Field of Science

Attenborough on the importance of understanding evolution

In an interview in Nature, David Attenborough speaks of the benefit of understanding evolution and therefrom our place in nature.

(Note you'll need a subscription or make a payment to read the whole article. Or email me and I can send you a copy.)
Why is teaching evolution now more important that ever?
Because of the influence of the Bible's book of Genesis, which says the Lord God said 'go forth and multiply' to Adam and Eve and 'the natural world is there for you to dominate, you have dominion of the animals and plants of the world'. That basic notion - that the world is there for us, and if it doesn't serve our purposes it's dispensable - has produced the devastation of vast areas. We have assumed that we can build a house on it, dig it up, put tarmac over it; that's OK because it's there for us. In finding solutions to our ecological problems we have to understand evolutionary processes.
I couldn't agree more.

If you don't understand your place in nature - as one tiny part of it that constantly interacts with everything else - and think that all this was made for you, then you aren't quite predisposed to taking care of the place in the best way, are you? On top of that, if you believe that armageddon, the rapture, the second coming, or just the end of the world is nigh, then what difference does it make whether we nuke or pollute or exploit the whole thing with abandon?

Yes, I know not all Christians think like this, but a sizable, and electable, part of the population does. They are the problem.

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