Monday, January 14, 2013

Advanced Technologies and Responsible Stewardship

I've run into quite a few goofy ideas about natural resources, environmental concerns, and human beings. Some of them may have fallen out of fashion: I'm quite sure that others haven't. The crazier ones include:
  • Natural resources
    • Are infinite
    • May be plundered
      • The Bible says so
    • Won't last long
      • We're doomed
  • Environmental concerns
    • Have priority over everything else
    • Are for crazy people
    • Involve abandoning technology
      • Invented after about 1850
    • Mean culling human populations to 'sustainable' levels
  • Human beings
    • Own the natural world
    • Are destroying the natural world
I'd say that I'm oversimplifying: but I've run into 'all of the above' at one time or another.

Sane Environmentalism

At the risk of seeming churlish: I don't think that we have "too many" human beings; and I do think that it's not 1970 any more:
On the other hand, I think it's important that we be smart about using natural resources.

Genesis, Stewardship, and Getting a Grip

The first chapter of Genesis doesn't say 'do thou go forth and plunder the earth, make foul the seas, and blacken the skies with soot.' Granted, some folks may think that's what Genesis 1:28 means:
"God blessed them, saying: 'Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.' "
(Genesis 1:28)
I'm a Catholic, so I'm not allowed to misuse natural resources:
  • Creation is
    • Orderly
    • Good
    • Made with humanity in mind
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 299)
  • Humans
    • Must
      • Respect the particular goodness of every creature
      • Avoid any disordered use of creation
        • Doing so would
          • Show contempt of the Creator
          • Hurt people
      (Catechism, 339)
    • Are supposed to "subdue the earth"
      • As stewards, to
        • Not destroy
        • Act responsibly
      (Catechism, 373)
We're part of this creation, too: and basically good, too. Genesis 1:31 and all that. Since I'm Catholic, my view of "original sin" isn't that humanity is a botched job. And that's another topic. (July 11, 2012)

Technology's Okay: Irresponsibility Isn't

Like I said, we have "dominion" over nature, the same way a steward had "dominion" over an estate. We're responsible for managing the natural world:
"...Human beings legitimately exercise a responsible stewardship over nature, in order to protect it, to enjoy its fruits and to cultivate it in new ways, with the assistance of advanced technologies, so that it can worthily accommodate and feed the world's population...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 50)
Long-range planning comes with the job:
"...At the same time we must recognize our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations in such a condition that they too can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 50)
I don't think that science and technology will solve all our problems. But I'm quite sure that they aren't to blame for all our problems, either. I've quoted Job 5:7 before.

I'm also quite sure that this famous quote is wrong: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." As it turns out, that's not what Charles Holland Duell said, and that's yet another topic.

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.