Scientism 2: Controlling Nature

Science and technology is concerned primary with the control of nature. Science finds out how the universe seems to work, and technology exploits that for the (sometimes perceived) benefit of mankind.

Nothing wrong with that. We are to fill the earth and subdue it, and this fits with the definition of technology quite well. So far so good.

 

Now we start to run into problems. What is the “nature” that we’re subduing? I would hope most Christians are aware that man is not an animal – we are made in the image of God, and are his special representatives in the world. So is man a part of nature? In this sense, no. We are not trying to control man (tho’ oft we try).

This is not to say that we don’t learn, say, the science of the human body. We respect the human form, and thus have a responsibility to care for it and keep it healthy. I’m pointing out the attempts (most notably the Nazi scientists, who are the perfect ideals of scientists because they are unshackled by such petty restrictions of morals) to create a “superhuman,” an Übermensch. For example, trying to defeat death through science. Only one way to do that folks, and telomeres aren’t gonna help (look ‘em up).

 

Once again, I refer back to The Abolition of Man. If you haven’t read it, I’m sorry you say you’ll probably be lost when you try to unravel the enigma that is prideful modern man.

Lewis brings this point out: when you treat man like a part of controllable nature, when you treat man like an animal, he becomes an animal. He loses his humanity. Man is no longer man. He becomes homo sapiens. You can cut him up, burn him, defile him, disrespect him, mistreat him, starve him, all without consequences. The reason most of us find animal cruelty morally reprehensible is because we cannot conceive of treating a man like that.

When you take away humanity, you remove all pretenses of morality. There is no reason to be concerned about starvation (or dictators gang-pressing children) because those things are not wrong for animals to do. The only law is the law of whoever has the biggest stick. Survival of the fittest.

 

It should be obvious then, that there are two ways to approach the natural world. One of them leads to a naturalistic dystopia where man lives in constant conflict with his neighbor; the other is characterized by love and gracious utilization of the environment. These two ways are non-negotiable: you cannot subscribe to both worldviews. Either you see God’s hand in everything, or you do your best to ignore it.

There can be no morality is man is an animal.

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