Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Note from MacWorld

I just returned from MacWorld, which was really cool. Amazing products to surround my iPods (a device I love) and programs to enhance my MacBook.

While there in SF's Mascone Center, I beheld something almost religious and certainly pseudo-salvific: several dozen people at a time were gazing on the glory of the new iPhone as it slowly twirled within a glass-enclosed pedestal.

I wondered whether technology, or its parent, science, can actually provide the salvation they promise. Richard Dawkins certainly believes so, and actually argues that religion has never actually delivered the goods.

But it doesn't take much to see that Dawkins appears to have succumbed to better marketing in presenting his case for a kinder, gentler science. The harsh realities of what we often call a "Darwinian," survival-of-the-fittest world have been softened in his latest installment. Instead so often we see science and technology proffering exactly the type of "self-delusion" and "wishful thinking" he deplores. We are led to believe that a technological or scientific insight will provide salvation. Sometimes they do provide healing, to be sure. But other times it takes just a few moments to perceive that they will appear as dated in a few years as 8-track tapes and floppy disks appear today.

And then we rush to the next product.

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