Conserving Idealism

Why don’t these stories about endangered animals ever mention evolution?

At least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth, or 21 percent, are endangered species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said at the start of its World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. . . .

“Hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN’s Director General, said in prepared statement. “We must now set clear targets to reverse this trend. . . .”

Overall, the IUCN Red List now includes 44,838 species of all categories — mammals and other species — of which 38 percent are threatened with extinction.

Nearly a third of amphibians alone face extinction or have already become extinct, the IUCN said.

One in four mammals face extinction

Could it be that conservationists don’t believe in evolution? Or maybe they believe evolution occurred in the past, but they don’t think it should ever occur again? Both are unlikely.

Most likely, they are wedded to a human-centered, twentieth-century nihilism that demands the perfection of the natural world according to their own human ideals. In this framework, humans are big, fat, greedy, unnatural interlopers in the natural world, destroying the fragile beauty of the placid Eden that existed bloodlessly for billions of years before the first Caucasian European hunter-tourist blundered onto the scene.

Their ultimate objective is to use human engineering brilliance to restore Gaia to the unchanging Edenic state she rested in before being corrupted by human agriculture and industrialization. Sometimes they are even more myopic, seeking only to restore it to the condition it enjoyed before infestation by the improbably non-natural medieval and post-medieval European Christians.

I love cuddly large mammals and unspoiled natural beauty, but I recognize that my reaction to them is entirely emotional. The animal-extinction-phobic, zero-human-population-growth conservationists, however, claim fraternal ties to the evolutionary biologists by virtue of their common “naturalism” and hatred of Euro-American military-christo-industrialism.

They are all supposedly empirical, scientific philosophical materialists, philosophical naturalists, and unflinching anti-supernaturalists. Every one of their opinions is supposedly rooted in objective, verifiable reality, unadulterated by religious claptrap. No made-up skydaddies, no pinhead angels, no woo masters, no faith healers, no ghost whisperers, no bible-thumpers, no jeebus campers. Just the facts, ms.

Yet, when it comes to some of their favorite ideals, they just melt. No human sacrifice is too great to ensure the continued survival of every failed animal species, since it would be an atrocity if it disappeared forever from the earth like the other millions of fossilized animals. Progress marches on in an unstoppable increase of rationalism, except for the irrational belief in progress. Rational atheism displaces the artifices of Christian religious superstition, in order to make room for pantheism. No sacrifice of individual liberty is too great to ensure the establishment of the wonderful war-ending eternal security of a strictly enforced, loving global empire. It’s all about love, you know: love and peace and cute animals running free, free Bubble-Up and rainbow stew for all the uncorrupted noble savages.

But no superstitions. No, just cold, hard reality.

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