Science in Christian Perspective



Eliminate the Tube
Rick Hawksley 
Graduate Student, Architecture
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio 44242

From: JASA 34 (June1982): 128

The Journal ASA, September 1980 issue contained a book review of Jerry Mandet's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Having since read this book, I must write a few comments that the reviewer failed to make.

Jerry Mander's book is important because it is an attempt to show that all technological development is not acceptable, and that in fact some technology should be eliminated. While David A. Kloosterman of The Upjohn Co. has difficulty accepting Mander's arguments, I do not. Kloosterman wrote of Mander,

"Jerry Mander gerrymanders his research so as to include any and all data which support his preconceived notions and exclude all data which do not. Towards anti-television data he is completely without skepticism: science, pseudo-science, pop-psychology, science-fiction, Eastern mysticism, Indian religious beliefs, and personal experiences all are equally acceptable as data sources insofar as they coincide with his ideas."

In the light of Kloosterman's professional affiliation and religious confessional position, Mander's argument is no more "pre-conceived." Mander's use of religious information, so-called pseudo-science, and personal experience have an important place in his argument because his is an argument that encompasses his experience as an advertiser, as well as the religious impact of television. While Mander's underlying apologetics for animistic religion is distracting, I believe that Christians can learn much from his book. His is an excellent humanistic critique of idolatry and the political manifestations of our communications technology. His warnings about "how we turn into our images" is a clear contemporary recognition of the biblical warnings against idolatry. The admonitions of the prophets against overflowing ourselves with information not about God hang in my mind as I read Mander's political argument.

While Mander gives Christianity a bad rap, it is only because Christianity's perspective on biology, chemistry and physics has been overwhelmed by a nature/grace dualism. If he was shown what the Bible says about stewardship, he might very well give his profession of faith. The point is, Mander attempts to provide a broad argument against television because all of his empirical data and his religious presuppositions tell him it is wrong. As a Christian, my presuppositions also tell me that we should also call for the elimination of the Tube. It is time that we see that the command of the Bible to "love" has political, economic and technological ramifications. We must recognize that God's command to "have no other gods before me" also includes science. We must be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), not the sun.