Happy New Year! Inevitably, as we enter a new year, century and millennium
(officially, many say) we are enamored, overwhelmed, even frightened by
our own advances. In no other field is this more true than technology--particularly
information technology. Of course, we run the risk of inflating the impact
of new trends, inventions and discoveries, too. Nevertheless, there is
much to look ahead to, from nanotechnology to robotics to computing and
medical breakthroughs to our personal and societal adaptations.
A Spiritual-Technological Odyssey
One concern surrounding the computer breakthroughs of recent years
is security--national and personal. (Isn't there always a prominent
fear factor when we consider the coming fruits of our ingenuity?) At
a recent Microsoft-sponsored conference, National Security Council official
Richard Clarke "told [conferees] that the United States could soon discover
that other countries have built arsenals of information warfare," according
to World magazine, December 23, 2000 . "It may be improbable that a
war in cyberspace can occur," Clarke stated, "but it could happen."
Recall the groundbreaking sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In a
way not unlike the film's profound approach, our Special Focus contemplates
technology (and politics,etc.) and its implications for humankind, delving
deeper into the philosophical side. How does one cope with the cascade
of daily information that buries us? And what of human nature as related
to technology? Are we simply machines which science and technology will
ultimately comprehend and overtake? These are important questions when
dealing with issues like genetic engineering or robotics. Also, how
does technology intersect with the spiritual? For these and other reflections,
see our Special Focus.
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
Are We Spiritual Machines?
William A. Dembski
Dembski examines the metaphor common to scientific and philosophical discussions
of the person that man is a kind of machine and criticizes this view as
Science and the
Story that We Need
Current technology transfers messages at a blistering pace. Modern science
provides guidance on where we came from and how we should live. But
what genuine human purpose is served by this glut of information?
Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information
Review by John J. Reilly
Reilly reviews Erik Davis's book on the connection between information
technology and pagan spiritualities.
The Morphing of Religious Practices
Opinion piece that forecasts a new information-age syncretism of "designer
religion" driven by the online culture itself. From a Web site
designed to prepare believers for a new paradigm that will affect the
way religion and the Church universal are understood.
Computers and the Information
What has been the impact of the information revolution, and how should
Christians respond? The world has shifted to a computer-based society;
we need some guiding principles and ethics for technology's "Brave New
What Remains To Be
Discovered: Mapping The Secrets Of The Universe, Origins Of Life, And
The Future Of The Human Race
Stephen M. Barr
Barr reviews Maddox's chronicle of the last 300 years of scientific
discovery and his predictions for the future of science.
First Things, January 1997
Kerby Anderson looks at the loss of privacy and discusses such issues
as the National ID card, wire taps, Carnivore, and encryption.
Brave New World (1932)
Leon R. Kass
Kass reviews Huxley's disturbingly prescient view of a pleasure-driven,
The 2001 Principle
Mordechai Steinman and Gershon Robinson
In the annals of motion picture history, the film "2001: A Space Odyssey"
holds a special place. Though outwardly science fiction, the film speaks
about life, the universe, and reality in general, and the message seems
to be one of enormous consequence. But that message may not be what you
think. Be sure to visit the source site (link within) to experience more
of the film's mystique and message.
What Can We
Reasonably Hope For?: A Millennium Symposium
First Things, January 2000
It is of course the case that only God knows what will happen in the
next century and the next millennium. But we human beings are created
with an irrepressible disposition toward the future, as well as a capacity
to recall the past. In the last year we published a "millennium series"
of articles remembering, century by century, where we have been. Now
we ask a group of notable thinkers, all of whom are familiar to our
readers, what they expect of the future. Writers were free to choose
their own topics, and we trust our readers will agree that the result
is a suggestive, and frequently provocative, contribution to the right
ordering of expectations, hopes, and fears for the century and millennium
now upon us.
We would love to get your