Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Problem of Technology

by Thomas Storck

It's easy to get disgusted with technology. Ugly yellow machines dig big holes on hillsides where before there were trees and grass, rabbits and birds. More and more highways are built and then more and more cars are driven and so they build even more roads and highways and again rabbits and trees are the losers. You go for a walk in the woods or in a meadow and find bottles and cans, paper, cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper diapers, cellophane wrappers, cups, plates, old shoes, you name it. You see another shopping mall being built where once there was a farm. And there's pollution from factories, agricultural runoff from chemical farming practices, destruction of forests, all kinds of things. So technology's really bad for us and the earth, okay?

Well, probably most of us know that that's not always the case, and it's necessary to make distinctions about technology. That's exactly what I hope to do here, namely, to lay down the correct principles to use in evaluating technology...Read it all

It Takes a Long Time to Starve a Severely Disabled Infant to Death by Withdrawing Medically-Supplied Nutrition

Wesley J. Smith

Tube supplied hydration and nutrition is deemed a medical treatment, like aspirin, surgery, or chemotherapy, and hence, can be denied or withdrawn under the law. Normal receipt of food and water, is not allowed to be withheld when it can be taken, since that isn’t medical treatment. Still, take away either form of sustenance from infants (or adults) and they will die.

A disturbing study has come out about how long it takes to starve an infant to death, I assume by withdrawing tube-supplied sustenance:

"Neonatal survival after withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition can last up to 26 days, according to a case series presented here at the 18th International Congress on Palliative Care. Although physical distress is not apparent in the infants, the psychological distress of parents and clinicians builds with the length of survival, said Hal Siden, MD, from Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver, British Columbia...Read it all

At the University of Maryland campus outreach exhibit, CBR staff member Seth Drayer and an associate professor of philosophy engage in conversation, beginning with the matter of defining humanity and leading on to a deeper question: from where comes human value? [Note: what a marvelous example of courage and dialog in a critically important area for all of humanity. Note the serious attention paid by those observing. Abortion strikes at the very root of the sacredness of human existence. No one is sacred or safe in a world of legalized abortion]

---> William Barrett, the existentialist philosopher, in his important book, The Illusion of Technique, his critique of behaviorist reductionism (specifically B.F. Skinner and others) wherein man is reduced to conditioned reflexes, contrasts Skinner and that prophet of spiritual and political freedom, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Barrett sounds very similar in his critique of the technique of modern totalitarian "efficiency" to what Aldous Huxley warned about, or otherwise related, in Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. In showing the trajectory of all such reductionism Barrett underlines Skinner's service to a political temptation familiar to the 20th century:

"Why not prevent the crime of dissent before it arises? The more polished techniques of the behavioral scientist might shape the mind beforehand so that it would never be tempted into any dissenting path. That would be a great step in efficiency. Why go to inordinate lengths to break a man's spirit if you can mold him so that he has no spirit to begin with? Simply as a matter of economy, too, the saving would be enormous: The elaborate "sewage system" for disposing of the rebellious, on which Solzhenitsyn reports, would become unnecessary. All just a matter of finding the right technique." (Barrett, xii)

Prisoner then prophet"Crime of dissent," "The right technique," "Shape the mind...Mold him..." That is pure Huxley who said it will very likely be through enticements that NewTime man (every human being) may be made to "love his servitude". Think television, pornography, sexual anarchism... None, Barrett and Solzhenitsyn warn, can be too vigilant as we move into the future. To place human souls trustingly in the hands of state-controlled reductionist technocrats (rule by 'experts') is naive in the extreme---and the payoff (again) could very well be dire. The Communists used both reflex conditioning and the firing squad. It is the technocrats themselves who have been conditioned. We can only preempt these possibilities by awakening spiritually to the choice, as Solzhenitsyn admonished us, and by coming together against all such scenarios. After the 20th century we have no excuses.

--->More on Solzhenitsyn...

--->Apropos of the above see Chesterton on Optimism and Pessimism...

--->DN Video report. WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, "Tabloid Journalism" and Why WikiLeaks Is "Under Siege"...

--->When science veers off from hard data (brute facts) into speculative unifying narratives (e.g., there is no god, we 'evolved' from nothing by 'chance'), it goes beyond its own empirical parameters. The Enlightenment has been a bloody mess. If we "religionist's" had our 'war of the roses,' secular humanism, which holds complete hegemony over media, education and everything else, today annihilates heretics from Hellfire jets, missles and "Drones," raining depleted uranium on the heads of whole "heretical" populations (inconceivable numbers!), making the princes of old look positively quaint. Mao waved his 'holy book' too as he exterminated multi-millions, and his brother-comrades in the oligarchies continue to exterminate dissenters who in the halls of academe are the new heretics.

We would do well to be gentle with people; because many, thanks to the media, are very confused about what is right and what is wrong. We can return to the First Notes (click) in evangelism. Sometimes I worry a great deal about the future for my 3 grandchildren. Then I remember that "where sin abounds grace does much more abound" (Rom. 5:20), that God can and will raise confessors from the very stoned. What a comfort to remember that.

Dear Lord, help me to grow less and less stupid as I get older, so that with laughter (and some tears) I will have something to pass on to the children about our wild adventures through the Land of Nod, Confusions and Mad Dreams. [This Post Last Updated: 10.28.10]

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