The Creation (E. O. Wilson)

Why not start this blog with creation?: The Creation [LibraryThing / WorldCat] by Harvard scientist Edward O. Wilson, one of the founders of the modern biodiversity movement. I picked it up last September, when Wilson spoke at the University of Puget Sound, my alma mater. In his mid-70s, he’s still sharp as a tack and still wonderfully involved in doing real science, studying his beloved ants and varied ecosystems, and traveling to field work sites in South America and islands off southeast Asia. His talk was largely a synopsis of his book, which he wrote in the style of a letter to a fictious Baptist pastor.

From an unashamedly scientific perspective, Wilson builds up a case for common ground with the religious community. Both camps have an interest in preserving the “creation.” Scientists see the great interdependent diversity of life around the modern world under threat from pollution, over-development, and foolish destruction. Christians must surely be interested in taking care of the earth, too; it being the place God gave them, not to be squandered or recklessly destroyed.

It’s a short little book (or a long letter, depending how you look at it) and it wanders into topics or arguments that seem a bit off the subject from time to time. But it is an enjoyable light read by a genuine scientist, not simply a science writer. Wilson signed my new copy of The Creation (and also The Diversity of Life [LibraryThing / WorldCat], one of his earlier books that I already owned). I proudly added them to my autograph shelf, which already had books by a few scientists, science writers, historians, novelists, an actor, a clown, and a politician.

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