Thank you, BP, for deconstructing my faith in technology

Technology trying to save technology. (Photo credit: Reuters) The recent capping of the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico aside, now the Coast Guard says the clean up will take years . And even with the cap, oil is still spilling into the Gulf

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Thank you, BP, for deconstructing my faith in technology

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2 Comments

  1. Josh Schroeder August 1, 2010
    Reply

    Rev. Scholl (and Dr. Arand by association), please see the Time Magazine website. The article to read is “The BP Spill: Has the Damage Been Exaggerated?” by Michael Grunwald / Port Fourchon, La. He exposes his leftist bias in the way he describes Rush Limbaugh, but it’s a worthwhile article nonetheless.

    Here’s the link: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2007202,00.html#ixzz0vKP2itGe

    Some excerpts:

    Yes, the spill killed birds — but so far, less than 1% of the number killed by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 21 years ago. Yes, we’ve heard horror stories about oiled dolphins — but so far, wildlife-response teams have collected only three visibly oiled carcasses of mammals…

    The scientists I spoke with cite four basic reasons the initial eco-fears seem overblown. First, the Deepwater oil, unlike the black glop from the Valdez, is unusually light and degradable, which is why the slick in the Gulf is dissolving surprisingly rapidly now that the gusher has been capped. Second, the Gulf of Mexico, unlike Alaska’s Prince William Sound, is very warm, which has helped bacteria break down the oil. Third, heavy flows of Mississippi River water have helped keep the oil away from the coast, where it can do much more damage. And finally, Mother Nature can be incredibly resilient. Van Heerden’s assessment team showed me around Casse-tete Island in Timbalier Bay, where new shoots of Spartina grasses were sprouting in oiled marshes and new leaves were growing on the first black mangroves I’ve ever seen that were actually black. “It comes back fast, doesn’t it?” van Heerden said…

    The shoreline teams have documented more than 600 miles of oiled beaches and marshes, but the beaches are fairly easy to clean, and the beleaguered marshes don’t seem to be suffering much additional damage. Oil has blackened the fringes of the marshes, but most of it stayed within a few feet of the edge; waves from a recent tropical storm did carry more oil a few meters inland, but very little of it infiltrated the wetland soils that determine the health of the marsh…

    “People always fear the worst in a spill, and this one was especially scary because we didn’t know when it would stop,” says Michel, an environmental consultant who has worked spills for NOAA for more than 30 years. “But the public always overestimates the danger — and this time, those of us in the spill business did too…”

    For the record, I, too, thought the gulf oil spill would bring about ecological destruction of epic proportions, but this simply is not the case. As time passes (I’m writing this about two months after this blog post was published) and evidence and facts emerge, it becomes clear that while damage has been done, our Lord’s creation is much more resilient than we gave credit.

    But events such as this should give us pause to reflect on the consequences of our actions and of our stewardship, and also to ask ourselves if we are putting too much faith in technology (and by extension, ourselves).

    I think the technological idolatry is worth further expounding. Now might not be a bad time to run with this theme as J.R.R. Tolkien addressed it in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even though The Return of the King’s theatrical release was seven years ago, the Hobbit will be released in two years. A work on “Tolkien and Technology” from a Lutheran perspective could do well as interest in all things Tolkien and LotR will surge as a result of the forthcoming film.

  2. Travis Scholl August 20, 2010
    Reply

    Thanks, Josh, for the link to the article. Now that the oil line appears to be stopped, time will indeed tell what the damage will be and what the clean up will cost. But I agree…God’s creation is more resilient than we give it credit. Thank God.

    I think you will be very interested in the new Summer issue of Concordia Journal that is just hitting the public. It is a theme issue on the environment/theology of creation, and Dr. Arand’s work in particular (he is the guest editor) touches on the issues you discuss. Swing by Sieck Hall and pick up a copy whenever you get a chance.

    Thanks too for the teaser about Tolkien. Definitely worth thinking about. Although with the studio/director problems they’ve been having, a release in two years may be optimistic!

    By the way, sorry it took me awhile to respond….

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