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Orr Forum on Religion Features Year-Round Events Examining Humanity in a High-Tech World

Posted: September 20, 2013

The Wilson College annual Orr Forum on Religion, entitled Humanity 2.0?, looks at the effects of technology on humanity.

Sept. 20, 2013
CONTACT: David True, Associate Professor of Religion
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3396

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – The Wilson College annual Orr Forum on Religion, entitled Humanity 2.0?, looks at the effects of technology on humanity.

The recent work of scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs is raising profound questions about how we think about human identity,” said David True, Wilson associate professor of religion.

While some believe the human species appears increasingly akin to other animals, others contend that technology is making it possible to enhance or even control the evolution of our species, raising the question of whether we might soon be able to engineer a new version of humanity –the post-human – if we haven’t already, according to True.

“In light of such debates, this year’s Orr Forum has invited an interdisciplinary group of scholars to offer sketches or glimpses of humanity,” True said.

The Orr Forum has been revamped for 2013-14 to offer a series of lectures and performances throughout the year instead of a main event concentrated in a single day. The series began with a Sept. 3 lecture by Wilson English professor Larry Shillock and will conclude in April with a lecture by the 2104 Orr Scholar, who has not yet been named. All events are free and open to the public.

Other Orr Forum events include:

  • The History of the Human Animal

Wilson College Associate Professor of Biology Laura Altfeld

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2

Brooks Auditorium

  • Technology, Art and Humanity

Wilson College Associate Professor of Art Philip Lindsey

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6

Brooks Auditorium

  • Voices from Spoon River

Directed by Dick Shoap, Wilson College adjunct instructor of theater

4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5

Brooks Auditorium

  • Hybrid Humanity, the Case of Bastard Spain

Wilson College Assistant Professor of Spanish Amanda McMenamin

Noon on Thursday, Feb. 20

Location to be determined

  • Who am I? Life Schemas, Cognitive Dissonance and Post-Trauma Adjustment

Wilson College Assistant Professor of Psychology of Steven Schmidt

Noon on Thursday, March 27

Location to be determined

In addition to the events, an Orr Forum poster contest for Wilson students will be held in February 2014 and an essay contest will be held in April.

A related class at Wilson also will be offered in the spring 2014 semester. The college Department of Philosophy and Religion will offer “Humanity 2.0?” – an interdisciplinary ethics seminar that will explore human nature, the human-animal-world relationship and the role of technology in altering/enhancing/degrading human life. With sources ranging from ancient myth to modern literature and science, the seminar will challenge participants to critically and constructively re-imagine what it means to be human.

For more information, visit or contact David True at


Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college offering bachelor’s degrees in 34 majors/concentrations and master’s degrees in education, the humanities and accountancy. Wilson is committed to providing an affordable education that offers value to its students beyond graduation.

Located in Chambersburg, Pa., the college has a fall 2013 enrollment of 662, which includes students from 20 states and 14 countries. Visit for more information.

Last Updated: October 15, 2013