Advisory Board

Professor William Grassie

William Grassie, Ph.D. is the founding executive director of the Metanexus Institute. Founded in 1998, it works to promote scientifically rigorous and philosophically open-ended explorations of foundational questions. Metanexus has worked with partners at some four hundred universities in forty-five countries and publishes an online journal.

Billy’s primary activity during the last three years was researching and writing Applied Big History: A Guide for Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Other Living Things.

Previously, Billy was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of Peradeniya, where he was teaching religion and science and comparative religion in the Department of Buddhist Studies at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

He was the recipient of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation.

In the mid 90’s, Billy was an Assistant Professor at the Temple University for almost 5 years.

Throughout the 80’s, after he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, he was actively involved in the nuclear weapons disarmament movement and participated in founding the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and organizing efforts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Later he provided organizational support for Quaker outreach in the Soviet Union, as well as the sister cities initiative between Philadelphia and Leningrad.

He went to West Berlin in 1982, where he was the Head of the U.S. Volunteer Program for more than a year and later became the Community Organizer of the 300th Anniversary of the Germantown Protest Against Slavery back in Philadelphia.

He studied comparative religion and philosophy of science at Temple University, where he wrote a dissertation entitled Reinventing Nature: Science Narratives as Myths for an Endangered Planet (1994). Billy earned his Ph.D. in 1994 in Religion from Temple University. In 1979, he earned his Bachelor Degree of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Middlebury College.

Billy, together with Gregory Hansell, coedited the book H+/-: Transhumanism and Its Critics. It brings together sixteen of the world’s foremost thinkers on the prospects of a radical reshaping of human nature through biotechnologies and artificial intelligence. The often heated debate about transhumanism is an extremely fruitful field for philosophical and theological inquiry.

His writings include The New Sciences of Religion: Exploring Spirituality from the Outside In and Bottom Up (2010) and a collection of essays, Politics by Other Means: Science and Religion in the 21st Century (2010).

Read about the Germantown Protest.

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