Religion and Science: A Wide Gap

Article excerpt

The Religion Of Technology

The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention By David Noble

232 pages, Knopf, $26 DAVID NOBLE is one ambitious writer. In a little over 200 pages, he attempts to bridge the longstanding gulf between science and religion, tracing their roots back to the Middle Ages and beyond. His new book's first section, titled "Technology and Tr anscendence," he focuses on the rise of technology and its intimate relationship with Christianity. As near as I can make out from the densely packed, abstrusely worded text, Noble thinks this marriage was not necessarily a happy one and does not bode well for the future of mankind. Technology is defined at its inception as the useful arts, practical activities such as cloth-making, agriculture, hunting and food preparation. The author quotes innumerable sources indicating that from Augustine on, Christian thinkers imbued these arts with spiritual significance. If man was made in the image of God, then he, God-like, held dominion over the things of the earth, over nature, and so his manipulation of nature, his technology, had spiritual significance. It could lead to transcendence. The argument, reiterated throughout and buttressed by (and peppered with) hundreds of quotations from historians, theologians, philosophers, scientists and other writers and thinkers from ancient times to the present, is very persuasive, but the data is overwhelming. …


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