Book Plunge: Humans 2.0

What do I think of Fazale Rana and Ken Samples’s newest book published by RTB? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“What hath God wrought?” Such was the question asked at the invention of the telegraph. We have updated our technology more and more so that when we watch shows such as Stranger Things and see the technology of the 80’s, we see it as primitive. When my wife and I go walking in the morning, we see students waiting for the school bus. I think they are likely some of our first digital citizens and will always grow up in a world with smartphones, the internet everywhere, and 9/11 being always a part of their lives.

Comic books showed us a world that fifty years ago we could only dream of. Now, some of those dreams are becoming reality. Unfortunately, when dreams do come true, it is not always a good thing. We could inadvertently create a nightmare by the actions that we do. Our intentions might be good at the start, but there are always people that will take good things and use them for nefarious means.

So it is with the idea known as transhumanism. It is through technological advances and gene therapies and ideas like that that we hope to push the limits of human potential. Many of us live with some such enhancements. I sit at my desk and from the outside, I look like an average person, although a bit underweight and thus small, but internally on my spine right now is a steel rod meant to keep me straight physically and control my scoliosis.

When I read a book like this one then, I find myself getting excited and concerned both. I like the idea of extending human lifespans so that 90 will be seen as what 50 is today. I like the idea of heightened intelligence and memory. I also have to wonder whose job it was to read Iron Man comics since there’s a story from them at the start of every chapter. That must have been enjoyable research.

But as a person with a disability, I have my concerns. Will I be seen as a defective human being and people like me need to be removed from the gene pool? Who will determine who gets enhancements and who doesn’t? Are we close to playing God in a way that we shouldn’t?

Rana and Samples have written this book to first off introduce us to the idea. They are not ones who are totally saying we have to scrap all these ideas. There are some good things coming. If we can take some steps to avoid suffering, is that not a good thing?

Their main concern is who is it we are going to end up being at the end? Will we still be humans? At this, this is probably my biggest criticism of the book is I don’t think humans are truly defined. If we say the image of God, we need to say what that image is exactly. Is the image something of the kind that technological advances can remove it? That doesn’t sound much like the image of God.

The writers explain much of the technology and science behind the ideas. If you’re like me, your eyes will, unfortunately, kind of glaze over these sections. They’re great while you read them, but afterward, you’re not sure what you read. On the plus side, they tell you where to skip ahead to in the book if you don’t want to read those.

There’s also philosophical and theological looks at the topics going into ethics. What is the right thing to do in this situation? How should Christians respond to technology in general? I personally think these advancements are inevitable, so what will we do when they come?

There’s also sections on how DNA works, the question of artificial intelligence, and even artificial wombs. People very much into science and technology will likely get a great deal out of this. I was a bit surprised that I don’t remember anything from the Matrix being mentioned in these kinds of sections, but that could be a sign of how even something like that is in our past.

Transhumanism is something that we as Christians will have to think about and it is becoming more of a reality every day. We have technology today we could only dream of when we were younger. How will it be in the future? Only time will tell. Let us hope that we are ready to let this genie out of the bottle properly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/17/2015: Ken Samples

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let’s suppose you’re giving a defense of the resurrection using a minimal facts approach and you get to the appearances of Jesus. Now let’s suppose your opponent says to you “Look. I don’t doubt that the apostles were really convinced they saw something. Okay. I just don’t accept that testimony. After all, there are plenty of people who have eyewitness testimony about being abducted by aliens. If I don’t accept that, why should I accept your claim?”

What do you do?

How about find out about those alien abductions and for that, I spoke to my friends at Reasons To Believe to see if anyone wanted to come on and talk about alien abductions and the resurrection. From Reasons To Believe then comes Kenneth Samples.

Kenneth Samples Image

According to his bio:

Kenneth Richard Samples began voraciously studying Christian philosophy and theology when his thirst for purpose found relief in the Bible. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. For seven years, Kenneth worked as Senior Research Consultant and Correspondence Editor at the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and regularly cohosted the popular call-in radio program, The Bible Answer Man, with Dr. Walter Martin.
As a youth, Kenneth wrestled with “unsettling feelings of meaninglessness and boredom,” driving him to seek answers to life’s big questions. An encounter with Christian philosophy in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis led Kenneth to examine the New Testament and “finally believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world.” From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying faith.

Today, as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), Kenneth uses what he’s learned to help others find the answers to life’s questions. He encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level. He is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and has contributed to numerous other books, including: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, The Cult of the Virgin, and Prophets of the Apocalypse. He has written articles for Christianity Today and The Christian Research Journal, and regularly participates in RTB’s podcasts, including Straight Thinking, a podcast dedicated to encouraging Christians to utilize sound reasoning in their apologetics. He also writes for the ministry’s daily blog, Today‚Äôs New Reason to Believe.

An avid speaker and debater, Kenneth has appeared on numerous radio programs such as Voice America Radio, Newsmakers, The Frank Pastore Show, Stand to Reason, White Horse Inn, Talk New York, and Issues Etc., as well as participated in debates and dialogues on topics relating to Christian doctrine and apologetics. He currently lectures for the Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Kenneth also teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

Over the years Kenneth has held memberships in the American Philosophical Association, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Press Association.

The son of a decorated World War II veteran, Kenneth is an enthusiastic student of American history, particularly the Civil War and WWII. His favorite Christian thinkers include Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. He greatly enjoys the music of the Beatles and is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.

This Saturday then, we’ll be tackling the question. The show will only be an hour long so we won’t get to cover everything, but I hope what we will cover will help to add to your apologetics arsenal and improve your witness for Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters