Friday, December 17, 2010
Is technology miraculous?
Arthur C. Clarke said that "Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." For the last 180 years, people have made light of Joseph Smith's claims to have translated the Book of Mormon with the help of the Urim and Thummim--and/or a "seer stone"--sometimes described as spectacles through which he was able to read the ancient text as English. After seeing this video, this no longer seems so miraculous.
I do not believe in the supernatural, only in laws of nature that are not yet fully understood. What was miraculous for mankind from ancient times on up through the 19th century is easily achieved through technology in the 21st.
The Liahona, described as an instrument with spindles on which periodic written instructions would appear and point the way for Lehi and his family to follow toward the promised land, sounds an awful lot like a GPS navigation device today.
The miraculous translating powers of the Urim and Thummim and "seer stone" have now been replicated with software that can be downloaded onto a smartphone. Does this reduce the Urim and Thummim to some sort of celestial iPhone? I say, why not? :)