December 05, 2006

Orr against evil

David W. Orr writes in Conservation Biology:
All over the Earth a great turning in the evolution of humankind has begun. [...] Our capacities to learn, reason, and even empathize are growing quickly. We now know ourselves to be a part of a larger story of life in the universe and are beginning to understand what that will require of us. All over the Earth humans are engaged in a momentous conversation about the terms and conditions that must be met to sustain life [...]

Is the battle for decency won? No, but in time, I submit that it will be. [...]

The angels of our better nature are growing more powerful in human affairs. There is now a global movement to protect species, stabilize the climate, preserve habitats [...], to reign in our excesses, and reduce consumption.
The "angels of our better nature" are growing more powerful relative to that part of humankind that Orr calls destructive, capricious, violent, wantonly cruel, derelict stewards, unworthy of the appellation Homo sapiens, destroyers, killers, rapacious, sinful, fallen, deserving of death, inept at seeing patterns and systems and acting accordingly, vicious, having no foresight, and - hold your breath - not courteous. According to Orr, this battle is not between intellectual camps but between good and evil, between angels and sinners.

Those who argue that modern environmentalism is a religion have scored a point.

1 comment:

  1. Those who argue that modern environmentalism is a religion have scored a point.

    I find those who conflate the opinions of a few with everyone are trying to score debating points.

    Nonetheless, Orr disagrees with your implicit assertion in an earlier piece in the same journal:

    Lincoln’s use of religion is
    instructive both for its depth and for his restraint. He used biblical imagery and language frequently, but did not do so to castigate southerners or to inflate northerners’ pretensions. His
    use of religion was cautionary, aimed to heal, not divide. Lincoln oriented the struggle over slavery in a larger vision of an imperfect nation striving to fulfill God’s justice on Earth. The message for us is to ground the issue of sustainability in higher purposes resonant with what is best in the world’s great religions but owned by no one creed.
    [pg 267]

    Orr, DW 2006. Framing Sustainability. Cons. Biol. 20:2 pp. 265-268 DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00405.x

    BTW, the series that he is writing under is called 'Conservation in Context'.

    I find those who have to frame the opposite ideology in 'religion' or 'robed priests' to be short on points and resort to these tactics to have an argument.

    Jus' sayin'