Speakers at 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association


The Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to announce an excellent lineup of speakers for its 2014 Conference, which will be held on 4 April 2014 from 9:00am to 6:00pm in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Lake City Public Library. All will present on the themes of Mormonism, Transhumanism and Transfigurism, with particular attention to topics at the intersection of technology, spirituality, science and religion. Keynote speakers will be Mormon philosopher Adam S. Miller and Transhumanist designer Natasha Vita-More. The conference is open to the public.

Register now for the 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association!

A. Joseph West was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He currently resides in Tucson, Arizona, where he is doing graduate work in sociology. His research focus is culturally motivated social movement mobilization. He also has research interests in social network analysis and the sociology of science. In his free time, he watches Star Wars the animated series and plays Civ 5 with his two children.

Adam S. Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He and his wife, Gwen Miller, have three children. He received an MA and PhD in philosophy from Villanova University as well as a BA in Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University. He is the editor of An Experiment on the Word (Salt Press, 2011) and the author of Badiou, Marion, and St Paul: Immanent Grace (Continuum, 2008), Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology (Kofford, 2012), Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology (Fordham University Press, 2013), and Letters to a Young Mormon (Maxwell Institute, 2014). He is the co-editor, with Joseph Spencer, of the book series Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture, published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and serves as the current director of the Mormon Theology Seminar.

Allen Hansen was born and raised LDS in Northern Israel, where he spent much of his life. He served in the Russia Rostov Mission, and later moved to Utah. Alongside a love for literature, especially British, Russian, and Israeli, his research interests include Mormonism, Judaism, biblical studies, Late Antiquity, journalism, Eastern European, and Middle-Eastern history. He has presented at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism from USU. He blogs at Calba Savua's Orchard, Adventures in N-Town, and Difficult Run.

Brad Carmack graduated from the JD/MPA program at Brigham Young University in April 2011, and became a licensed California attorney that same year. During undergrad he majored in biology, clerked for Justice Horton of the Idaho Supreme Court, and worked as a teacher’s assistant for human resources law, biodiversity, management ethics, and bioethics. Currently he works for Yahoo. A religious activist and member of the LDS Church, Brad loves to write about transhumanism, bioethics, and religion. He authored Breaking the Patriarchal Grip: an argument for governance equality through sacred disobedience and Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective, available at bradcarmack.blogspot.com.

Carl Youngblood has been an avid technology enthusiast since early childhood, and has been earning a living as a software engineer since 1997. He was a Mormon missionary for two years in Brazil, where his newfound aptitude for language led him to eventually get a degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University, and later a masters in Computer Science from the University of Washington. Carl's struggle to apply his faith meaningfully in today's rapidly-changing world led him to co-found The Mormon Transhumanist Association in 2006, where he currently serves as a director. Carl is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy and the performing arts.

Chelsea Strayer is a PhD candidate at Boston University in biological and cultural anthropology studying the evolution and elicitation of placebo and nocebo effects in indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. She particularly focuses on the healing rituals of the Asante in Central Ghana whom she has conducted research with for over a 12 years. Chelsea is also a well known religious gender equality activist in the Mormon community, President of Mormons for ERA, co-founder of LDS WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice and Equality), and active participant in many LDS magazines, blogs, podcasts and conferences. She has participated in two TED events where she had the opportunity to speak about her research and how it applies to the everyday life of all people at both events.

Chris Bradford was born in Utah, but soon moved to Washington DC and then overseas for his father's employment. He has lived in Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Pakistan and Italy, where he served an LDS mission. A self-taught programmer, he manages social & mobile development at Ancestry.com. He has a degree from Brigham Young University in linguistics. Chris and wife Lucy have five sons and three daughters. Chris is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy, and the performing arts.

Don Bradley is a historian specializing in Joseph Smith and Mormon scripture. Don holds a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University, is finalizing his M.A. in History at Utah State University, and will pursue a doctorate in Religious Studies. His writings include “'The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism': Joseph Smith's Unfinished Reformation” and The Lost 116 Pages: Rediscovering the Book of Lehi (forthcoming). “An individualist in the service of a community,” Don is devoted to the topic of his presentation: building Zion—heaven on earth. He is the father of Donnie and Nicholas Bradley and engaged to Michaelann Gardner.

Donald Bradley Jr. is 84 years old but you may not be able to tell due to advanced life extension technology. Ok in all truth he may be somewhere closer to 18. Outside of transhumanism some of his interests include theoretical computer science (especially elements of it that relate to the Church Turing thesis and Gödels incompleteness theorem), cybernetics, foundations of mathematics (logic, set theory, homotopy type theory, paraconsistent foundations etc.), algorithmic information theory, psychology of creativity, literature, literary studies and especially cognitive poetics. He is currently homeschooled.

Dorothy Deasy is a design researcher with experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She excels on strategic qualitative projects which allow her to explore the intersections of meaning, culture and technology. She holds a BS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, IL and a Masters of Applied Theology from Marylhurst University in Portland, OR. The emphasis of her theological focus is on spirituality and transhumanism.

Giulio Prisco is a writer, technology expert, futurist and transhumanist. A former manager in European science and technology centers, he writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including science, information technology, emerging technologies, virtual worlds, space exploration and future studies. He is especially interested in the convergence of science, technology and spirituality.

James L. Carroll has a PhD in computer science, and a minor in Ancient Near Eastern history. As a graduate student he taught Pearl of Great Price, Isaiah, and the Book of Mormon in the BYU Ancient Scripture department. He is currently working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, doing ensemble machine learning research and computer assisted radiographic analysis for nuclear stockpile stewardship. His interests include machine learning, statistics, linguistics, consciousness, comparative ritual, and photography.

Jeffrey S. Anderson is a Salt Lake City native who received his MD and PhD degrees in neuroscience at Northwestern University. He returned to the University of Utah for residency and fellowship training and is currently an attending neuroradiologist at the University of Utah, where he directs the functional brain mapping service. His research on the microcircuitry and large-scale organization of the brain has been published in Science, Neuron, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also the author of three internationally bestselling thrillers and a finalist for the 2005 International Thriller Award.

Lincoln Cannon is a technologist and philosopher. He has over seventeen years of professional experience in information technology, including leadership roles in software engineering and marketing technology. Lincoln is a leading advocate of technological evolution and postsecular religion, and holds degrees in business administration and philosophy. He is married with Dorothée Vankrieckenge, a French national, and they have three bilingual children.

Micah Redding grew up as a preacher’s kid, spent eight years as a rock musician, and was once involved in the high-speed pursuit of a spy plane. Now he develops software, and writes about the intersection of human values and technology.

Michael LaTorra is an Assistant Professor of English at New Mexico State University. He has been a member of the Transhumanist community since the year 2000, having served on the Boards of Humanity Plus (WTA) and of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Among his publications are the paper "Trans-Spirit: Religion, Spirituality and Transhumanism" Journal of Evolution and Technology, 14(2), and the book A Warrior Blends with Life: A Modern Tao. Prof. LaTorra is an ordained Zen priest, abbot of the Zen Center of Las Cruces, and a formal devotee of Avatar Adi Da Samraj.

Michaelann Gardner believes in building Zion through any means you can. This includes her professional work as a marketer and fundraiser for the nonprofit sector. It also includes her favorite hobby of learning about and implementing environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices. She serves as treasurer on the board of LDS Earth Stewardship. She helped build Zion as an LDS missionary in Zurich Switzerland and continues doing that today in Provo wards.

Natasha Vita-More is a designer and theorist. She is a professor at the University of Advancing Technology, Chairman of Humanity+, and a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. She received her doctorate from the Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, where her thesis focuses on human enhancement and radical life extension. She is the designer and author of “Platform Diverse Body, Substrate Autonomous Person (fka “Primo Posthuman” - a future whole body prototype.) In 2013, she co-edited The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future. In 1983, Vita-More authored the “Transhuman Manifesto”; and founded Transhumanist Arts and Culture in 1993. She was the Chair of “Vital Progress Summit” 2004, establishing a precedent for discussion of human enhancement. She was the president of the Extropy Institute 2002-2006. Vita-More is a proponent of morphological freedom and enhancing human biology. To give credence to her arguments, Vita-More supports the Proactionary Principle. In addition to academic works, she has exhibited at National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Brooks Memorial Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Women In Video, Telluride Film Festival, United States Environmental Film Festival and “Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age”. She is published in more than two dozen journals and a contributing author to numerous books.

Pace Ellsworth was born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the son of diplomat and linguist Matt Allen Ellsworth. After returning from a mission to Lima, Peru, he married his high school sweetheart and graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's in Linguistics and minors in Spanish and Linguistic Computing. Mr. Ellsworth's main interests are classical liberalism and futurism, happy to be called an anarcho-transfigurist. He now lives in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife and two children where he works as a marketing consultant for small businesses in the technology and finance sectors.

Roger D. Hansen is currently the Planning Group Chief at the Provo Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation (Department of Interior) where he has worked as a civil engineer and planner for over 30 years, all of it in Provo, UT. His principal professional interest is the application of real-time monitoring and control technologies to water districts and canal companies in the inter-mountain West. Additionally, his colleagues and he are working to bring water and power to Navajos living in very remote location. Roger currently blogs at "Tired Road Warrior" and writes for a variety of online and hard-copy publications. He currently divides his time between Provo, the Navajo Nation, and the country of Uganda (where he volunteers with several local NGOs).

Randal A. Koene introduced the multi-disciplinary field of whole brain emulation and is the lead curator of its scientific roadmap. He is Founder of the foundation Carboncopies.org and has directed research in neural engineering. Dr. Koene’s publications, presentations and interviews are available at http://randalkoene.com.

Register now for the 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association!