Re: evolution and stewardship

Date: Fri Jan 14 2000 - 18:22:12 EST

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    Wesley writes:

    >Theological approaches to the problem of mass extinction do
    >not uniformly lead to protective impulses; much political
    >action is undertaken by those whose theology condones or
    >encourages exploitative use of the environment. "Wise Use"
    >advocates pose a counter to the Unknown Student's simplistic
    >alternative, as those people advance a "use it up" approach
    >based upon belief in mankind as "crown of creation". Of
    >course, conservation is not entirely divorced from issues of
    >self-interest. Widespread ecological disruption is unlikely
    >to be of long-term benefit to our own species. The innate
    >desire to see our children put safely into an environment
    >conducive to a good quality of life would seem entirely
    >sufficient to explain concern over conservation issues,
    >without reference to either sort of theology that Unknown
    >Student ascribes as motivational above.

    I find this line of reasoning to be totally unconvincing.
    Humans can be said to have many innate desires where
    caring for the environment of their children is only one.
    In fact, the "use it up" approach looks to me to be just as
    much the expression of human innate desires. So how
    do we choose among these conflicting innate desires?
    What about the many people who have no children or
    grandchildren? Are we talking about the children of
    people in developed nations or the children of
    undeveloped nations (whose quality of life may indeed be
    increased by chopping down some forests)? Do
    all conservation issues really translate as concrete
    benefits for our children 20-50 years from now?
    What can Wesley possibly do or not do that would
    have a tangible effect on the my children's quality of
    life 20 years from now? If we elicit "widespread ecological
    disruption," might not human ingenuity devise ways to
    deal with this that ultimately lead to a better quality of
    life for the human species than that which is provided
    by our environment? Since conservation issues ultimately
    impinge on human freedom, where do we draw the line?
    What does quality of life mean if it is purchased by
    a continual erosion of human freedom and autonomy?
    Just some questions that immediately come to mind.


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