Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision (6-7 March)

The Claremont School of Religion, The LDS Council on Mormon Studies and the Mormon Scholars Foundation are pleased to present:

Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision

A conference featuring keynote speaker Terryl Givens and a panel of LDS engineers

The conference seeks to expand the discussion of Latter-day Saint perspectives on the attributes of God and the potential of man by examining the possible resonance between Mormon and engineering thought. In Mormon thought, God is the architect of the Creation and the engineer of our bodies and spirits. Man, on the other hand, is believed to be capable of growing to become like God. The conference's governing question is: Where does engineering fit in the convergence of these two realms?

A panel of LDS engineers will discuss topics that include materialism, free will, models of spirit matter, quantified morality, spiritual underpinnings for a space program, the New God Argument, God as a perfect engineer, technical interpretation of Mormon physiology, transhumanism, Gaia and the paradisiacal Earth, and technical advancement leading into the millennium.

Keynote Lecture:
Friday, 6 March 2009 at 8pm

Saturday, 7 March 2009 10am-5pm

10:00 Welcome - Richard Bushman

10:10 - 11:50

"God, The Perfect Engineer"
Allen W. Leigh, Electrical / Software Engineer & Adjunct Instructor, retired

"Models of Spirit Matter"
Adam N. Davis, Assistant Professor of Physics, Wayne State College

"A Technical Interpretation of Mormon Physics and Physiology"
Lincoln Cannon (with Scott Howe), President, Mormon Transhumanist Association

"Materialism, Free Will, and Mormonism"
Adam N. Davis, Assistant Professor of Physics, Wayne State College

11:50 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 2:50

"Theological Implications of The New God Argument"
Joseph West (with Lincoln Cannon), Founding Member, Director and Secretary, Mormon Transhumanist Association

"Quantified Morality"
A. Scott Howe, PhD, Senior Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Transfiguration: Parallels and Complements Between Mormonism and Transhumanism"
Carl Youngblood, Chief Software Architect, Surgeworks, Inc.

"Gaia, Mormonism, and Paradisiacal Earth"
Roger D. Hansen, PhD, Technology Specialist, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

2:50 - 3:10 Break

3:10 - 4:00

"Spiritual Underpinnings for a Space Program"
William R. Pickett (with Scott Howe), Senior Hardware Engineer, Antenna Range Master, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Welcome to the 21st Century: The Uncharted Future Ahead"
David H. Bailey, Chief Technologist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

4:00 - 5:00 Panel Discussion

Lecture and Conference Location:
Albrecht Auditorium in Stauffer Hall, Claremont Graduate University, 925 North Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont

The conference is free and open to the public.

The official site for the conference is available here:

Call for Papers from American Academy of Religion Transhumanism and Religion Consultation

2009 Call for Papers (open to non-American Academy of Religion members) - Deadline March 2, 2009

Transhumanism and Religion Consultation--American Academy of Religion--November 7-10, 2009 annual meeting in Montreal

This Consultation welcomes papers on any aspect of transhumanism and religion. We particularly welcome papers that identify and critically evaluate the implicit religious beliefs underlying key transhumanist claims and assumptions. For example, what are the operative notions of anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology that are at play in the transhumanist quest for enhancement, including extreme longevity? We welcome more overtly philosophical critiques of posthuman discourse, especially in respect to the employment of and reliance placed in technology. We encourage proposals about all religious traditions. Also, rather than depending on biotechnology, some transhumanists place greater confidence in nanotechnology, robotics, and information technology to achieve virtual immortality and create a superior posthuman species. We welcome critical and constructive assessments of this envisioned future. For more information, contact Calvin Mercer (


--go to
--on the right side, click on "online paper and panel proposal (OP3) system now open"
--scroll down and click on "Submit a Proposal as a Non-Member" and follow instructions
--the proposal is for the "Religion and Transhumanism" consultation

If your proposal is accepted, then you will need to become an AAR member and be registered for the annual meeting in (Montreal November 7-10) before June 15 to remain on the program. Deadline for submission of a proposal is March 2, 2009.


"Transhumanism" or "human enhancement" refers to an intellectual and cultural movement that advocates the use of a variety of emerging technologies. The convergence of these technologies may make it possible to take control of human evolution, providing for the enhancement of human mental and physical abilities and the amelioration of aspects of the human condition regarded as undesirable. If these enhancements become widely available, it would arguably have a more radical impact than any other development in human history - one need only reflect briefly on the economic, political, and social implications of some of the extreme enhancement possibilities. The implications for religion and the religious dimensions of human enhancement technologies are enormous and are addressed in our consultation.

Charles Darwin Bicentennial Week at BYU, Feb. 9-13, 2009

1809 - 1859 - 2009

  1. Monday, 6 p.m., 455 MARB
    How Darwin's Big Idea Has Improved the Human Condition: Three Vignettes for Discussion
    Evolution and Modern Medicine - Keith Crandall, Department of Biology
    Evolution in Forensics, Food, & Conservation - Byron Adams, Department of Biology
    Evolution and Behavior - Jerry Johnson, Department of Biology

  2. Tuesday, Noon, 321 Maeser Building Auditorium
    The Many Faces of Charles Darwin
    Daniel Fairbanks, Professor and Associate Dean of Science and Health, Utah Valley University

  3. Wednesday, 3 p.m., 455 MARB
    An Approach to Understanding the Creation
    Terry Ball, Dean of Religious Education, Department of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University

  4. Wednesday, 7 p.m., 445 MARB
    On Knowing: The Times and Seasons of Joseph Smith, Abraham Lincoln, and Charles Darwin
    Riley Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Brigham Young University

  5. Thursday Feb. 12 - 7 p.m. - 3220 Wilkinson Student Center
    The Legacy of Charles Darwin: Seeking Grandeur in the View of Life
    Michael Whiting, Professor, Department of Biology, Brigham Young University
    Birthday cake will be served following the lecture.

  6. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. reception, 7p.m. lecture, 377 Clyde Building
    The Evolution of Charles Darwin: A Bicentennial Celebration
    Scott Ritter, Professor & Chair, Department of Geology, Brigham Young University

  7. Friday, 3 p.m., 445 MARB
    Darwin and the Human Fossil Record
    Duane Jeffery, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, Brigham Young University

For more information, please see the press release.


Subscribe Subscribe to News