Should we live forever?

ACU sociologist Professor Bryan Turner will join such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa in becoming an Oxford Union debate speaker.

Professor Turner will argue the negative to the moot “That this house would live forever” in an Oxford Union debate on immortality.

The debate will address the consequences of continuing to pursue life preservation through technologies such as genetic engineering, cryonics and artificial intelligence including the dangers to the environment and the likely resulting social inequalities.

It will be held online on 6 May at 7pm UK time, 4am AEST and will be webcast on the Oxford Union YouTube channel, which has more than one million subscribers. 

The Oxford Union was founded by a group of students in 1823 and has hosted debates by world leaders and iconic figures including presidents and prime ministers, scientists, Nobel prize-winners and musical stars.

Professor Turner is an internationally renowned sociologist and the author of many books including
Can we live forever? A sociological and moral inquiry, published in 2009.

He argues that, while immortality has been a fervent wish of many, if not all, human, it is neither physically nor morally viable.  But he points out that the wish for immortality is essentially interesting because it forces us to examine what makes life worth living.

Professor Turner is Professor of Sociology at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at ACU.  He has a particular interest in the sociology of the body and medical change. His other research interest include research interests include sociological theory, sociology of globalisation and religion, concentrating on such issues as religious conflict and the modern statereligious authority and electronic information, religious consumerism and youth cultures, human rights and religion, and religious cosmologies.

He was previously Professor of Sociology at Cambridge University and holds additional appointments at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the French equivalent of the CSIRO.

Links for those wishing to listen to the debate will be available soon.

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