Academic Advisory Council
The Rev. Dr. Ronald Cole-Turner is the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics, a position relating theology and ethics to developments in science and technology. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion (currently serving as vice president), and has served on the advisory board of the John Templeton Foundation and the Metanexus Institute.
His recent work is framed by two questions—where have we come from and where are we going? In 2016, Ron published The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins, exploring the latest developments in the science of human origins from the standpoint of theology. Now he is at work on theological response to transhumanism and the technologies of human enhancement, tentatively titled Humanity Transcendent.
Cole-Turner is the author of Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Advancement, and the editor of Beyond Cloning: Religion and the Remaking of Humanity.
Dr. Calvin Mercer’s work on religion and transhumanism includes co-editing, along with UK scholar Steve Fuller, Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and Its Successors, a new series that addresses human enhancement issues from all disciplines and points of view. Dr. Mercer is the co-editor of Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; reissued in paperback, 2014); The Body in Transhumanism: The World Religions Speak (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement (Praeger, 2014); and Religion and Human Enhancement: Death, Values, and Morality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). His scholarly articles on the topic are found in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Theology and Science, Religions, and other edited books. He was founding chair of the “Human Enhancement and Transhumanism” Group at the American Academy of Religion. Some of his work is summarized in this podcast interview. Also trained in clinical psychology, Dr. Mercer practiced professionally part-time for over a decade and uses this discipline in his published work on religion, as exampled in his 2009 book by Praeger, Slaves to Faith: A Therapist Looks Inside the Fundamentalist Mind. He is professor of religious studies at East Carolina University and gives public lectures on the religious implications of human enhancement technology, fundamentalism, and other topics.
J. Jeanine Thweatt
Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Science from Princeton Theological Seminary, and has taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Flagler College. She is the author of Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman, and publishes on the intersection of posthumanism, transhumanism and theology.
James "J." Hughes Ph.D. is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the Associate Provost for Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning for the University of Massachusetts Boston, and as the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He also served as the Executive Director of the World Transhumanist Association from 2004 to 2006. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he also taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Dr. Hughes is author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, and writes widely on technology, ethics and religion.
Frank Jennings Tipler is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University. He is the author of The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead, The Physics of Christianity, and The Anthropic Cosmological Principle with John D. Barrow.
Ted Peters is a Lutheran theologian and Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. In addition to his work as a theologian and educator, he is a prolific author and editor on Christian and Lutheran theology in the modern world. He is author of GOD-The World’s Future (Fortress 2000) and Science, Theology, and Ethics (Ashgate 2003). He is editor-in-chief of Dialog, A Journal of Theology. He also serves as co-editor of Theology and Science published by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley.
Jay Gary, PhD, is an educator, entrepreneur and futurist. He serves as president of PeakFutures, an educational company providing learning solutions to corporate, educational and community clients, that empower emerging and mid-career leaders. Since 2003 he has served as a professor of strategic foresight and anticipatory leadership. His published research has ranged from a Delphi study on the future of foresight professionals, to award winning work on the future according to Jesus, http://www.christianfutures.com. He presently serves as vice-chair of the Association of Professional Futurists: http://www.apf.org.