Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The week of Darwin's Anniversary

This being the week for Darwin's anniversaries, the 200th of his birth and the 150th of the publication of On the Origin of Species, I thought it appropriate to point out a book that I found interesting, even if it was not published.

Lorna Salzman has, on her web site, an electronic copy of her own book: Politics as if Evolution Mattered. In a day when everything is political, it makes an interesting read.
Rehabilitating Darwin is a large task and one best left to evolutionary biologists in the boxing arena with creationists. Rehabilitating an understanding of evolution as the other side of the ecology coin, however, has practical implications for environmental and social justice activists, who sorely need intellectual rather than ideological weapons to turn back against corporate greenwashers and biased media. Ecological principles underlie ecological relationships, and practically every environmental battle revolves around such relationships, their character, their value and the threats thereto.

Environmentalists who are accused of being merely obstructionists, fearmongers and radicals with hidden agendas can dispel such charges only when they understand and utilize the tools provided them by the scientifically impartial concepts of ecology and evolution. A battle, not to mention a movement, founded on objective reality, on “real life” as it were, is not so easily lost as one founded only on abstract or subjective credos.

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