Technologies which have saved lives
When butter comes out of the fridge, its rock hard, and almost impossible to spread on bread. A quick easy solution is to pop some on a plastic or ceramic plate and stick it in the microwave for a few seconds. But you need to be careful not to leave it in the microwave for too long, or the whole lump will liquidise before your eyes.
I've discovered through trial and error, that 5 seconds isn't quite long enough and 7 seconds is too long, the optimum time for my lump of butter is 6 seconds. The miracles of modern technology!
Over the past few weeks we've been seeing the devastating effects of nature, and we've been reminded of the dangerous effects of nuclear technology. The Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami have been frightening to watch on our TV screens.
This tragedy has been immense, and apart from the thousands who have died, and the bereaved families, there are also hundreds of thousands whose lives have been changed forever. Their homes, their towns and communities, their world as they knew it, have been swept away in a matter of moments.
The greatest fear has been about the Nuclear power plants at Fukushima, and the radiation problems with the possible melt-down of the reactors. And because of this, once again the world has begun to question the use of nuclear power, and the danger of nuclear technology. Are the benefits of nuclear technology worth the risks? Should we stop tinkering with nature, because 'when you play with fire - expect to get burnt'?
And yet the many advances in technology have been so beneficial to humanity, that it would be hard to abandon them, and revert to less risky ways of surviving. For example, it would seem a gross over-reaction to abandon air-travel simply because of the tragic accident at Cork Airport recently. Likewise, the use of oil to heat homes, power vehicles and prepare food, would surely counter the calamity that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico with the BP oil spill.
The earthquake in Japan has been horrific, but it could have been much worse if technology hadn't warned peo- ple of the approaching resultant tsunami. In 2004 in South East Asia around 230,000 people lost their lives. The early warning and detection systems that were activated moments after the Japanese earthquake struck prevented a repeat of that.
The advent of the X-Ray, electricity and the internet, to name but a few, have brought dramatic benefits to society. People's lives are better, due to these discoveries, and yet, they each carry dangers.
In America the issue of 'Religion versus Science' often comes up during election debates. It's basically a question of our origins, how did we get here? Were we created or did we evolve randomly? Are we the product of purposeful intelligence or are we merely the end result of countless cosmic accidents? And these questions are often used in the debate about whether or not we should be interfering with nature, as in the case of Nuclear power, where we humans try to play God, as we split the atom.
I believe that God has given us the capacity to improve and advance ourselves. Human beings have been created with intelligence, which we have used as we have evolved, to benefit ourselves. But yes, I also believe there comes a point where we must realise that we are not God, we are finite and mortal. Sometimes human advances in technology can go too far. Think about genetic engineering and nuclear power. It's possible that in time we will, through our tinkering with nature, manage to destroy it completely.
The microwave made it easier for me to spread butter on bread, it was fast, convenient and delightfully effective. But maybe we do need to have another think about where we're going with our technological advances. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami were horrific 'acts of God'. The possible Fukashima nuclear disaster is an horrific 'act of humanity'.
The earthquake in Japan has been horrific, but it could have been much worse if technology hadn't warned people of the approaching resultant tsunami.