Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Virtuous Technology

The Catholic faith supports true science and technology, not "science [that] should trump ideology," e.g., not "science [that] should trump the Fifth Commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill.'" Therefore, true science and technology are virtuous, pro-life, and opposing of all "homicidal research." (Bishop Olmsted "What should science trump?")

Noah was humanity's first virtuous, pro-life scientist and engineer. Receiving scientific knowledge on how to build a piece of technology, a boat, not from himself but from the Holy Spirit, Wisdom; he saved humanity from destruction due to its poor decisions.
Noe found grace before the Lord. [...] the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. [...] [God] said to Noe: [...] Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without. And thus shalt thou make it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits*: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Thou shalt make a window in the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish the top of it: and the door of the ark thou shalt set in the side: with lower, middle chambers, and third stories shalt thou make it. Behold, I will bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth [...]

Genesis 6:8,11,13-17

* 1 cubit ≈ 44 cm
Today, too, we face destruction due to our poor decisions regarding the sanctity of human life. Demography tells us that we are dying at an alarming rate. For example, the number of children ever born per woman living in the U.S. was 1.862 in 2006, much below the replacement level of 2.1; and 45.1% of U.S. women of fertile age have never had children (Fertility of American Women: 2006). Other countries, too, face economic problems due to aging populations, thus we are experiencing a "demographic winter." Pope Benedict XVI addresses the causes of this in his recent encyclical on economics, Caritas in Veritate.

Although there are many good research projects trying to save lives without killing other lives, there are also many that try to prevent or even kill human lives, as with contraceptive or abortifacient research, respectively. Like with Goethe's Faust, we have sold our souls for the exchange of scientific knowledge that compares very little to the greatness of Noah's science and technology, for God—"the guide of wisdom, and the director of the wise"—
hath given [us] the true knowledge of the things that are: to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements, the beginning, and ending, and midst of the times, the alterations of their courses, and the changes of seasons, the revolutions of the year, and the dispositions of the stars, the natures of living creatures, and rage of wild beasts, the force of winds, and reasonings of men, the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots, and all such things as are hid, and not foreseen [...] For in [wisdom] is the spirit of understanding; holy, one, manifold, subtile, eloquent, active, undefiled, sure, sweet, loving that which is good, quick, which nothing hindereth, beneficent, gentle, kind, steadfast, assured, secure, having all power, overseeing all things, and containing all spirits: intelligible, pure, subtile.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:15,17-23

Pro-life technology is a great application of our intellect to helping others. Just as Noah applied his intellect to designing and building a boat to save humanity, so, too, can we apply ours to technology for our greater good, not death.

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