Public Debate

Please note we provide the links to articles but they are not Christian thinkers.You have to read what they say then think about things from what the Bible says.We put the works of John Frame a theologian who is Biblical in the list so you can use his Christian ethics as a way forward to think about these issues.

This month in Public debate we look at Artificial Intelligence,Bionics and Consciousness.

To what point are we becoming  ‘transhumans’? And to what point can human-designed devices become more human? Will it become possible to download  human knowledge from our brains, and upload to the next generation, potentially speeding the process of advancing human capabilities? How do we respond from a Biblical understanding to these issues we face today?Email the seminary to tell us your thoughts as you read these secular articles and respond from the Bible.

CubeStormer, YouTube video by RoboticSolutions 13 Feb 2010

David Chalmers on the Singularity, listen to the philosophy bites podcast 22 May 2010

Will robots take over the world, Dr Kathleen Richardson, UCL Lunch Hour Lecture Series, March 2011

The Cambridge Quintet reviewed by Charles Brickdale April 2011

Bionic hand for 'elective amputation' patient, by Neil Bowdler, BBC News 18 May 2011

Are friends electric? Kathleen Richardson, The Times Higher Education, 09 June 2011

Mmmm! I know that tastes good... I've seen the ad! by Danny Boyle, New Economics 10 June 2011

Brain research's 'golden age', by Tom Feilden, BBC 22 June 2011

Professor Kevin Warwick on The Choice, BBC Radio 4, 14 June 2011

A First Step Toward a Prosthesis for Memory, by Lauren Gravitz, Technology Review 23 June 2011

Mind Control & the Internet, by Sue Halpern, The New York Review of Books, 23 June 2011

Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, by Ray Tallis, Times Higher Education 30 June 2011

Man is more than an overdeveloped monkey?, by Tim Black, spiked review of books Aug 2011

Light from the red hat, by Robin Walsh, Culture Wars 31 Aug 2011

Theological Resources To Think About This:

Theology and social theory: beyond secular reason

By John Milbank

God from the machine: artificial intelligence models of religious cognition

By William Sims Bainbridge

Religion and Public Policy: An Introduction1;jsessionid=55983D6170039C344382685B040F07B3.journals?fromPage=online&aid=5312216

 John Frame can help you have some ground rules for dealing with this topic.

The third volume of John Frame's Theology of Lordship: Doctrine of the Christian Lifeseries (yet to be published), which you can read the textbook online:.
  • Opening Pages Word
  • Table of Contents Word
  • Preface Word
  • chapter 1: Introduction Word
  • chapter 2: Ethical Glossary Word
  • chapter 3: Divine Lordship Word
  • chapter 4: Christian and Non-Christian Ethics Word
  • chapter 5: Ethics and the Religions Word
  • chapter 6: The Existential Tradition Word
  • chapter 7: The Teleological Tradition Word
  • chapter 8: The Deontological Tradition Word
  • chapter 9: The Organism of Revelation Word
  • chapter 10: Attributes of Scripture Word
  • chapter 11: Sufficiency of Scripture Word
  • chapter 12: Law in Biblical Ethics Word
  • chapter 13: Applying the Law Word
  • chapter 14: Situation and Norm Word
  • chapter 15: Our Ethical Situation Word
  • chapter 16: Redemptive History Word
  • chapter 17: Our Chief End Word
  • chapter 18: Goodness and Being Word
  • chapter 19: Motives and Virtues Word
  • chapter 20: The New Life as a Source of Ethical Knowledge Word
  • chapter 21: Organs of Ethical Knowledge Word
  • chapter 22: Introduction to the Decalogue Word
  • chapter 23: The First Commandment Word
  • chapter 24: The First Commandment Contemporary Issues Word
  • chapter 25: The Second Commandment Word
  • chapter 26: The Second Commandment Regulating Worship Word
  • chapter 27: The Third Commandment Word
  • chapter 28: The Fourth Commandment Word
  • chapter 29: The Fourth Commandment Theology of the Sabbath Word
  • chapter 30: The Fourth Commandment Sabbath in the New Covenant Word
  • chapter 31: The Fifth Commandment Word
  • chapter 32: The Fifth Commandment Family Church and State Word
  • chapter 33: The Fifth Commandment Man and Woman Word
  • chapter 34: The Fifth Commandment Equalities Word
  • chapter 35: The Sixth Commandment Word
  • chapter 36: The Sixth Commandment War and Punishment Word
  • chapter 37: The Sixth Commandment Protecting Life Word
  • chapter 38: The Seventh Commandment Word
  • chapter 39: The Seventh Commandment Divorce Word
  • chapter 40: The Seventh Commandment Reproduction Word
  • chapter 41: The Eighth Commandment Word
  • chapter 42: The Eighth Commandment Wealth and Poverty Word
  • chapter 43: The Ninth Commandment Word
  • chapter 44: The Tenth Commandment Word  

More Essays

In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism: Reflections on Sola Scriptura and History in Theological Method
Introduction to the Reformed Faith
Traditionalism and Sola Scriptura Part I; Part II
Law and Gospel
Working Together
Walking Together
The Lord's Authority
Preaching Christ from the Decalogue

The Lord of Power
The Presence of the Lord
Is the Bible Inerrant?
Foreknowledge and the Free Will of Men
Preaching Christ From the Decalogue
How to Be Confident Amid Millennial Frenzies
God in Time
God: Encyclopedia Article
Images of GodFree Will and Moral Responsibility
Serving One Another in Worship
Christians and Charter Schools
Does God Change His Mind?
The Bible on the Problem of Evil
Who Owns Palestine?
"Cornelius Van Til"
Dealing with Doctrinal Differences

Men and Women in the Image of God
Studying Theology as a Servant of Jesus
Political Theology in Wartime
Moral Heroism
The Claims of Christ A Sermon on John 5:16-29

“Presuppositional Apologetics, ”
“Self-Refuting Statements,”
Nursing Homes and the Fifth Command
A Theology of Opportunity:Sola Scriptura and the Great Commission, Part 2, Part 3
Unregenerate Knowledge of God

Doctrine of the Christian Life Study Guide Word PDF

IFor the next few months from 2012 Jan to Apr we shall be looking at the following debates.

Valuing the arts in an age of austerity

Should we cut back on funding the arts?What do you think?

Some background readings

Can the arts save the economy?, listen again to this Battle of Ideas 2009 session

The Hallé Orchestra is world class again, by Petroc Trelawny, Telegraph Blogs 02 October 2009

Just what are the arts good for?, watch and listen again to this Battle of Ideas 2010 satellite event

Crisis? The arts have rarely been in better health, Simon Jenkins, London Evening Standard, 23 February 2010

Arts bodies braced for fresh cuts, by Ian Youngs, BBC News 16 November 2010

The arts and cultural sector faces ‘apocalyptic’ cuts in austere Britain, by Dave O'Brien, LSE Blog 31 January 2011

Arts Funding, Austerity and the Big Society: Remaking the case for the arts' RSA pamphlet, February 2011

Arts Council funding decision day: as it happened, Guardian, Culture cuts blog, 30 March 2011

Melvin Bragg: why the arts have replaced heavy industry, The Telegraph, 12 May 2011

The true value of nature is not a number with a pound sign in front, George Monbiot, Guardian, 06 June 2011 (a wider context article on putting a price on non-market goods)

I feel your pain: do humans and animals suffer similarly?

Some background readings

Jeff McMahan's podcast on Vegetarianism, on Philosophy Bites and relevant for the moral considerations at stake

Human use of animals, with Peter Singer on Philosophy Bites

The capacity of animals to experience pain, distress and suffering, Chapter 4 of 'The ethics of research involving animals', Nuffield Council on BioEthics

Morality of Using Animals, debate between philosopher's Jan Narveson and Gary Francione, The Abolitionsist Approach

Should apes have rights, video of Battle of Ideas 2010 session on WORLbytes site

In defence of animal experimentation, by Patrick Hayes, spiked online 22 June 2011

Nature and nurture, then and now, Timandra Harkness, Culture Wars 30 June 2011

Animals don’t have morality, people do, by Helene Guldberg, spiked review of books June 2011

Pain and suffering in non-human animals, by Steve Cooke, opinion piece July 2011

Man is more than an overdeveloped monkey?, by Tim Black, spiked review of books Aug 2011

Knock out one gene to knock out chronic pain, by Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist 09 September 2011

Fukushima fallout

Some background readings

Japan nuclear crisis should not carry weight in atomic energy debate, George Monbiot, Guardian 16 March 2011

What we know, and don't know, about Japan's reactors, by David L Chandler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 16 March 2011

Japan: Nuclear panic is 'over-reaction' says scientists, Channel 4 News 17 March 2011

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power, George Monbiot, Guardian 21 March 2011

The dangers of nuclear power in light of Fukushima, by Mark Lynas and Chris Goodall, Mark Lynas blog 30 March 2011

Nuclear energy: clean, reliable and powerful, Rob Lyons, spiked online 15 April 2011

Why Germany said no to nuclear power, by Daniel Johnson, The Telegraph 30 May 2011

European Pressurized Reactor, published on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Japan PM calls for nuclear-free future, Guardian, 13 July 2011

After Fukushima: The Fear Factor, WORLDbytes video report, August 2011

After Fukushima, we should abandon nuclear power”, Debating Matters Topic Guide by Tony Gilland August 2011

The struggle for democracy in the Middle East and Africa

Egypt’s Bumbling Brotherhood, by Scott Atran, The New York Times, 2 February 2011

The Egyptian uprising: on the universal aspiration for freedom, by Karl Sharro, 4 February 2011

The Egyptian uprising: ‘why now?’ and ‘what next?’, by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked-Online, 8 February 2011

A revolt for whose benefit? by Kenan Malik, 10 February 2011

Middle East protests bigger than oil, by Daniel Ben-Ami, 28 February 2011

Of Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World, by Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway, Carnegie Endowment Commentary, 28 February 2011

Why Tunis, Why Cairo?, by Issandr El Amrani, London Review of Books, February 2011

The No-Fly Zone in Libya: Hijacking the Arab Uprisings, by Karl Sharro, Karl reMarks blog, 18 March 2011

Preliminary Historical Observations on the Arab Revolutions of 2011, by Rashid Khalid, Jadaliyya website, 21 March 2011

After the Arab Spring, by Steve A Cook, The Atlantic, 28 March 2011

Should physician assisted suicide / dying be legalised?

Suggested background reading:

On the slippery slope argument: Kevin Yuill, "Assisted suicide: the real slippery slope" spiked, 8 September 2009

On the increased regulation issue: Kevin Yuill, "Turning death into a consumer product" spiked, 25 August 2009

On the Euthanasia argument: Kevin Yuill, "Giving the green light to suicide" spiked, 23 June 2009

On the misanthropy of the 'right to die' lobby: Kevin Yuill, "Suicide is a marvellous possibility for humans" spiked, 8 April 2009

On the Debbie Purdy Case: Brendan O'Neill and Debbie Purdy, "Should we all have the right to die?", Big Issue debate, 13-19 August 2009

On Royal College of Nursing's approach: RCN, "Assisted Suicide - An Overview of the Debate", RCN Policy Unit, April 2009

On a Maranatha secular approach: Maranatha Community Group Manchester "Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide" Maranatha Briefing, September 2003

On the “slippery slope” argument: Battin MP, van der Heide A, Ganzini L, van der Wal G, Onwuteaka-Philipsen BD, “Legal physician-assisted dying in Oregon and the Netherlands: evidence concerning the impact on patients in vulnerable groups”, J Med Ethics 2007, 33: 591-597

On palliative care and assisted dying: Bernheim JL, Deschepper R, Distelmans W, Mullie A, Bilsen J, Deliens L, “Development of palliative care and legalisation of euthanasia: antagonism or synergy?” BMJ 2008, 336: 864-867 Ganzini et al, “Oregon Physician’s attitudes about and experiences with end-of-life care since the passage of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act”, JAMA 2001, 285;18, 2363-2369

On the motivations for assistance in dying: Ganzini L, Back A, “From the USA: Understanding requests for physician-assisted death”, Palliat Med 2003, 17(2): 113-114 Tolle SW, Tilden VP, Drach LL, Fromme EK, Perrin NA, Hedberg K, “Characteristics and Proportion of Dying Oregonians Who Personally Consider Physician-Assisted Suicide”, JME 2004, 15(2), 111-118

On the problems with the law at present: Dignity in Dying Report, A law out of step, June 2009

Creativity and writing: in conversation with Melvin Burgess

Some background readings

Jodi Picoult and the Anxious Parent, by Ginia Bellafante, NY Times 17 June 2009

Sympathy for the devil, by Melvin Burgess, for the magazine Children's LIterature in Education

What is teenage fiction, by Melvin Burgess,

Kill All Enemies, book review by Yasmin Redfearn, Kathrine Payne and Hannah Mason, Manchester Salon July 2011

Melvin Burgess interviewed, by Yasmin Redfearn, Kathrine Payne and Hannah Mason, Manchester Salon July 2011

Kill All Enemies promo video inspired by work experience students after reading 'Kill All Enemies', YouTube July 2011

It was introduction of EMA that turned young people riotous, by Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph 19 August 2011

The problem with categorising Young People, by Simon Belt, Manchester Salon August 2011

Junk food: myth and metaphor

Background readings

Mums-to-be fail to heed eating advice, Manchester Metropolitan University Science & Engineering News website.

Parents feed pupils through gates, BBC News 15 Sept 2006.

Jamie blamed as 20pc fewer children eat school dinners by Simon Walters, Mailonline 8 July 2007.

Diet and lifestyle critical to recovery, says study, Aeron Haworth, Manchester University News, 17 January 2008.

Manchester junk food capital by Yakub Quershi in Manchester Evening News, 28 March 2008.

Go veggie to 'save the planet'? Burger off! by Rob Lyons, spiked online Thurs 29 October 2009. The Stern-endorsed campaign to stop people eating meat shows that greens have no solutions for society beyond launching wars on enjoyment.

What's the Futute of Food? produced by spiked in association with the UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF), and is an online survey of people with strong views about what we eat and how we produce it.

Top surgeon calls for butter to be banned published in the Metro 18 January 2010.

Ridiculing the obese is the new gay bashing - Society has become far more enlightened over sexuality and race. Now we reserve our contempt for the underclass by Janice Turner published in Times Online 30 January 2010.


Please send your thoughts to the seminary and we will publish them in this section.