Call for papers



The Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to announce that this year's annual conference will take place on Saturday, 8 April 2017, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.

The theme of the conference is “Evolving Gods.” From its earliest beginnings, humanity has looked beyond itself, seeing in various deities its characteristics embodied to a superlative degree. Human conceptions of the divine have undergone dramatic shifts, from polytheistic contention for dominance between tribal deities, to notions of a god more powerful than all these, and eventually to the consigning of these tribal deities to oblivion as monotheism became predominant. Early Christians, Eastern Orthodox, and subsequent restorationist movements, like Mormonism, emphasized human divine potential through the process of theosis, deification, or divinization. Eastern religions taught the possibility of achieving unity with the divine community of enlightened beings.

In our present era of rapidly accelerating technological advancement, we are achieving tremendous improvements in physical and mental health, rejuvenation, and communal well-being. We are seeing declines in violence and suffering that bring us closer to the just society envisioned by many religions. At the same time, many traditional religions are in decline, while fundamentalist and secularist movements gain momentum. We also face numerous existential risks, including environmental degradation, technological obsolescence and political upheaval.

This theme raises questions about how our conception of the divine and of morality has changed over time and how it continues to change in our transhuman age; about the function of religion and the new shapes it is taking; and about how we humans should approach our increasingly godlike powers, and what kinds of gods we will choose to resemble, for good or ill.


KEYNOTE SPEAKERS


Steven Peck is a professor of biology at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses including “The History and Philosophy of Biology” and “Bioethics.” His research in theoretical mathematical ecology and insect populations has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations for helping to fight insect-borne illness. His published works include over forty scientific articles in prominent publications like American Naturalist, Newsweek, and Zygon; a volume of philosophical and religious essays titled Evolving Faith; fictional works like The Scholar of Moab and A Short Stay in Hell, which is being made into a feature film; and a number of poems and short stories. He blogs at sciencebysteve.net.




Robin Hanson is associate professor of economics at George Mason University, and research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. Oxford University Press published his book The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth in June 2016, and will publish The Elephant in the Brain, co-authored with Kevin Simler, in September 2017. He has pioneered prediction markets, also known as information markets and idea futures, since 1988. He was the first to write in detail about creating and subsidizing markets to gain better estimates on a wide variety of important topics. He was a principal architect of the first internal corporate markets, at Xanadu in 1990, of the first web markets, the Foresight Exchange since 1994, of DARPA's Policy Analysis Market, from 2001 to 2003, and of IARPA's combinatorial markets DAGGRE and SCICAST from 2010 to 2015. He developed new technologies for conditional, combinatorial, and intermediated trading, and studied insider trading, manipulation, and other foul play. He has written and spoken widely on the application of idea futures to business and policy, and has advised many ventures. Hanson has diverse research interests, with papers on spatial product competition, health incentive contracts, group insurance, product bans, evolutionary psychology and bioethics of health care, voter information incentives, incentives to fake expertise, Bayesian classification, agreeing to disagree, self-deception in disagreement, probability elicitation, wiretaps, image reconstruction, the history of science prizes, reversible computation, the origin of life, the survival of humanity, very long term economic growth, growth given machine intelligence, and interstellar colonization.

See more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hanson.


PAPER SUBMISSION


We invite you to submit papers for the conference. The aim of this conference is to address the many issues and topics that lie at the intersection of technology and religion, and their impacts on society, and culture including art, music, entertainment, and on society in general. Contributions need not focus only on specifically Mormon religious issues. Papers should be approximately two to seven pages in length and should include full citations, references, footnotes, etc. Presenters are encouraged to make use of multimedia aids, such as slides, to make their presentations more engaging. Potential conference topics include:

Philosophy, Theology and the Sociology of Religion: The secularization hypothesis and its implications for religion and religious organizations; post-secularization; ethics; faith and rationality; religious anthropology; philosophy of religion; scriptural hermeneutics; demythologization; postmodern religion; religious naturalism; social anthropology of technology; sociology of technology; technology and spirituality; feminism and gender issues; technology and gender.

Transhumanism: Evolution and the great filter argument; Moore’s law, Kurzweil’s law and the technological singularity; the pace of technological change; evolution; the evolution of technology; simulation argument; solar energy; genome sequencing; synthetic biology; 3D printing; genetics and biotech; nanotech and molecular machines; robotics and artificial intelligence; substrate independent minds; mind uploading; consciousness; cultural impact of technology; coping with the pace of technological change; neuroscience.

Transfigurism: Human transcendence through ethical and technological advancement; religious transhumanism; rejecting fundamentalism; rejecting anti-religiosity; transfigurist science; transfigurist politics; transfigurist art; promoting benevolence; promoting creativity; engineering transfiguration; engineering resurrection; engineering renewal of this world; engineering worlds without end; the New God Argument.

Please send submissions in RTF, PDF, MS Word or Google Doc format to admin@transfigurism.org. Include author's full name, contact information, and title.
Some funding is available to reimburse portions of travel for presenters. Please indicate interest in being considered for travel support in the submission email.

For more information, visit the official website of the Mormon Transhumanist Association at transfigurism.org. Recordings of presentations from previous years are available on our YouTube channel.

Important dates

  • Conference Paper Submission Deadline: 28 February 2017
  • Presentation Invitation Notification Date: 7 March 2017
  • Conference Date: 8 April 2017


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