Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We've Moved!

Check out our new blog, Religion and Morality.

We'll be highlighting all the latest news from the frontlines of the culture war. Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Technology & (vs?) Morality

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

All eyes in the classroom dart to the shy girl in the back row, as she hastily snatches her cell phone off of her desk, having forgotten that "silent" mode isn't really all that silent in reality.

Look up the phrase "disruptive technology" in the dictionary, and you're sure to see a photo of a cell phone. (Ironically, my cell phone is ringing as I type this, I'll be right back...)

Alright, sorry, that was my girlfriend saying "Goodnight." Anyway, I'd like to take a couple moments to address a few things about the cell phone as a disruptive technology.

First of all: How are cell phones changing the status quo?

From my experience, the cell phone has a lot in common with most emerging technologies. In high school and now into college, kids have always been looking for new ways to determine who's "cool" and who's "not." Owning a cellphone, and a cool one at that, says a lot about a kid's cool level. However, in a day and age where kids as young as second grade are getting there own cell phones, the coolness has to go beyond just the ownership of the technology.

This is where cell phones differ from technologies that seem to be more purely materialistic, such as clothing, cars, ipods, etc. Cell phones define who you are in different terms than these others. Specifically, cell phones define a person by 1) How many people he knows and 2) How busy he is.

I must admit, I have many phone numbers in my phone which I will never use, and never even really intended to use when I put them in there (most of them from first semester, freshman year). This is a sad example of my trying to fit in with what I thought was the status quo. That in order to be like everybody else I had to know a lot of people and have a lot of phone numbers. Not only that, I thought I had to receive a lot of calls, while making a lot of calls, too.

This focus on knowing a lot of people, but just well enough to have their phone numbers (even if you never call them) is changing society dramatically, at least here on campus. I can't begin to count the number of surface friendships I have with people on campus, many of whom, I'm sorry to say, I know only for the sheer selfish pride of knowing lots of people. Honestly, I could probably count on one hand the number of close, genuine relationships I have with other students here at Harding. (OK, maybe two hands and a few toes, but that's still not a lot)

It appears to me that cell phones are changing the way we approach relationships.

Secondly, cell phones make us believe that, in order to fit in with society, we have to be constantly on the go.

Gone are the days where, if you didn't plan something at least two weeks in advance, no one you invited would be able to show up. Today, you can call up ten people and in about eight minutes time be piled in a minivan with them on your way to see a movie.

Gone are the days where assignments that involved contacting people you couldn't actually communicate with in person were allowed days to complete. Today, such assignments are often only allotted a few hours. Thus, the average American is expected to do ten times as much work and make that much more progress than someone living before the age of the cell phone and instant accessability.

Today, we try to appear busy, even if we're not, because we've developed the idea that busy=important. Thus, we are constantly on the run, even when we don't have to be. And, though the cell phone allows us to do more in less time, we now expext so much more of ourselves as a result, that we end up feeling like we are under more pressure to perform quickly than ever before. This only leads to stress, StReSs, and MORE STRESS!!!

Is all of this good? That's a question that each of us needs to ask ourselves.

Do I believe that cell phones are inherently immoral? Of course not. There are a lot of good uses for cell phones. But what about technics whose sole purpose flies in the fact of all moral systems. An example brought up in class is the radar detctor, the sole purpose of which is to break the law. Another example might be pornography, even worse: child pornography, the sole purpose of which is evil and illegal (at least in the case of child porn in the U.S., and groups like the ACLU would like to see that changed, but that's beside the point...)

The argument made in class is that these things are not inherently immoral in and of themselves. According to proponents of this point of view, while the intentions of making such a technic may be purely evil, and while the sole purpose of such a technic may be immoral, this does not make the tecnic inherently immoral by itself when removed from it's intended purposes.

However, I disagree with this point of view completely. I believe that such reasoning is inherently flawed. Here's why:

What is "evil" anyway? Now, I understand that there are many different definitions for this word, depending upon whom you ask. However, none of these responses hold the answer I'm looking for.

"Evil" is acually nothing more than a man-made grouping of man-made letters with man-made sounds that operate within a larger context of a man-made language we call English.

Thus, completely removed from the intentions of the its makers, and completely removed from its humanly determined function, the word "evil" is absolutely meaningless, and thus can be applied to nothing at all, including radar detectors and child pornography.

However, those who want to determine whether or not these things are "evil" in and of themselves are using the word "evil" in the context of its man-made intended function: to represent that which is morally wrong. Thus, it only makes sense that, in discussing that which is in question, the thing (be it a radar detector, child pornography, or whatever) should be considered and defined within and by the context of its man-made intended function. Hence, if a thing's function is found to be evil, it must be considered evil as well since, just like with the word "evil" itself, a thing's intended purpose cannot be separated from the thing itself, or else the question fails to make any sense in the first place.

There, if that doesn't settle it, I don't know what will.

Finally, let's spend a few moments talking about sex, and then we'll call it a night (at least I'll call it a night. I don't know what time of day you'll be reading it, though, by the time you get this far, your day may very well have turned into night...sorry).

The question asks how one might go about arguing from a natural law ethicist's point of view that sexual abstinence before marriage and faithful monogamy after marriage are morally right, since these practices would seem to inhibit the propagation of the species rather than promoting it.

The easy answer to this question lies in a false assumption made by anyone who sees a conflict between abstinence and monogamy and propagation of the species. This assumption is that "propagation of species" = number of conceptions. If this were the case, one would be hard-pressed to prove that the two do not indeed conflict each other. However, "propagation of species" involves life beyond conception.

If thousands of babies are conceived, but all of them are being killed during pregnancy (that sounds vaguely familiar...hmm...), no one would call that "propagation of species."

Thus, in order to make such an argument, one would only need to prove that babies conceived out of wedlock are at greater risk for being aborted, greater risk for falling into poverty, greater risk for dropping out of school, and greater risk for having health problems at birth or later in life (all of which, I believe, have been proven).

A supporting argument would be proof that engaging in such activity (sex outside of wedlock) puts one at greater risk of contracting life-threatening diseases (which it does). This would also seriously deter "propogation of species."

A simple answer for a simple question. And now I must go to bed. If you disagree with me, please let me know. Comments make life more interesting.

Ditto's are great as well.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Foster Brothers are the Coolest

If you wanna see a VIDEO of the cutest kid in the world
performing life-threatening stunts that will
BLOW YOUR MIND, click on the pic to the right.
His name is Jacob and he's the next Tiger Woods.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Out with the Old...

A few posts back I wrote about the "rights" that are continually being pushed through our courts through groups like the ACLU and its allies.

As these "rights" are being created on an almost daily basis, many of our true rights (those actually in the Constitution) are being seriously threatened.

Specifically, the ACLU and its allies are on the verge of turning our freedom of religion into a freedom from religion.

Watch this video and ask yourself, "What is this nation coming to?" And, "What can I do make a difference?"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cross-Country Banquet

Just a few pics of Vicky and I at the Cross-Country banquet last night, along with a few of her teammates and good friends (no, I don't run for Harding; I run for Vicky, but only when she makes me).

CRA Falcons - 24, Delaplain Indians - 20

Here are a few pics I took yesterday at my brother's basketball game. His team won 24-20. It was their first win on the season. Dustin led the team with 11 points. It was a pretty exciting game, proving once and for all that fifth grade basketball (or any level, for that matter) beats NBA ball any day.