Tag Archives: Japan

The Arrogance of Science

“Teach us the meaning and value of creation, so that we may join its voice to ours as we sing your praise.”

That’s from the church’s morning prayer today. I thought of the article I read in yesterday’s New York Times called “A Country’s Lasting Aftershocks,” by Satoru Iekuchi, Genichiro Takahashi and Mitsuyoshi Numano. It’s was about science’s arrogance, which is a division of human arrogance.

Here’s an excerpt from that Japanese article:

“The physicist Torahiko Terada wrote in 1934, “The more civilization progresses, the greater the violence of nature’s wrath.” Nearly 67 years later, his words appear prescient.

Humans have become increasingly arrogant, believing they have conquered nature. We build ever larger, ever more concentrated, ever more uniform structures. Scientists and engineers think that they are responding to the demands of society, but they have forgotten their larger responsibilities to society, emphasizing only the positive aspects of their endeavors.

The catastrophe facing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant epitomizes this phenomenon. Although earthquakes are so frequent in Japan that it has been described as “a nation lying atop a block of tofu,” we have built some 54 nuclear reactors along the coast, vulnerable to tsunamis. It should have been foreseen that an earthquake of this magnitude might occur, and if the plant could not withstand such an event, it should not have been constructed.” For more…

We usually think of Lent in terms of human reconciliation, how we relate to our neighbor. How about our relationship to creation?

“I was in an earthquake”

“ I was hungry and you gave me food,

I was thirsty and you gave me drink,

a stranger and you welcomed me,

naked and you clothed me,

ill and you cared for me,

in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew)

Why does the tragedy in Japan calls for a generous response from the rest of the world?  Because a generous God has blessed us all with gifts of life and  enables us  “to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp. God has blessed us  with rain, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and family,” St. Gregory Nazianzen writes.

 

The same God, our Father, asks that we be generous to those who are our sisters and brothers. “ He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but as common to all, amply and in rich measure.”