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Freaked Out By Bio Technology

I’ve been a part of the Lausanne movement since I attended a Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in 2006. Coming out of that congress, some of my new friends and I started a conversation about what it means to be an evangelical and did we want to be one. Some of that conversation has taken the form of a book called Routes & Radishes And Other Things To Talk About At The Evangelical Crossroads.

One of the things that prompted the conversation and frustrated me with evangelicals were the somewhat narrow views regarding social engagement. From what I experienced social engagement was either defined as simply telling everyone to get saved or promoting 2-3 “values” that coincidentally aligned with the political platform of a particular party.

I decided in order to stay in Lausanne and in the evangelical movement, there needed to be some significant progress in processing and articulating thoughtful social engagement. If our faith is true, surely it has implications for everything we do.

To be a part of that process, I became a member of a couple of Lausanne think tanks, one the theology working group and other, the newly formed, Government, Business and Academy think tank (GBA).

At one of our first meetings here in Cape Town we were treated to a presentation by Nigel Cameron, President of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies in Washington, DC, and a Research Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

According to Nigel, there are not many people of faith thinking deeply about bio-technology. I know that I haven’t. But after listening to Nigel I am completely freaked out.

Don’t get me wrong; Nigel is not a bombastic over the top guy. In fact, he is your typical reserved Brit who didn’t raise his voice one decibel his entire presentation. He spoke with a frankness and calmness that made you feel like he was giving you directions to the soda machine.

However, he was spelling out how bio-technology has the radical potential to change our lives.

He said that in the next 7-8 years we will see changes as radical as we have seen in the last forty. The speed of technological advancement is getting faster and faster. The potential for creating human beings and manipulating human beings is becoming increasingly more effective and easier. We are not at the end of the technological revolution but rather we are at its beginning.

Most notably, he said there will be radical life extension. In the western world, the average life span has nearly doubled in the last generation. This will probably continue.

The power and efficiency of recreational pharmaceutical drugs will radically improve, giving us greater powers to manipulate and control our feelings.

The ability to create virtual realities will get close to perfection paving the way for brain to brain communication. 

Artificial intelligences will not be a thing for science fiction novels. They are right around the corner.

He cited, Bill Joy, the founder of Sun Microsystems, who said that through technology we will either destroy ourselves or create robotic creatures smarter and superior to us.

It’s not that I have never heard any of this before. Well, frankly I hadn’t heard all of it before. But what freaked me out was that I was being told all of this by a stoic Brit who had seriously researched the topic and had occupied esteemed research positions in recognized universities. Nigel is no reactionary alarmist. He is a thoughtful intellectual and when he says our world is about to change as we know it, I believe him.

Another thing that freaks me out is that I have never thought about this and from what Nigel says there are not many people of faith thinking about it either. Remember the old phrase, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing."

But I have hope because there are some people here in Cape Town, South Africa who realize that we can no longer lounge at church for an hour a week and count that as a meaningful faith. For our faith to be anything of significance it means bringing it to bear on the most challenging questions of our day.


We should not be freaked out. There is always something new with biotechnology and we should accept the fact that it is growing. - Michael Courouleau

The ability to create virtual realities will get close to perfection paving the way for brain to brain communication. -medical writing jobs

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Founder of Russell Media, author/speaker focusing on marketplace, economy and faith. On a journey to live the entrepreneurial life.