Humanity's Decision On Creation | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 6 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: February 5, 2007

Humanity's Decision On Creation

Department: Letters

Attention: academic, industry, government researchers

C&EN would like to hear about the processes that researchers in academia, industry, or government use to write a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. C&EN is interested in, among other things, the dynamics involved. For example, is one person responsible for writing the bulk of a paper? Is there an outline? Does writing involve a blog or wiki? Please contact Rachel Petkewich at or (202) 872-7861 by March 15 if you are interested in being interviewed. Replies will be considered for an upcoming article in the magazine.

In response to the editorial, "Humanity's Decision," excuse me if I am a little exasperated (C&EN, Oct. 30, 2006, page 3). After years of statements like the following from E. O. Wilson's "On Human Nature": "No species, ours included, possesses a purpose beyond the imperatives created by its genetic history ... they lack any immanent purpose or guidance from agents beyond their immediate environment or even an evolutionary goal toward which their molecular architecture automatically steers them."

And: "The species lacks any goal external to its own biological nature."

I am now lectured by Rudy Baum about the "universal value" of "saving the Creation," a value that is "in the interest of all humanity." And I am told that that we have "imperatives of ... freedom of choice, personal dignity, and a cause to believe in that is larger than ourselves." What? I was just told that we have no "purposes," no "universal values," no "causes." We have nothing but imperatives created by our genetic history.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for saving the Creation, but it's because I believe that the Creator gave us that directive, telling us that it is a universal responsibility. But if I had Wilson's conception of the nature of man, I would say: "Let the future generations adjust to a biologically impoverished world! I'll be dead and won't know or care."

Does Wilson believe that there are transcendental "rights" and "wrongs"? If so, let him admit it and recant his previous statements. If not, let him tell us the real reason he wants to "save the Creation." In the meantime, I would be skeptical about the alliance he proposes. As Richard Weaver, in his classic work, "Ideas Have Consequences," put it: "How can men who disagree about what the world is for agree about any of the minutiae of daily conduct?"

Randall Davy
Lynchburg, Va.

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