On the back cover of the book, Philip Clayton comments:
This is the most important Christian debate on transhumanism that I have ever read. Those who prefer fawning acceptance or frightened rejection of human enhancement can find simplistic monographs aplenty. But if you want to think theologically about the transformation of humanity through technology—what's already here, and what lies ahead of us—this collection is mandatory reading.
I wrote the first and the last chapters of the book, framing the argument and summarizing the findings.
The eleven chapters in between are written by established scholars and younger thinkers, some of whom were finishing doctoral studies on transhumanism just as the book was being written.
Michael Burdett, for example, drew upon his studies at Oxford in writing about Francis Bacon, N. F. Fedorov, and Teilhard as early examples of transhumanist thinking. David Grumett, an emerging expert on Teilhard, follows Burdett with a deeper look at this pioneering theologian and scientist.
J. Jeanine Thweatt-Bates drew upon her doctoral work to criticize transhumanist thinking on gender, while Stephen Garner and Todd Daly provided fresh thinking about themes of cyborgs and extended lifespans in traditional Christian theology. Michael Spezio, a theologian who does advanced research in neuroscience, engages some of the projects of the Defense Advanced (DARPA).
Established scholars such as Ted Peters, Karen Lebacqz, Gerald McKenny, Brent Waters, and Celia Deane-Drummond also contribute chapters to this book. While all of them raise criticisms of transhumanism and of the growing use of technology for human enhancement, all recognize that transhuman poses a challenge for Christian theology.
Here’s one way to think about the challenge. Religion promises but technology delivers, so who needs religion anymore? For example, Christian theology holds up a promise of some form of life beyond the present. Technology, on the other hand, sees aging as a problem to be overcome, and it sets out to slow or even reverse it.
Whether it will truly succeed is, of course, debatable. But that’s not that point. The key question is where we place our hopes and what form of life do we hope for.
Through technology, transhumanists hope to transcend the limits of our biology. But is this the truest and highest form of human transcendence? It is not that technology is rejected or feared. But does teach us to settle for too little?