Like many people I am fascinated with word clouds. I thought it would be interesting to copy-and-paste my thesis into Wordle and play around with it to see how close I could get to a visual word cloud expression of the ideas in my thesis, “Theology and Technology: Humanity in Process.” The intriguing thing with word clouds is the dance between randomness and defined conditions and the resultant coincidences and correlations. After a few random selections and purposeful color selections I arrived at the following word cloud:
Here we have a shape like an egg, an arrowhead, or a leaf, thus representing the interplay between creation, technology, and nature. On one end of the shape is the word “scientific,” and at the other end is the word “dualism.” These two words encapsulate the main themes of my thesis. I chose a simple two-color complementary color scheme to represent dualism but chose the “little variance” color option to reflect complexity.
You may download and read my thesis here. The following is a summary:
Using broad historical themes such as the Enlightenment’s focus on reason, individual autonomy, harmony, nature as mechanism, and the concept of historical progress I argue that anthropological dualism is responsible for both the West’s embrace of “human” progress, namely “technological” progress, and absolutist fears of such progress. I examine two broad theological camps who respond to the tensions in human technological and scientific progress and, specifically, evolutionary theory. I conclude Intelligent Design theorists perpetuate an un-reflective reliance on the dualistic tensions and the theistic naturalists (scholars related to Zygon Center in Chicago, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in California, and European Society for the Study of Science And Theology) more diligently and fruitfully examine and promote the intersections between science and theology, often emphasizing a more monistic view of the human person. In the second to last chapter I examine two movies as cultural reflections on human nature and the delusion or promise, as the case may be, of technological advancement: The Matrix and A.I. Artificial Inteligence. In conclusion I suggest that the role of humans in the grand evolutionary epic of the universe is to “give birth” to or “replicate” the image of God within truly selfless / righteous / Christ-like beings–whether they are the continuation of humans fused with technology or “new” beings altogether.