Paradoxes About Intruding on "Nature"
Whether this is deliberate I don't know, but many movies made for children these days have strong moralistic messages that say: "We human beings are the scourge of the universe!" The very popular production of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park onto the big screen was no exception even though the late author ended his life very skeptical about, for example, global warming alarmism. Steven Spielberg was, of course, the right candidate for bringing the earlier morality tale to screen – wasn't his ET, for example, another case of finger wagging at ordinary people for being so heartless and cruel as to want to study the creature from outer space rather than, well, cuddle it with no questions asked?
In the middle of Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum's character, a mathematician, delivers the movie's moral message, just in case the action didn't manage to speak for itself: Any interference with the course of nature by human agency is mostly going to do harm to all concerned, so stop it, stupid! (How is it, by the way, that human nature isn't part of nature? Last I looked we were smack in the middle of it all, governed by the laws of nature to boot!) Thus, when a wealthy Scott sets up the awesome park near Costa Rica featuring cloned prehistoric dinosaurs, all hell breaks loose. Never mind that there is really no reason given why this should have occurred, other than the idiocy and recklessness of one employee who seems to have been allowed to control the entire park without the slightest supervision. The lesson that we should have been given is: Don't allow loose cannons into your operations; they will muck things up.
Why is the intended message paradoxical, despite how so many environmentalists mouth it regularly? Indeed, quite a few of them take part in efforts to save endangered species, ones that by the laws of nature, it would appear, are headed for extinction! For instance, Discovery Channel reported a while back, "A species of birds able to fly immediately after hatching from eggs buried beneath the tropical sand has just been given its own private beach in eastern Indonesia, a conservation group said.... Maleos – chicken-sized birds with black helmet-like foreheads – number from 5,000 to 10,000 in the wild and can only be found on Sulawesi Island. They rely on sun-baked sands or volcanically heated soil to incubate their eggs." Surely these kinds of reports render the anti-intrusion thesis very odd.
The main reason is that human beings are themselves, of course, part of nature and what they can and will do can itself be evaluated as either healthy or harmful. Just because human beings interfere with nature via, say, antibiotics or pain killers or transplant operations, that itself does not show what they do to be all good or all bad. Each interference must itself be considered as either helpful or harmful. Interference itself isn't the issue – after all, animals across the globe interfere with nature every time they devour one another, build a dam, pollinate or reproduce.
Consider a quite recent discovery near the Great Lakes that if a good number of a parasite that has been killing other sea life there is sterilized by human beings, by way of injecting it with certain chemicals, the parasite will eventually be eradicated and the rest of the life in the lakes will begin to flourish again. Or consider, simply, Novocain or artificial limbs. All these and similar cases testify to the point that human interference with nature is often enough benign and should be encouraged.
No doubt human behavior is different from that of other living things because we have the unique attribute of free will and can act rightly and wrongly, with no guarantee against small or large mistakes. (Oddly, a lot of scientists who worry about our interference in the wilds seem to think we do not have free will at all, which then renders the call for us to conduct ourselves differently from how we do nonsensical!) For us it takes more than mere instincts to conduct ourselves successfully. But that is itself something in nature, the environmentalists' suggestion to the contrary notwithstanding. The idea that human beings are some sort of fungus or oddity in nature – aired by Arthur Koestler in one of his books many moons ago – is wholly arbitrary and ignores the existence of enormous diversity throughout nature quite apart from us.
What I find of some concern is that so many adults keep trying to tell our children to distrust the only source of hope for the future, namely, sound human judgment. By preaching the doctrine of the innate evil of human nature as against the peaceful, benign nature of everything else, what is being encouraged is a persistent lack of self-confidence, a sense of hopelessness, an attitude that either we ourselves forgo a decent and exciting life or we pursue it at the expanse of nature's great harmony. This message is wrong and needs to be countered with some moderation about both the bad influence of human interference and the naiveté that nature is always kind and gentle.
Posted by cctyker on 04/19/12 09:33 PM
We, the people, are good caretakers; but the government is not. Get the government out of the environmental business. Let private enterprise be the caretaker of the environment.
The first thing that would happen is land would be bought up and citizens could pay to see natural life, which would be taken care of for longevity.
The second thing that would happen is farms would be created to supply items from poached animals, and animals would no longer be poached. The market would supply the wanted item.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We wrote an article about this.
Posted by John the Just on 04/19/12 09:03 PM
I'm going to assume that because you think that Dr. Michan is an idiot, and he disagrees with the statement, "We human beings are the scourge of the universe!" that you agree with that statement… unless you too are an idiot - which I'm sure you are not.
Let me resort to one of America's archetypal heroes to help settle this question: "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam," quoth Popeye. If Popeye is correct - and I would find his direct logic hard to argue against - I think we can expand that statement to the generality, 'We are what we are, and that's all that we are!' That about sums up whatever Human Nature might be. It is what it is!
What I want to know is by what measure can you arrive at the conclusion that whatever Human Nature is - it is bad, or wrong? You don't seem to subscribe to any of the major religions in their assumptions, so what is the source of your insight?
Just as Humans would seem to be stuck as a part of Nature - you are stuck as a Human. You are part of us Humans, and we Humans are part of Nature. I don't know by what measure Nature itself is right or wrong, but since it too would seem to be what it is, why not try to just relax into your part of it. I don't think we as a whole are a scourge, and by extension I doubt that individually you or Dr. Michan are (although you may well be). If you think that there are some things around and about you that need tweaking, by all means get to it! But do it with the knowledge that you are part of the Human Race, and you deserve to feel as good about yourself as a Beagle puppy feels about being a dog.
I don't know Dr. Michan personally, and I doubt that he spends much time boiling tigers, or supporting those who do. But if he does, it is probably just part of his Human Nature.
Posted by nervo on 04/19/12 02:05 PM
Once again "Dr" Tibor proves that you can hold a PHD and still be an idiot. Elephants are being slaughtered at an increasing rate - pushing them toward extinction. The last of the Tigers are being boiled into "Tiger Bone Wine" by the idiots in China. Millions of tons of dead "bycatch" are still being dumped back into the sea. Trawlers are still dragging nets across the seafloor and devastating ocean habitiat. The Japanese are driving the Bluefin Tune to extinction because the price will go up once they're gone. The are 2 million tons of unsalable frozen whale meat, but the the Icelanders, the Norwegians & the Japanese keep up the slaughter. The ocean fisheries are projected to collapse by 2048. Millions of young girls & women are sold into prostitution yearly - but congress refuses to fund laws already on the books to fight it here. The U.S. alone has been the agent of death for more than 12 million 3rd world people (of color) since relieving the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. 200 million are predicted to starve because of food speculation, but no one will pass regulation. The banks have stripped 25 trillion from the world economy - but NO ONE has gone to jail. ...
Nah - we're not "the scourge of the planet", we're "the crown of creation"! Just ask the christian, muslim & hindu fantasists who drive the world's politics... ... ... but then - I'm just one of those "obstructionists"...
Good luck with all that, Cubby
Posted by jdb on 04/19/12 12:23 PM
Anybody who believes we are good caretakers of our planet ... has their head up their butt... thankfully there are those who remind us from time to time
Posted by cubby on 04/19/12 12:03 PM
Nice article. You have said many things that need to be said. Perhaps it would be better though to refer to the "environmentalists" as obstructionists which is what they are, and those fishermen and hunters who respect the forests and waterways as the true environmentalists. Ditto for humans who utilize in respectful ways what Mother Nature has provided. We need to take many things back and one of them is our vocabulary and it's definition, which has been abused for quite some time. To see that Webster has found a place for LOL makes me cringe. Thank you for your rational voice.