Neil Postman - Responses

2053 words 9 pages
Part I

On page 11, Postman quotes Niels Bohr as saying, "The opposite of a correct statement is an incorrect statement, but the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth." What does this statement mean? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
Opposition creates two points of view and provides a stronger meaning for both sides. A correct statement, “I like ice cream,” is opposed by the incorrect statement, “I don’t like ice cream.” If I only observe the correct statement, I have no reason to justify my liking of ice cream, but if I am challenged with the incorrect statement, I am forced to consider why I like ice cream—I like it because it’s cold, sweet, and creamy.
A profound truth, deep and unyielding, cannot be proven
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The Spaceship Earth god leads me to consider how my actions affect the planet. However, I would know very little about how those actions affect the well-being of the planet had I not known any of the scientific reasons for the current state of the planet.
Despite the flaws in the god of Science, I was able to find reason and purpose in a new god because of my orientation with the god of Science. I could still have adopted a new god without having a former god, but the point to make is that even if the god chosen to follow is flawed, it still serves to create an origin and give us a sense of direction for our future. Therefore, it is better to have a flawed god than to have no god at all.

Part III
Postman describes several false gods. Technology is one of them. Why does Postman believe that technology is a god? What is flawed about the technology god? Can the technology god still be a "god that serves"? Why or why not? Be sure to think about the difference between a "god that serves" and something that serves but is not a "god."

A god is a story that “tells of origins and envisions a future, a story that constructs ideals, prescribes rules of conduct, provides a source of authority, and above all, gives a sense of continuity and purpose.” (Postman, 1996, p. 5). Having spawned from the Science god, the story of our origins would be shared as “Probably an accident” (Postman, 1996, p. 9). Of our future, the god of Technology suggests that our