Sunday, April 09, 2006

A "Devotional" from Edward O. Wilson

Periodically, my friend Shane posts quotes from various writers and thinkers as devotionals on his blog. In this spirit—by which I mean to say that I’m ripping off his idea—I present this “devotional” from the concluding paragraphs of Edward O. Wilson’s The Diversity of Life:

The evidence of swift environmental change calls for an ethic uncoupled from other systems of belief. Those committed by religion to believe that life was put on earth in one divine stroke will recognize that we are destroying the Creation, and those who perceive biodiversity to be the product of blind evolution will agree. Across the other great philosophical divide, it does not matter whether species have independent rights or, conversely, that moral reasoning is uniquely a human concern. Defenders of both premises seem destined to gravitate twoard the same position on conservation.

The stewardship of environment is a domain on the near side of metaphysics where all reflective persons can surely find common ground. For what, in the final analysis, is morality but the command of conscience seasoned by a rational examination of consequences? And what is a fundamental precept but one that serves all generations? An enduring environmental ethic will aim to preserve not only the health and freedom of our species, but access to the world in which the human spirt was born.

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