October 26, 2004
A Scottsdale theological center is offering a series of workshops to bring church leaders face to face with nationally known scientists and theological leaders to discuss the emerging issues raised by longevity.
Advances in genetics, stem-cell research and human cloning may make it possible to extend human life spans in the future, though many religious leaders have not kept up with the advances and related theological issues, said the Rev. Francis Park, director of Pinnacle Theological Center at Pinnacle Presby terian Church in Scottsdale.
The conference series kicks off with "The Science of Regenerative Medicine: Ethical Issues of Extended Longevity" at 9 a.m. Wednesday with guest speaker Richard A. Murphy, president and CEO of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.
"By and large, religions have not addressed this question, and they need to start thinking about it: What does it mean when you start having dramatically longer life spans?" said Brent Waters, director of the Stead Center for Ethics and Values at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.
Located at Northwestern University, the Stead Center has collaborated with the Pinnacle Theological Center in developing the seminar series.
"This is trying to provide in-depth support and information about what is happening, giving people a chance to interact with questions from someone who has experience in the field," Park said.
The inaugural seminar will include presentations and discussions about the needs of an aging population, specifically the 77 million baby boomers nationally who are nearing retirement age, Park said. Recent advances in genetics, stem-cell research and cloning raise social and economic problems that will need to be addressed by future generations, he said.
Other upcoming seminars are "The Economics of Aging: Economic Trends and Intergenerational Concerns" on Nov. 19; "Marketing Longer Lives: Biotechnology and Ethical Concerns" on Jan. 28; and "Living Good and Long Lives: Ministry, Morality and the Quest for Immortality" on March 3 and 4.
What: "The Science of Regenerative Medicine: Ethical Issues of Extended Longevity" conference
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Pinnacle Theological Center at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, 25150 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
Cost: $20, includes lunch
Registration: (480) 585-9448