The Evil of Modern Technology

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The Evil of Modern Technology
“Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”  Daniel 12:4 Here I am, sitting in a house heated by a gas/forced air furnace, illuminated by an incandescent bulb, writing down my thoughts on a computer screen, accessing the internet by a wireless connection and weighing in against modern technology. I will be the first to tell you, however, that I don’t want to go back to the way it was, even a few decades ago, when I shivered over a lone heat register in the kitchen, pounded out my writing assignments on an ancient typewriter with a faded ribbon, waiting for my water to boil on a gas stove and my cinnamon toast to bake in the oven. Daily life has been so revolutionized by a steady progression of technological improvements that few of us can imagine living any other way. Conveniences have become such necessities that anyone who has no microwave, cell phone or digital alarm clock is considered deprived. Man’s inventive genius continues to prolifically breed new technologies, and with each new technology, a cottage industry springs up to feed, clothe and shelter it. Computers have generated software, music, movies, photo-shopping and enough peripheral gadgetry to fill a catalog. With the cell phone came personal ringers, phone cameras, text messaging, GPS capabilities, internet access, ebooks, and on and on. Automobiles can now do much more than transport passengers. They can pamper, comfort, entertain, advise, warn and tell drivers how to get to their destination. We now foresee the day when we won’t even have to steer the machine down the highway. There seems to be no end to our fertile imaginations. But I am haunted by the words of an old evangelist. He said, “Man will never hold out long enough morally to do what he wants to do scientifically. Even as we mount up to the heavens in the space age, we mire down in the mud of sin and shame.” I see this chilling prediction coming true before our very eyes and ears in the twenty-first century. Our heads cannot out-smart our hearts. Something is insanely wrong with all of this progress. Not only have promises of utopia not materialized for the bulk of civilization, in many cases we have regressed back to prehistoric levels. We have not eliminated murder; we have made murder easier. We have not eliminated theft; we have made stealing easier. We have not eliminated racism; we have made racism easier. We have not eliminated pornography; we have made pornography easier. Inherent within the new technologies we find all the old maladies. Good things undeniably come from our scientific and technological breakthroughs. Unfortunately, these developments have also been subverted for evil purposes. Indeed, the evil we have enabled may end up canceling out the good we have created in society at large. The most obvious example of this is nuclear technology. The fascinating capabilities of nuclear fission for energy also gave rise to the most destructive weapon ever invented. Regardless of how atomic weaponry is used—whether for defensive purposes or aggressive military action—the fact remains that it is used to kill and destroy. Other scientific discoveries have also been channeled into military uses, like rocketry, aerodynamics, fiber optics, laser beams, radar, modulated radio and television signals, satellites, etc. If it helps, we can make it hurt. If it heals, we can make it injure. If it does good, we can make it do bad. This position has been argued in philosophical terms as well. Regent University’s website on communication contains this paragraph: “Whether one accepts the neutrality of technology depends on one’s valuing philosophy—whether one tends toward the pragmatic and situational, or the absolute and authoritarian. Those who believe that technology is neutral argue that “guns don’t kill people, people do”, or that a knife can be used to “cook, kill, or cure.” Those who believe the opposite counter with evidence that technology...
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