Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

May 14, 2008

Richard Dawkins: What is Natural?

Filed under: culture, environment, politics, science — Tags: — codesmithy @ 7:53 am

(h/t Richard Dawkins)

Richard Dawkins gave a talk at the “New Scientist & Greenpeace Science debates” where he examines what is “natural.”  In it, he explains the “natural” thing for the human species to do is wreck the planet.  It is “natural” for us, as one species in nature, to maximize our short-term prospects, to be greedy.  This selfishness combined with our unprecedented success now puts us at odds with some of the ecosystems on which we depend.  These ecosystems are straining under the pressure we have inflicted either intentionally or unintentionally in pursuit of our immediate needs.

Dawkins believes the human species is uniquely poised to meet this challenge between short-term greed and continuing prosperity.  The giant brain which has been such a boon to our immediate success as a species can be applied to issues surrounding our long-term survival.  As Dawkins states, this is anything but a natural prospect.  In fact, it means setting aside short-term impulses in exchange for long-term goals.  Dawkins believes we have the capacity for such action and I agree.  The only question is if we have the collective will to carry it out.  The simple answer is: we’d better, but reality will be the ultimate judge.


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