Category: Science & Technology

Jurassic World’s cruelty toward its creatures

One reason 1993’s Jurassic Park became so iconic was the timing of its release. The 1990s saw a growing popular interest in paleontology, particularly among kids. These days, a third grader will rattle off the identities and powers of Marvel superheroes; back then, they were more likely to know the scientific names and relative sizes of dinosaurs. Any dinosaur-obsessed kid who goes to the new Jurassic World,…  [more]

I draw the line at selfie sticks (at least for now)

I went a little selfie crazy while on vacation a few weeks ago. Keep in mind, for a selfie-averse adult like myself, going “crazy” meant taking maybe a total of 15 pictures of my wife and I together while celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Paris. But that’s about 13 more selfies than I’ve taken in the five previous years. I’ve always had reservations about the practice, largely…  [more]

The pastoral implications of Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post

I’ve been thinking about what I will do the next time I have occasion to make eye contact with Sheryl Sandberg. It will happen eventually. My husband works at Facebook. I’ve had a few brief in-real-life interactions with her (the company Christmas party and a hello in the parking lot). Even in passing, she was warm and genuine. She made an effort to look me in the eye and say hello. A few days after her…  [more]

Miranda Sings and the many faces of narcissism

YouTuber Colleen Ballinger’s malaprop-mad persona, Miranda Sings, has a lot of “suscribers” pretty “essited” by her cat sweaters, garish lips and blaring songs. As Miranda, Ballinger burpily parodies everybody from illiterate online commenters to basic girls to inspirational speakers to do-it-yourselfers to inept webcammers. Next month, Miranda will be sharing her wisdom in a book…  [more]

Has a line been crossed in regard to human DNA?

A paper published last month moved a hypothetical bioethics exercise toward an ethical emergency. Researchers in China used a state-of-the-art technology that gives us the ability to edit mistakes in our DNA. The technology, with the eye-catching name CRISPR, has been used in human cells and mouse embryos. So far, CRISPR seems to be able to edit the genome correctly in some cells, some of the time. This particularly…  [more]

Ex Machina and what it (might) mean to be human

What makes us human? And how is that related to the way we’re made in God’s image? These are perennial questions that tantalizingly linger along the edges of the new science-fiction thriller Ex Machina, my favorite film of the year thus far. Written and directed by Alex Garland, who brings a cool mercilessness to the proceedings, Ex Machina imagines the birth of artificial intelligence in the form of a…  [more]

The new technology of social justice

In his seminal book The Prophets, Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel suggested that the Old Testament prophets saw justice as the supreme manifestation of God's presence. Heschel, a rabbi whose work carved out a place in both Jewish and Christian thought, was the sole survivor of a family who was killed by Nazis during World War II. "God's concern for justice grows out of His compassion for man,”…  [more]

Earth Day won’t save us

When I was little, I had a strange obsession with the environment. I collected animal stickers, watched endless documentaries on the Discovery Channel and stayed up late at night worrying about the rain forest. It was an odd concern, one that made my parents and schoolteachers call me “mature for my years.” As I see it now, this interest was actually the development of guilt. How could I learn about oil…  [more]

From biophobia to biophilia: loving God through His creatures

One summer morning my 3-year-old son headed outside to ride his Big Wheel on our front sidewalk. He was “authorized” to ride the sidewalk between our house and our best friends’ house two doors down. We thought it was safe. A blood-curdling scream, tearful wails and a jackhammer pounding on the screen door indicated otherwise. “What’s the matter?  Are you okay?”  What…  [more]

Should we be “redesigning” death?

“With just a little attention … he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.” These words, taken from the California Sunday Magazine article “Death, Redesigned,” speak to a new understand of mortality in our culture. It doesn’t take much experience with death to understand how daunting the…  [more]

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