Faith and Hope in Technology

ISBN 978 1894667 28 9
232 pages.
Published 1/6/2003

£18.00

Paperback

Technology has advanced more in recent decades than in any other era in human history. As Christians, how should we approach science and technology? In Faith and Hope in Technology, Egbert Schuurman offers a responsible and biblical approach to working in the areas science and technology, shedding light on the nature, benefits and problems of Western technology from within his profound commitment to a biblical understanding of human life under God. 

EGBERT SCHUURMAN is Professor in Reformational Philosophy at the Technological Universities of Delft and Eindhoven and at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, Netherlands. He is also a member of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament. His other books include Technology and the Future: A Philosophical Challenge (1980); Christians in Babel (1987); The Future: Our Choice or Gods Gift? (1990).

“Dr. Schuurman’s Faith and Hope in Technology . will be of significant help to those Christians who are struggling with issues raised by biotechnology, cybernetics, and the increasing technological character of contemporary life.”

-Charles C. Adams,  Dordt College

“Schuurman offers a much needed prophetic critique of the autonomous development of modern technology. Carefully documenting the pervasive character of the scientific technical quest for utility and control, he arrives at the inescapable conclusion that modern technology does not deliver the promised freedom of redemption, but instead enslaves us and degrades the society in which we live.  Drawing on the best insights of the Reformational tradition, this fine exposition offers a viable alternative.”

-Hans Boersma,  Trinity Western University

Foreword 9

Preface 13

Chapter I: Faith and Science in the Context of a Technical Culture

1.1 Introduction 15

1.2 “A capstone doctrine” 19

1.3 The separation between faith and science 20

1.4. “The doctrine of foundations” 22

1.5 Faith regulates thought 23

1.6 What is science? 28

1.7 God’s law as the boundary between God and creation 31

1.8 The motive of science 35

Chapter II: The Influence of Technical Thinking

2.1 Introduction 37

2.2 The boundaries of thought 39

2.3 Technical thinking 44

2.4 Evolutionism or scientific creationism 45

2.4.1 Christian faith and science 47

2.4.2 Scientific creationism in the place of evolutionism? 50

TABLE OF CONTENTS

2.4.3 Revelation and science 53

2.4.4 Interlude: flood geology 58

2.4.5 Creation and re-creation 59

Chapter III: Technology: Our Hope for the Future?

3.1 Introduction 63

3.2 The meaning of technology 64

3.3 Technicism 66

3.4 The intersections between science and technology 76

3.5 How God disappeared from science and technology 80

Chapter IV: Presumptuous Technical Thought and Action

4.1 Introduction 93

4.2 Abstractions in science 96

4.3 “The world of experience” and

“the scientific-technical world” 99

4.4 Under the tyranny of scientific-technical control 102

4.4.1 The technicization of plants 103

4.4.2 The technicization of animals 109

Chapter V: On Being Controlled by the Ideal of Control

5.1 Introduction 111

5.2 The technicization of human reproduction 112

5.3 Can computers think? 117

5.4 In thralldom to our own power 126

5.4.1 Virtual Reality 127

5.4.2 Paradoxes in the process of technicization 130

5.4.3 Demythologization 133

Chapter VI: Philosophical Reflection on Technology

6.1 Introduction 135

6.2 A positivistic-pragmatic view 136

6.3 An orthodox Marxist view 138

6.4 The view of systems thinking 139

6.5 The existentialist view 140

6.6 The neo-Marxist view 141

TABLE OF CONTENTS

6.7 A counter-cultural view 142

6.8 Postmodern view 143

6.9 The view of New-Age thought 145

6.10 A naturalistic view 147

6.11 Cultural tension between technicism and naturalism 147

6.12 Imprisoned in autonomy 148

Chapter VII: Reorientation in our Culture

7.1 Introduction 151

7.2 Is Christianity to blame? 152

7.3 Creation mandate 157

7.4 Liberated from enslaving powers 160

7.5 The basis for a liberating perspective 163

7.6 Creation as a garden to be cultivated and kept 165

Chapter VIII: Hope in the Context of Science and Technology

8.1 Introduction 169

8.2 An alternative direction 170

8.3 The renewal of motives 171

8.3.1 Science as growing in wisdom 173

8.3.2 Technology in the service of life 177

8.4 Technical science as cultural science 181

8.5 Faith as an integrating power in culture 185

8.6 The ethics of responsibility 187

8.7 An integral framework of norms 193

8.8 The meaning of culture 201

In Retrospect: A Summary 205

Bibliography 215

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