Christian Ethics and the Future of Human Evolution
As a result of the convergence of an extraordinary array of emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, cybernetics, robotic prostheses, recombinant DNA, neurological implants, augmented reality, nanotechnologies, amongst many others), one of that the most significant frontiers in the relation between theology and evolutionary biology in the twenty-first century is likely to concern the transition from the natural evolution of human beings to their artificial evolution. This transition to the deliberate evolution of humankind has been championed by a variety of transhumanists, extropians and others who postulate and celebrate the prospects of a posthuman future made possible by technological advance.
My work centres on the theological, social and ethical dimensions of posthumanism. Amongst the themes I will be elaborating are (i) the origins of posthuman aspirations in the seventeenth-century revolution of thought and practice, together with the quasi-religious dimensions of posthumanism; (ii) the implications of understanding the body theologically, that is, as grounded in the body of Christ; (iii) the significance of bodily materiality for human fulfilment, including the body’s evolutionary heritage and its intrinsically technological constitution; and (iv) the value of learning to live morally valuable lives that have come to embrace finitude.
Robert Song is Senior Lecturer in Christian Ethics in the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, where until recently he was Head of Department. He is the author of Christianity and Liberal Society, Human Genetics: Fabricating the Future, as well as articles in a wide range of areas in Christian ethics. His research interests centre on the relations between Christian ethics and the ethics of medicine and the life sciences, and between theology and science and technology studies, as well as broader concerns in social and political theology.