technology

Listening today to the NewstalkZB discussion of youth vandalism (which relate to my recent post) and the Pike River mining incident (29 miners trapped in a complex and multi-faceted situation).

Yet again, we see that technology is neither good nor bad.

If it’s good things we’re aiming to do, technology aids and strengthens our efforts.  If it is best to send in human rescuers (or sacrificial, courageous fathers), then what a blessing to have breathing apparatuses & other gear to help them.  If it’s best to send in a robot instead (as was decided – controversially), then what a blessing to have such technology to even give us the choice (and even better if it is able to withstand watery conditions – which it unfortunately was not).

If it is bad things we’re aiming to do, technology aids and strengthens these efforts as well.  If it is not good to send in a less-than-robust robot to do a human’s job, then what a distraction the whole idea turned out to be.  If it is not good for every opinion to be broadcast, then what a pain to have a mechanism like talk-back radio.

One caller was grateful for the discretion of the police, who kept people from taking the situation into ‘their own hands’ – as if it wasn’t in human hands anyway?  Humans are responsible for doing what they can.  More technology gives us more ‘can do’ options (can-do doesn’t equal should-do.), but is there a point when we have too many options?  More power, but too much power?  Does it make us hesitate to act courageously, or make us too dependent on technology?

A parallel scenario was the months before and weeks after Thomas was born, two years ago.  We found the ante-natal classes generally helpful, and were grateful that we live in a time/place where such things are freely available to all.  But we also noted that the sheer amount of information can be at times suffocating.  You are given so many options and told about so many scenarios to be prepared for.  There is being prepared on one hand, and on the other being so aware of the 74,000 things that ‘could’ happen that you worry they ‘will’ happen.  Other parents we talked to related to this.  At some point, we all have to trust those that know – even if we don’t.

power, complexity & ethics

Two things (neither good/evil of themselves) which will not make humans more moral are technology & science.

  • Technology gives us ever-increasing levels of power; and this power can be used to do both good and evil.  Spiderman, anyone ((“With great power comes great responsibility.”))?
  • Science gives us an ever-increasing amount of data/facts; which make ethical choices more complex/detailed/varied – but which do not help us in the slightest bit to either know or do the right thing.

science thought…

Whether one likes it or not, and whether one considers it anti-science or not (I insist it’s not anti-science in the least in my mind), it occurs to me that the scientific project is inexhaustible.  Depending on one’s view of how valuable scientific knowledge is, one will either feel discouraged or like the proverbial kid in a candy store – I prefer the latter.  The world, stuff, ‘nature’, etc. is just that interesting. Continue reading science thought…

on publishing words

technology has changed the way we use words…

if we restrict a quick analysis to the major modes of communication used now (we could include ancient writing, but will not at the moment), we could make some brief observations about the different kinds…

  • journals, encyclopedias and textbooks – characterised by their scholarship, which (lest we forget) is basically interaction with the thought of others.
  • published book (with proper publisher) – a sustained statement (or argument or story), which was likely researched, drafted, revised etc.
  • magazine article (decently respected mag) – a shortened version of a larger argument or conversation – again, research and refinement, etc.
  • newspaper article – an even more condensed piece, yet still some research and refinement needed.
  • website or professional blog – considered statements for whatever purpose – the more refinement the better, etc.
  • personal blog – more off-the-cuff thoughts – “research” = (often) googling
  • Facebook status update – 99.3% of the time, time-wasting, boredom-prolonging nonsense (i.e. i had “this” for dinner, etc.)
  • twitter updates – humanity has gone too far :)  nobody needs to know what you are up to that often

teleology & ethics

The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term.  However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is.  It’s a common as anything.  Teleology is blindingly relevant.

Continue reading teleology & ethics

gears

For mozzila firefox users, who blog with wordpress…

…I recommend installing the ‘Google Gears‘ plug-in (click ‘Turbo’ in your WordPress dashboard – sorry not available for wordpress.com users!), which (when enabled) stores all the little images and things that you otherwise have to download each time you change pages.  This not only saves bandwith, but should considerably speed up your ‘dashboard time’ (even if you have a pretty fast internet connection?).

While I’m at it, I also recommend the AdBlock Plus (blocks many/most advertisements) plug-in and the Zotero (bibliography/referencing tool) plug-in.

Wright comments on blogging

“It really is high time we developed a Christian ethic of blogging. Bad temper is bad temper even in the apparent privacy of your own hard drive, and harsh and unjust words, when released into the wild, rampage around and do real damage. And as for the practice of saying mean an unjust things behind a pseudonym – well if I get a letter like that it goes straight in the bin. But the cyberspace equivalents of road rage don’t happen by accident. People who type vicious, angry, slanderous and inaccurate accusations do so because they feel their worldview to be under attack.” (Wright, N.T., Justification: God’s Plan, Paul’s Vision,SPCK, 2009, p.10)

Found here.  Hat-tip Ben Myers.