ISBN: 9781441231970 ISBN-13: 9781441231970 Availability: In Stock
What does it mean to be human? Some naturalists believe that the human mind can be reduced to brain biology, suggesting that we are no more than complex biochemical machines. Computer scientist Matthew Dickerson critiques a physicalist/naturalist view of human persons and defends theistic accounts of human nature. He responds to the widespread assertion that human consciousness is nothing more than "software" that can one day be downloaded into supercomputers. Drawing on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, Dickerson gets at the heart of human nature itself, highlighting a far richer vision of personhood, creativity, and love. This thought-provoking book on a timely topic will appeal to those interested in science and religion, philosophy, and technology; readers of the materialist New Atheists; and anyone who simply cares what it means to be human.
Matthew Dickerson (PhD, Cornell University) is professor of computer science and environmental studies at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and the author of From Homer to Harry Potter; Narnia and the Fields of Arbol;and Ents, Elves, and Eriador. He is an internationally known Tolkien scholar and directs the New England Young Writers' Conference at Bread Loaf.
What defines human? In the age of the computer, the author (From Homer to Harry Potter) looks at the futuristic works of authors like Ray Kurzweil concerned with mind, body, and spirit in the present day and compares them to the supernatural world of the Bible. In between he examines the human quest through science and reason. During the journey, Dickerson examines thinkers of the Enlightenment; the creative voice of J. R. R. Tolkien; biologist Richard Dawkins; and behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. "The debate directly relates to the question of whether humans are just complex computers," the author writes. There is much here that reconciles reason with faith in the Bible as the author finds reason plays a great part within the sacred scriptures. This complex, thoughtful book will be of interest to those who want to know where computers are taking modern society. (May) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.