Connecting the Dots
Two articles in today's Science Times reinforce major Breakthrough themes - human have become the meaning of the earth and it is time to imagine eco-triumph through that most core human value, invention.
John Tierney provides a cogent discussion of basis for opposition to genetically modified crops and stem cell research. This discussion emphasizes how opposition is rooted in a quasi Judo-Christian conceptualization of nature which views human intrusion as a taboo.
"Many Europeans, as well as leftists in America have rejected the traditional Christian God and replaced it with a post-Christian goddess of Mother Nature and a modified Christian eschatology. It isn't a coherent belief system. It might or might not incorporate New Age thinking. But deep down, there's a view that humans shouldn't be tampering with the natural world."
The second piece by Andrew Pollack discusses how scientists are trying to genetically engineer trees to make them more efficient at producing ethanol and other sources of materials and energy. The fundamental concept is central to overcoming the ecological crisis - stop mining carbon sequestered in the earth for materials and energy and pursue technology that will address our needs through direct conversion of sunlight. The fact such technology is critical for creating the massive efficiency gains necessary for addressing climate change does not stop the Stop Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign from constructing a taboo:
"Trees are the oldest and largest living organisms on the planet and are and have always been of significant cultural importance to many peoples all over the world. Genetically engineered trees pose unpredictable and unnecessary threats to the environment, biodiversity and human health."
If you believe the greatest threat to the biosphere lies in the perpetration of technological systems that depends on mining coal and oil, then it is time to connect the dots - recognize the degree to which human intervention has already become the meaning of the earth and embrace invention as the key to eco-triumph.