My background

I am a physician, epidemiologist, and electrical engineer. In high school, I envisioned using mathematics to solve social problems, and as an engineering graduate student and medical student, I dreamed of learning how life works and applying that understanding to medical therapies. For seven years during the early-to-mid-1980s, I worked for a company that designed and manufactured magnetic resonance imagers when the technology was first developed for clinical use. I went into public health in the late 1980s and developed the epidemiological foundations for the legal strategy that was used to sue the tobacco industry for smoking-related healthcare costs in the early-to-mid-1990s. 

However, I found corresponding theories of corporate accountability too narrow, flawed, and specific to pursue directly in the same context. I could not reconcile them with the dissertation topic that I had identified, so I left my doctoral program in epidemiology to pursue this research on my own. I have poured patiently over these ideas for nearly 20 years since then before I fully understood the underlying issues that must be addressed to make them work — life’s tensions between adaptation, evolution, design, and theology. 

These ideas have morphed into a theory of civilizational design, which I will be presenting in these blogs. I had originally intended to write a book entitled, The prodigal species: seeking purpose and meaning to human existence during troubled times. Then I realized the book couldn’t wait, so I planned this website and blog. Then I really learned what troubled times humanity was about to experience! 

I apologize for being so slow in getting these ideas out. In large part, the horrific events we have continued to experience over the past few years, months, and weeks have informed extensive refinement of this theory. Reconsidering how I had intended to present these ideas in their earlier form, I don’t think they would have been as poignant and (hopefully) persuasive as they will be in this coronavirus era. 

The purpose of this website

These are extremely difficult times, but my message offers great hope. Humanity can construct a civilization that will make our species an incomparably great citizen in the biosphere and in God’s kingdom. There is a basis for co-creative partnership with God in building His kingdom on earth, which will forever challenge our collective initiative, knowledge, and creativity. There are clear roles for once-oppressed minorities, compassionate progressives, and dedicated conservatives to develop in respect, harmony, and resonance. These roles have clear connections with the ways our own bodies work, as a tangible touchstone for conceptualizing the structure, operation, and function that has been discussed historically in theological and spiritual terms as the body of Christ. Life has infinite experience channeling physics, chemistry, and biology to form the designs we seek to make of human civilization, and God has left clues everywhere how to emulate its designs and experience their successes. This is a hopeful inflection point that all sentient life makes as an embryo when it undergoes transformation from unicellular to multicellular form. On the other side of that transformation are as yet unimaginable realms of awareness, modes of cooperation, and means for flourishing. 

Best of all is what all of creation has been patiently waiting for as it has suffered from our seemingly endless and inexhaustible transgressions — that human technologies, dedication, and purposiveness can make unique contributions to the cause and course of life on earth. And, if we do all these things right, we can design, construct, and steer our civilization over timescales of millions and billions of years (if that’s how long God wants our civilization to last) — not just the decades (at best) of business concerns, the centuries of scientific thought, the millennia of civilization (and theological doctrines), or the hundreds of thousands of years that hominids have existed. 

However, God is using our own conflicts and nature’s pandemics to impress on us that we have to get these things right from start. If our civilization is to function over the timescales of life on earth, we must purge it of design defects that have made our species the most destabilizing influence that has ever existed on our planet. 

Welcome to the serious responsibilities that nature, life, and God now put before us to redesign our civilization from the most chaotic, confused, and dangerous state that it will ever likely be in. The fate of future generations and the trajectory of all life is critically dependent on how we accept these responsibilities. I hope I can do justice to these issues on this website and in this blog. Thank you in advance for caring, paying attention, and, in the end, doing what you can.