by Lita Cosner
A correspondent sent in a newspaper perspective by a Dr. H. Bruce Rinker entitled “An Unfortunate, Untimely Failure of Orthodoxy.”1 The basic argument of this article is that religion has fueled the anthropocentric view of nature which has led people to consume unsustainably, leading to the extinction of other species, and that it has failed to promote a good view of the environment. He argues that such “orthodoxy” must be abandoned in favor of belief systems that foster a healthier relationship with the environment.
Rinker criticizes humanity for using 32% of earth’s land-based productivity though we only represent 0.05% of the biomass. But isn’t his statement inconsistent with his evolutionary worldview? Such a worldview would make us the great winners in the “survival of the fittest” orthodoxy that underpins the evolutionary mechanism. In other words, the reason that humans claim such a disproportionate share of earth’s resources is because we are perfectly adapted and are at the top of the evolutionary tree or foodchain. He says that “we can never excuse the deliberate extinction of any species or ecosystem on Earth, no matter how diminutive or seemingly useless to human values”.
But this is precisely the opposite of what evolution should preach. In an evolutionary view, we’re all in competition, not only inter-species, but intra-species, in an endless struggle for genetic dominance. If our over-consumption causes the ice caps to melt and all the polar bears to die, then it should be good for us and so much the worse for them!
Really, Rinker’s article and my caricature of the other evolutionary viewpoint coincides well with G.K. Chesterton’s point about the Darwinist view of nature:….
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