April 2012; $150 after 1 June 2012.
ICSA VII CONGRESS STRUCTURE:
Check-In: Thursday, August 2, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Hilton Pasadena. Reception: Thursday, August 2, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Main Congress Program: Friday, August 3, 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM. Saturday-Sunday, August 4-5: Cultural/Ecclesial/Sightseeing. Format: Multidisciplinary panels and papers. Participants are encouraged to attend the entire conference to enhance dialogue, synergy, and synthesis, as well as fellowship. Presenting a paper is not a prerequisite for participation. Indicate if you prefer to serve as discussant. Family members enjoy the reduced student registration rate. Audio-Visual Equipment: Bring laptop or flash drive if PowerPoint presentation. Cultural/Sightseeing: Before or after the conference. Optional Field Trip: Caltech Solar Project, Pasadena.
TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATIONS:
Lodging: We recommend that conference participants make their hotel and airline reservations as soon as possible. Hilton Pasadena Reservations: 1-800-445-8667; 1-626-577-1000. Online Group Reservation Page: ICSA VII (click). Special Group Rate (till July 3, 2012): $119 (+ tax) single or double occupancy/per night. Bring an alarm clock and a sweater or jacket for cooler mornings and evenings. Cultural/sightseeing/travel/accommodations: Pasadena Visitors Bureau: 1-800-307-7977. Ground Transportation: Hilton Pasadena (168 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101) may be reached from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) via shuttles, e.g., Super Shuttle (shared ride $23): 1-800-258-3826, or rent-a-car (ca. 45 minute drive).