some freedom to act, most local communitiesncould move quite effectivelynagainst AIDS. Those few cities notnstrong enough to overrule the homosexualnlobby could be turned intonenormous public cemeteries, memorialsnto perversion as an alternativendeath-style.nTalk to Menby Frederick ButzennThe Silicon Society by David Lyon,nGrand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans;n$14.95.nThe last 20 years have seen the proliferationnof a machine that stores, organizes,nand retrieves information: thencomputer. It can perform repetitiventasks without error or fatigue, analyzenproblems too complex for the humannbrain, and collate great quantities ofninformation. The power of the computer,nhowever, has its drawbacksn—among other things, it allows governmentsnto monitor in detail the activitiesnof citizens, and it takes employmentnfrom those who cannot performnother kinds of work.nOurs are the times of a romancenwith the computer. Computers arencontinually described as being “powerful,”n”fast,” and “smart”; they “work”nfor us; they are “friendly” and cann”help” us. We sophisticates of then1980’s no longer anthropomorphizenthe things of nature; instead, we humanizenour machines. As a result,ncomputers are accepted uncritically;nmany consider them an unalloyednFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715n36 / CHRONICLESnILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753ngood, or at least the “wave of thenfuture.” The tremendous amounts ofnmoney involved only strengthen thisnattitude.nIn The Silicon Society, David Lyonnexamines the computer and its effectsnon us from a Christian perspective.nDr. Lyon is senior lecturer in socialnanalysis at Bradford and Ilkey College,nEngland, and his book is based on then1985 London Lectures in ContemporarynChristianity. Despite my wish tonrecommend this book, however. ThenSilicon Society is a disappointment. Itnis superficial, for Dr. Lyon simplyndoesn’t know very much about thensubject on which he is writing. Thentext is anecdotal and has a number ofn[fCfCCCCifnfactual errors, while the bibliographynmerely reiterates the usual E.F. Schumacher,nAlvin TofBer, et al. ThroughoutnThe Silicon Society the authorntantalizes us with intriguing but undevelopedntopics. For example, Dr. Lyonnat one point comments that “no Christiannteaching demands we rule out innadvance the possibility that humansncould create thinking machines,” annassertion worthy of a book by itselfnDr. Lyon, however, makes twonpoints worth emphasizing: First, nondiscipline can generate the principlesnto judge itself; second, a Christiannmust consider how the tenets of Christianitynapply to the discipline in question.nA Christian is obliged to use it inna way that does not gratuitously harmnhis fellow men. The assertion of scientism,nthat technology will somehownrescue us from the problems created bynitself, is unsubstantiated. Our use ofnthe devices must be principled andnthought through.nComputer worshipers claim that wenstand on the verge of an Age of Information.nIn my experience, however,nthe future promises to be the Age ofnMisinformation—nothing rivals thencomputer in churning out masses ofnnnstatistically analyzed, thoroughly collated,nbeautifully printed nonsense.nThe sheer quantity of informationnthreatens to be overwhelming: thenHarvard five-foot shelf of the futurenmay hold not a few printed classics,nbut the entire Library of Congress onncompact disks. As never before, wenneed skills of the mind, what DorothynSayers called “the lost tools of learning.”nMore than the myriad governmentalnprograms that Dr. Lyon advocates,nmore than the technical trainingnthat the computer lovers advocate, anneducation emphasizing reading, writing,nreasoning, and religion wouldnbest equip our young people for thenuse of the computer.nFrederick Butzen is a technical writernfor a publisher of computer languagesnand operating systems.nA Strange Careernby Buddy MatthewsnThinking Back by C. Vann Woodward,nBaton Rouge: Louisiana StatenUniversity Press; $12.95.nC. Vann Woodward, Steriing Professornof History Emeritus at Yale Universitynand a contributing editor to ThenNew Republic, is the leading liberalnhistorian of the South. For three decadesnhis encyclopedic knowledge andndetailed historical investigations havenproduced works that have set the patternnfor subsequent historians.nWoodward accepts the title “liberal,”nif somewhat reluctantiy:nIn the years of struggle overnrace relations, starting longnbefore the Civil RightsnMovement got underway andncontinuing through its course,nthe term liberal was all butnunavoidable for someone withnmy views. Admitting a widenspan of differences among thosenwho wore it, the identificationnwas clear enough for the issuenat hand and could be wornnwith honor. I am not about tondisavow it in thatnconnection. . . . Worn by anSoutherner, however, thenidentification drew one inton