CHRISTIAN APPROACHES TO SELECTED ISSUES RELATED TO MODERN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the Christian view on some issues related to modern science and technology
  2. Explain the Christian view on the effects of modern science and technology on the environment

LESSON ONE: DEFINITIONS

Science – subject field that deals with a systematic study of our surroundings and behaviour of materials  in the universe

It is based on observation, experimentation and measurement.

Technology – application of science to achieve desired objectives.  Environment – our surroundings – both natural and human made i.e.

mountains, lakes, land, forests,  animals, buildings, flowers etc

 

LESSON TWO: POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

  1. State the various ways that science and technology has improved our lives
  2. State the negative effects of science and technology

Ways science and technology has improved human lives

  • Improvement of crop production – a quality seeds, fertilizers leading to improved yields
  • Better nutrition, health care, medical services
  • Improvement of livestock production through artificial insemination, quality medicine leading to more milk production.
  • It has led to development of efficient means of transport – land, air, seas
  • Work has been made easier and enjoyable. There is use of machines, automation, use of computers.
  • People’s lives have been spared, saved e.g. through life saving machines (ICU), incubators
  • Business transactions are being done through the internet

Communication has been made easy – fax, email, short text messages on mobile phones etc

  • Research is ongoing for incurable diseases i.e. HIV / AIDS, cancer
  • There is better management of environment
  • Technology has made the world a global village
  • Through family planning methods, its easier to control population growth
  • There’s a better security system through use of scanners, alarms, electrified fences etc.
  • Improvement of learning through e–learning
  • There’s easier movement from one country to another

Negative effects of science and technology 

  1. People use medicine to commit suicide
  2. Increase of crime, fraud and death through modern means of communication
  3. Destruction of family relationships
  4. Breakdown of community names, values morals, breakdown of families
  5. Terrorism
  6. Greed for money / materialism
  7. Unemployment – replacement of personnel by machines
  8. Health hazards such as accidents in factories
  9. Pollution, air poisoning

LESSON THREE: CHRISTIAN VIEW ON ISSUES RELATED TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

  1. Define the following terms euthanasia, blood transfusion, organ transplant, genetic engineering and  plastic surgery
  2. Describe Christians’ view on euthanasia, blood transfusion, organ transplant, human cloning, genetic engineering and plastic surgery
  3. State the reasons for and against euthanasia, blood transfusion, organ transplant, human cloning, genetic engineering and plastic surgery
  4. Euthanasia
  5. Blood transfusion
  6. Organ transplant
  7. Genetic engineering
  8. Plastic surgery

Euthanasia 

It’s a Greek word, which means an easy and painless death. It is ‘mercy killing’ ending a person’s life so  as to alleviate them from experiencing pain.

Its practiced with the sick person’s knowledge

It is involuntary when its practiced against or without the sick person’s consent

Its done by

  1. Injecting an overdose of sleeping pills to the sick person
  2. Switching off life support machine
  3. Exposing the person with chronic pneumonia to very cold air.

Christians view on Euthanasia 

Christians are opposed to euthanasia for several reasons such as

  1. Life is sacred, a gift from God and only God can take away human life
  2. Suffering is part of human life
  3. Euthanasia is against medical ethos, which demands that doctors and nurses work for the sustenance of human life and alleviation of suffering but not to terminate it.
  4. Jesus has power over sickness and through his name all sickness are healed
  5. Accepting euthanasia discourages medical research on vaccines that may cure various diseases.
  6. Euthanasia discourages patients and makes them to lose hope in life. They may feel unwanted and

Blood transfusion 

It’s the process of injecting a person’s blood into another person through his/her veins. The giver is a  donor the receiver is a recipient.

Reasons for blood transfusion 

  1. When a person is suffering from acute anemia (little blood in the body) low blood
  2. To restore blood lost during fatal accidents, wars, or childbirth
  3. To maintain blood levels for patients undergoing major operations
  4. To correct the low haemoglobin level of some patients
  5. Blood has to be screened for any diseases, and then kept in blood bank after determining  the blood group. The transfusion should be in a hygienic way. The equipment used  should be sterilized.
  6. Donors should not be below 16 years or above 65 years

Alternatives to blood transfusion 

  1. Volume expanders – increase fluid levels in the body
  2. Growth factors – intra operative / post operative
  3. Blood salvage – same blood when on surgery is saved then transfused back to the patient

Christian view on blood transfusion 

  1. Some Christian’s believe it is wrong to take blood from a healthy person and transfuse it to another
  2. Blood is life and life cannot be taken from one person to another
  3. Blood transfusion is essential as it saves life
  4. Blood transfusion can transmit dangerous diseases like HIV / AIDS and Hepatitis B
  5. God has given Christians the intelligence and capability to make the right decision and choice

Organ transplant 

  • This is the removal of a defective organ and replacing it with a healthy one. Body organs transplanted are kidneys, heart and eyes small intestines, pan crease.  – The purpose is to replace the damaged organ of a recipient
  • Common transplants are the heart, kidney, eyes from living and the dead (heart) within a span of  hours. Eyes can be transplanted from animals.

Christian view on organ transplant 

  1. It saves life hence acceptable to some
  2. Its transferring human life from one person to another
  3. Its wrong to transplant from animals – view by some Christians
  4. Some support organ transplant by referring to the story of creation of

Eve from parts of Adam

  1. It is part of human beings continuing with the creation work of God.
  2. It is an expression of love and concern for those suffering as taught by Jesus Christ.

Genetic engineering  

  • It’s a scientific technique used by scientists to change the biological characteristics of living organisms by deliberately altering the structure of individual genes.
  • There are genetically modified foods, genetically engineered seeds, test tube babies, human clones, and genes of human insulin.

Human cloning 

This is a form of genetic engineering. It’s a creation of genetically identical copy of a human being,  human cell.

Twins are a form of natural cloning

There’s therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning (human cloning)

Therapeutic cloning is when cells from an adult are used in creating medicine or for research

Reproduction cloning is the making of human beings  More than 90% of cloning has failed.

Animals cloned have died young, had cancers or arthritis.

Human cloning is illegal worldwide

Genetic cells are used to treat Alzheimer, heart attack, cancer

Test tube babies are different from human cloning. Test tube babies are where the egg and sperm is  fused together outside the body.

In cloning, a needle like device is used to draw out the cells from an embryo, then preserved using  chemicals, then put in a womb/uterus to grow. Some do not need a sperm cell, they use other body cells  for fertilization.

Reasons for advocating human cloning 

Can clone people whose genetic composition is of a genius, people with special abilities or talents

Can be able to bring, revive back great extinct characteristics.

Those who support it believes it can reduce immorality

Reasons against human cloning 

  1. God is the sole creator. Cloning takes the place of God.
  2. It de –humanizes human beings purpose of human reproduction
  3. It destroys uniqueness of each individual (Cloning is an exact copy)
  4. It can be abused and used to create antisocial people (rapists, thieves)
  5. May create deformed people
  6. It’s un-ethical, immoral experiment. Its destruction of the embryo hence abortion
  7. 95% of clones have failed (animal) most animals died
  8. Its illegal
  9. Closed animals died of cancer, had arthritis, deformities and an early death
  10. Cloning may bring a destructive copy of humans

Advantages of genetic engineering 

  1. Implanting genes that are diseases free in people, plant and animals could prevent diseases.
  2. Genetic crops yield more
  3. Helps to determine the biological parent in case of dispute on babies (DNA)
  4. Helps to increase disease resistance in crops and altering animal traits in plants and animals
  5. Assists in classifying blood during screening before it’s transfused to another person.

Christian view of genetic engineering 

  1. Christians support genetic engineering that is beneficial to human beings e.g. Cure of genetic diseases, production of drugs, plant and animals
  2. Human beings are made in God’s image and are loved by God with or without defects.
  3. The dignity of the human being is eroded or disregarded and should be upheld.
  4. Christians oppose cloning and test tube babies
  5. Its against God’s will or teaching

Plastic surgery 

  • It’s to change or mould the shape of something, to enhance or restore an area of the body
  • It’s repairing or improving of damaged, diseased or unsatisfactory shaped parts of the body with pieces of skin or bone taken from other parts of the body.
  • Skin grafting is the most common type of plastic surgery
  • Plastic surgery is done on cleft lips i.e. cosmetic surgery, breast surgery reduction or enlargement,  surgery done to look younger.

Reasons for plastic surgery 

  • It can help restore ones confidence or self – esteem
  • It enhances beauty, attractiveness or youthfulness
  • It enhances a person’s life and can be a life changing procedure
  • It may help a person to get a new job

Disadvantages 

  • Its expensive
  • Can lead to transmission of diseases

Christian views on plastic surgery 

  • Some support it, as it has some benefits
  • Some Christian oppose plastic surgery in order to look younger – Some argue that some people do it because of a lack of self – acceptance, low self esteem hence  should work on such issues first.

 

LESSON FOUR: THE CHRISTIAN VIEW ON THE EFFECTS OF MODERN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE  ENVIRONMENT (POLLUTION, DESERTIFICATION)

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

  1. State the various ways of caring for the environment

In Genesis 1, man was given the responsibility of taking care of the environment

Ways of taking care of the environment 

  1. Cleaning up the environment, clean up rivers
  2. Educating people on the importance of conservation
  3. Dispose industrial wastes properly
  4. Enforce use of environment – friendly fuel (unleaded fuel)
  5. Factory owners to supply protective wear to factory workers
  6. Planting of trees and flowers
  7. Establishing airports, industries, and disco clubs away from residential areas.
  8. Advocate for laws to be passed to minimize noise from vehicles, aircrafts, entertainment centres.

Waste to be managed through

Reuse e.g. bottles

Recycle – plastic bottles to be recycled to plastic bins, old newspapers to be recycled to tissue papers.

Recover – burning waste products to produce electricity

Waste can be managed to reduce use of ‘Throw away’ goods e.g. batteries to use of electricity.

 

LESSON FIVE: POLLUTION AND ITS EFFECTS.

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

  1. Define the terms pollutant and pollution
  2. Give examples of pollutants
  3. State and explain the types of pollution
  4. State the effects of the various types of pollution.

It’s introduction into the environment of substances or energy that is liable to cause hazards to human

health, harm to living resources and ecological systems

In simple terms pollution is the contamination of the environment.  Substances that cause pollution are called pollutants. Some of the pollutants include;

Industrial affluent

Pesticides

Insecticides

Fertilizers

Ultra – violent rays from nuclear plants

Dust

Smoke

Noise

Waste heat

Exhaust gases from automobiles

Types of pollution 

  1. Water pollution
  2. Air pollution
  3. Land pollution
  4. Radiation pollution
  5. Sound pollution (noise)

Water pollution 

This is the increase of substances in water in excess of its rightful chemical components thus making it  unsuitable for human, animal or plant use.

  • Disposing domestic and industrial waste into rivers, lakes, seas etc pollutes water.
  • Disposing agricultural chemicals pesticides into water bodies.
  • Oil spilling into waters
  • Poor sanitation bathing or washing clothes in rivers or dams

Effects of water pollution 

  1. Causes diseases, which are communicable such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.
  2. Leads to death of marine life – birds (Flamingo) fish by oil spills
  3. Mercury (metal) leads, silver is poisonous. They kill organisms.
  4. Water becomes unfit for human consumption

Air pollution 

Presence of contaminants in the atmosphere caused by

  1. Smoke
  2. Fumes
  3. Dust – from mines, quarries
  • When there is an increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that’s pollution
  • Other major atmospheric pollutants include gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), and sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen Oxide (NO) i.e. fumes from vehicles, aircrafts, industries

Effects 

  • Leads to diseases such as bronchitis, asthma
  • Leads to depletion of the Ozone layer leading to ultra – violent rays of the sun penetrating to the earth causing skin cancer, cataracts (eye problems), low plant yields.
  • Causes rusting of roofs
  • Causes acid rains
  • Carbon dioxide (02) in the atmosphere has led to global warming. (vi) Formation of smog (thick fog), which can lead to accidents.  (vii) Colored rain due to large amounts of dust in the atmosphere  (viii) Eyesight loss due to gas leakages from industrial plants.

Land pollution 

Land pollution is any physical or chemical alteration to land, which causes change in its use and renders  it incapable of beneficial use without treatment.

Improper or excessive use of insecticides, pesticides makes land acidic  – Land is also polluted by improper disposal of waste / garbage, broken glasses.

Effects 

  • Waste is an eye sore spoiling the beauty of the environment
  • Broken glass can lead to injuries
  • Open mining leaves pits, which are a danger to people and animals.

Noise pollution 

  • Experienced especially in urban centres, near roads, running water, mining areas, airports, music from bars, nightclubs etc.
  • An instrument called sound meter measures noise. The lowest unit is O Decitel, which is okay. More than 80 decibels is harmful to the ear.

Noise over 80 decibels can cause (effects)

  • Deafness, hearing problems
  • Psychological disorders – frustrations, irritation
  • Insomnia
  • Shock due to sudden noise
  • Cracking of walls

Noise can be minimized by

Construction of sound proof buildings

Location of residential areas away from industries, airports, bars, main roads

Banning of unnecessary hooting, playing of loud music in public vehicles

Installing silencers in generators

Education people on the effects of noise pollution

Pollution caused by radiation

Mainly in developed countries

Atomic explosions e.g. Hiroshima / Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. The side effects of mutations of born  children. Some children born with deformities. The radiation caused chromosome mutations. Some  mutations on the cells of the parent / grandparents.

Nuclear power stations also a danger

Medical equipment e.g. X ray machines when one is over exposed to these radiations (x – rays) it can  lead to development of cancer.

 

LESSON SIX: DESERTIFICATION

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

  1. Define the term desertification
  2. Describe the causes of desertification

This is slow encroachment of desert – like a condition to land that was previously productive making it  desolate, uncultivatable and uninhabitable. Human activity accelerates creation of deserts.

Causes of deserts 

  1. Natural
  2. Persistent rains in a semi – arid area
  3. Exposure of an area to very high, very cold temperatures
  4. Inadequate rainfall for a long period of time
  5. Human

Human activities that lead to desertification are

  • Cutting down of trees (deforestation) for land use such as building, industries, and not replacing
  • Use of water from wells to irrigate land. Its harmful especially salty water – salt on soil salination is toxic to soils.
  • Incorrect use of pesticides and fertilizers destroy soil nutrients. (iv) Industrialization – industries emit carbon dioxide (CO2) leading to formation of acid rain, which leads  to unproductive land hence desertification
  • Overgrazing especially among the pastoralist communities  (vi) Poor farming methods like cultivation on riverbanks and slopes, which causes soil erosion, leading to  desertification.

 

LESSON SEVEN: SOLUTIONS TO DESERTIFICATION

Learning outcomes. By the end of the lesson you should be able to: –

1.state the solutions to desertification

Land can be restored through the following ways;

  • Removal of people, livestock from certain areas e.g. forests
  • Installation of good drainage systems
  • Reduction of water logging / salination
  • Use of alternative sources of fuel such as wind, solar, biogas instead of cutting down trees to use as fuel (charcoal)
  • Advocate for penalties to those who pollute the environment – factories
  • Replace trees that are cut down
  • Build water storage facilities to store rain water then use it for irrigation
  • Educate people on the importance of the environment
  • Use of manure instead of harmful fertilizers

Emulate Prof. Wangari Maathai implanting trees – 8th October 2004 she was awarded the Nobel peace  prize, an international award, for her efforts in preserving the environment.

Revision questions. 

  1. How can modern Christians evaluate scientific and technological discoveries
  2. Why is the church in Kenya opposed to plastic surgery?
  3. How has science and technology improved human life?
  4. What are the consequences of science and technology in our society?
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