Shaping the future is a critical issue in every generation and especially is this true in respect of the last two decades of this century.
For the first time in human history, mankind possesses the technical and scientific means to destroy itself. We shall have to live with this possibility to the end of time. On the other hand, science and technology can help to emancipate the human family from the social degradation in which so many have to live. Either way, there is now placed on the shoulders of mankind a new dimension of responsibility; will we shape or shatter the world in which we live?
The old forms of society are decaying. Many of our present infrastructures are inadequate. In the future, there will be times when the whole human race will hold its breath, for the margin between risks and benefits is very narrow.
For the Christian the future will be dangerous and thrilling. It is vital that the Christian Church should not arrive when the battle is over to bury the dead. We must be where the action is taking place and where it is often difficult, dangerous and possibly dirty.
I wholeheartedly commend this report. It possesses vital guidelines for shaping tomorrow. It is about God’s world and man as a child of God and, therefore, it is about the Kingdom of God on earth.
Rev. William Gowland
Luton Industrial College
We live in a world of change. Much of this can be directly attributed to science and technology from, for example, the wheel, the steam and internal combustion engine, the electric motor, the valve, transistor and integrated circuit. While many of these advances have been used for the good of mankind, others threaten his life style and even his very existence. Because of the latter, many people are fearful and suspicious of science and technology, wrongly in my view, since the cause is not due to the technology itself, which is only made possible by the God-made laws of nature discovered by the scientist, but by man’s immoral application of the technology.
The basic problem therefore is not the technology, but man himself. Experience through the ages has shown he is incapable of living up to his own standards and ideals let alone those of his Creator’s.
Such is the experience of those who have contributed to this handbook. In examining some of the emerging technologies which are impacting on mankind, they discuss the moral issues which confront us. In so doing, they have sought to suggest answers to these, based not on their own human wisdom but on God’s as authoritatively revealed through the Scriptures. Only by this process do I believe Society will have the opportunity of deriving lasting benefit from science and technology.
My own Council, which governs the Science Research Council, is composed of eminent men of various persuasions. Only recently the Chairman of the Nuclear Physics Board on Council left to be ordained into the Church of England. Our Senior Space Scientist is a committed Christian. There are agnostics and atheists too. All combine effectively to generate a policy for science which is vigorous and directed to the national interest and to the benefit of mankind. Those who are secure in their Christian belief find no difficulty in working at the frontiers of scientific discovery.
I therefore commend this handbook to Christians and non-Christians, to scientists and laymen, in fact to all who have an interest in the future.
Sir Geoffrey Allen, FRS
Chairman Science Research Council