What is Technology?
Dr. Lawrence Terlizzese — Most people take a favorable view towards technological
progress; new cars, cell phones and computers – what’s not to like? They
embrace technological innovation as a plus despite the suspicions of
questionable things like cloning, genetic engineering and nuclear weapons. But
what is technology anyway? Do we really understand this all-embracing
phenomenon directing human history? We often take for granted that we think we
know the answer when in fact the meaning of the greatest social mover of all
times remains elusive. When it comes to defining technology we are beset with
the problem of defining more than just a word, but a concept and whole way of
life and worldview.
The typical definition of technology these days
says technology is neutral, suggesting that technology is nothing more than tools
that people use as needed. Technology is a means to an end and nothing more.
All objects are separate and disconnected. They are neutral and value-free,
right? Tables, chairs, and light fixtures have nothing to do with each other
and express no values in themselves and are completely determined by our use.
They are simply objects at our disposal and present no moral problems so long
as we use them for good. We can pick up a hammer and use it, then place it back
in the tool box when finished. The hammer has appropriate and inappropriate
uses. Hitting nails into wood is one of the acceptable uses of a hammer; using
it to play baseball is not acceptable.
(left-click to listen
|MEET THE AUTHOR
|DR. LAWRENCE TERLIZZESE
"Most people often think that technology means neutral tools that we use for better or worse. I wrote this program to confront that popular misconception with a more accurate definition of technology and the application of an ethic of limits. Most people do not understand that technology is really a system that we are losing control over."
Lawrence is one of our newest Probe Research Associates. He holds both a Th.M. and Ph.D. in Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the author of two books, Trajectory of the Twenty First Century: Essays in Theology and Technology and Hope in the Thought of Jacques Ellul.
Does the Future Need Us? The Future of Humanity and Technology
Just how human we can remain in the face of developing technology? Don Closson examines
those concerns and provides a Christian response.
Into the Void: The Coming Transhuman Transformation
Lawrence introduces in-depth the myth of techological progress's power to return us to the Garden of Eden through the coming Singularity, the time when transhumanists believe that the merging of man and machine will reach its pinnacle, just as C.S. Lewis predicted.
Dr. Ray Bohlin, a Ph.D. with lab experience in genetic engineering, examines that subject from a Christian perspective.