Two years ago, there was conference held in Claremont, California, dealing with the intersection of religion (mostly Mormonism) and engineering. Many of the participants were members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. As a result of that conference, a compilation of the papers presented was assembled in book form. The book titled Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision was recently published by Greg Kofford Books and can be purchased from koffordbooks.com, amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. It will also be available in eBook format for Kindle, Nook and on iTunes.
The book was edited by A. Scott Howe, a NASA engineer, and Richard L. Bushman, a noted historian and biographer. In the “Forward,” Bushman writes:
Mormon theology leads us to see eternal implications in engineering. Engineers enable us to make the world more comfortable and to perform incredible feats of movement and communication. But their work may go beyond the amelioration of the human condition. The end point of engineering knowledge may be divine knowledge. Mormon theology permits us to think of God and humans as collaborators in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Engineers may be preparing the way for humans to act more like gods in managing the world.
The “Introduction” is written by Terryl L. Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond.
The chapter I wrote is titled “Gaia, Mormonism, and Paradisiacal Earth.” According to my abstract:
Mormonism provides the seeds for an extraordinarily proactive attitude toward the earth as it evolves toward its paradisiacal glory. LDS theology teaches that, as humankind progresses toward our eternal reward, so does the earth. Brigham Young taught that we are co-creators of the evolving earth, and that our participation in this terrestrial progression is part of our earthly sojourn and mortal test. I argue that the earth is a living organism–Gaia–which is rapidly progressing toward sentience, and that we are agents of many aspects of this evolution. Such a belief require LDS Church members to go past the role of stewardship to a more proactive stance. LDS Church members need a positive attitude toward the earth and its future.
The Introduction to my chapter reads:
In “Gaia, Mormonism, and Paradisiacal Earth,” Roger Hansen argues that we not only strive toward perfection–an effort that will eventually result in our resurrection, immortality, and eternal life, but also argues that the earth also may gradually be gaining sentience through our efforts. He explains that an earth with a nervous system (the internet) and form of intelligence (computers) may be part of the plan, inspired through thousands of incremental inventions and improvements. Hansen uses remote monitoring and data collection of watersheds and redimentary geo-engineering as examples of the real-world practice of engineers who are participating in the work of the Gods.