Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science – Spring 2011

Perspectives on Humanity: Evolution, Enhancement, Biotechnology, and Theology

Philip Hefner and Lea F. Schweitz Monday Evenings 6:30 PM — 9:30 PM, January 31 through May 2, 2011 Common Room 350, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615
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This seminar focuses on three areas of scientific research that promise to change our perspectives on humanity:

  • Scientific and technological approaches to human enhancement, including “transhumanism”
  • Bioengineering, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology, particularly as applied in medical science
  • Investigations of hominid evolution and human pre-history, including recent interest in the relationships between Neandertals and modern humans and in the archeology of ancient Near Eastern civilizations

In each of these areas we will pose two central questions:

  • What is the scientific and theological significance of this research?
  • What does this research suggest about what it means to be human?

Offered by the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS), the Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science is designed as a research seminar for faculty and graduate students.  Course credit is available via registration through the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) or cross-registration through member schools of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS); the course number is LSTC T-672.  All participants, whether taking the seminar for credit or not, are asked to pre-register with the seminar chairs by contacting ZCRS at zcrs@lstc.edu or 773-256-0670.  For more information about ZCRS, please visit www.zygoncenter.org.  For more information about Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, visit www.zygonjournal.org.

Advanced Seminar Schedule - Spring 2011

DateTimeTopicSpeaker
January 31, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMPerspectives on Humanity: Laying Out the Seminar ThemesLea F. Schweitz and Philip Hefner, theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
February 3, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMThe Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of AgingS. Jay Olshansky, public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago
February 14, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMLiving Long and Dying Well: A Theological Response to Aubrey de GreyAnn Pederson, theology, Augustana College, Sioux Falls
February 21, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMThe Animal that Aspires to Be an Angel: The Challenge of Transhumanism

Becoming Homo sapiens
Philip Hefner, theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago


Anne Benvenuti, psychology and philosophy, Cerro Coso College
February 28, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMAn African American Ethical Perspective on the Use of Genetic Technology

Reality Genomics: The Therapeutic and Transformative Framing of DNA Ancestry
Richard Perry, social ethics, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Elonda Clay, religion and science, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
March 7, 2011No Seminar (Reading Week at LSTC)
March 14, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMBiology by Design: Opportunities and Challenges in Synthetic BiologyJosh Leonard and Michael Jewett, chemical and biological engineering / medical research, Northwestern University
March 21, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMNanotechnology: At the Biology/Inorganic InterfaceGayle Woloschak, molecular biology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
March 28, 2011To Be Announced
April 4, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMNeandertals: A Mirror for Modern Humans (and their Nature)?Fred Smith, anthropology, Illinois State University
April 11, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMBeing Human in the Ancient Near EastLeann Pace and Eudora Struble, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, University of Chicago
April 18, 2011No Seminar (Holy Week at LSTC)
April 25, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMThe Role of Science in Exploring Human NatureWilliam Schweiker, theology and ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School
May 2, 20116:30 - 9:30 PMPerspectives on Humanity: Summarizing and ReflectingLea F. Schweitz and Philip Hefner, theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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