Name changes in Massonia

lou jost
Sun, 20 Jan 2013 10:48:51 PST
Dylan, I don't know what your beliefs are, so I can't criticize them. I was responding to your suggestion that we ought to restrict or reject the "reductionist, materialist" worldview because it makes conservation more difficult. We should not accept a worldview just because it makes our conservation work easier. We should accept the worldview that best agrees with our current evidence. Honesty is the best policy in conservation. And the best evidence we have today is that Darwinian evolution explains all the beautiful forms of life on this planet, including our own. Do you doubt that?

I also disagree with your claim that this view makes conservation harder (and I speak from experience, as I  have spent the last few decades conserving cloud forests in the third world). People can be made to understand the ecosystem services a cloud forest provides,based on science. They can learn to experience increased empathy with other forms of life, when they come to realize that other mammals are literally our cousins, not some distinct class of unthinking, unfeeling entities created just for our use. 

Non-materialist views of the world vary greatly in their degree of conservation-friendliness. Fundamentalist Christians are often the least friendly towards conservation, because many of them believe god made everything just to serve us. Many also believe apocalyptic myths about "end times", making conservation a silly goal. The US has even had a Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, who believed such things, and conservation during his term became a joke. On the other hand, much nature still survives in India, in spite of immense poverty and overpopulation, just because of Hindu respect for animal life  (and Jainist respect for all life).  Yet in either case, we should not reject or accept these worldviews because of their impact on conservation. We should evaluate them based on whether they are true or not. 

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