May 26, 2009

Hey, deep ecologists: the planet is not your nature preserve! - An SD Classic

In the absence of a Creator a number of people have taken to worshipping the next best thing, creation itself. This phenomenon has been exemplified by the rise of Gainism and the Gaianists. Given the poor state of the environment today this sentiment has mutated into the kind of reverential desperatism and misanthropism that is now the all too familiar opium promoted by the deep ecologists. God may be dead, but religious sensibilities that showcase the unworthiness of man have been retained by these radical environmentalists, resulting in a worldview that perpetuates defeatism, shamefulness and self-loathing.

The deep ecologists and Gainists ascribe divine status to nature—a kind of neo-pantheism--and like their religious forbearers, have insisted on keeping humanity outside the gates of heaven. In their view, man is dirty, irreverent, and profane. His sheer presence is an affront to the divine processes of nature, the very cause of paradise lost; terms like ‘biodiversity’, ‘symbiogenesis’, ‘biosphere’, and ‘homeostasis’ have replaced the old religious canons.

The Earth, they would argue, would be better off without the meddling of humanity and their omnipresent disruptive technologies. The deep ecologists are on a self-prescribed mission to recover paradise and turn the Earth into a giant nature preserve where the only observers would be those creatures trapped in endless cycles of mindless selection and procreation. Birth, life, death, birth, life, death—the perpetuation of the Darwinian cycle as an end unto itself, a cycle with no other purpose than to satiate the aesthetic sensibilities of the nature worshippers.

But there is a cure to the new quasi-religious environmentalist fervor: humanism. And it doesn’t matter what kind of humanism, be it secular humanism, Christian humanism, Buddhist humanism, or transhumanism. Even better are those humanistic codes, like Buddhism and transhumanism, which are nonanthropocentric and demand the respect of all life. Humanist sensibilities work to ensure that it is the quality of life that is maintained rather than pseudoscientific and quasi-religious abstractions.

One can be an environmentalist and a humanist. The key is to make this planet habitable, sustainable and humane. It is this last crucial point that the Gainists and deep ecologists have failed to grasp, and in so doing, have come to represent a dangerous and misguided ideology.

This article was originally published on June 14, 2006.


Not Me said...

Dunno much about that movement, don't feel like using my very limited personal time on the net to do the research. I just wonder what those types would think of the idea of humanity leaving the planet for a spacebound life, rather than going stone age or extinct or whatever it is they expect the lot of us to do.

Anonymous said...

George, may I suggest that you create a section of your blog that contains all of your SD classics.

George said...

@Anonymous Interesting idea and I think I like it. Will consider.

djadvance said...

Great point on humanism, but you're giving Gaianism and deep ecology a misguided write-off.

Gaianism and deep ecology acknowledge humanity's important place in our ecosystem, and our potential to be a positive force. They support protecting the earth from destructive human meddling.

This is incredibly important. We must withdraw our negative influences like pollution, and postpone further large scale remodeling of nature until we have advanced understanding of its complexity. Eliminating suffering in the animal kingdom is a great goal which I'm glad you mention, but one which we have not yet begun to approach in ability.

It's dishonest to link protection of biodiversity to a religious protection of paradise. We're not removing bulldozers from the rainforest because we're not worthy of being there; we're doing so because the rainforest is useful to us, essential to the global ecosystem, and irreplaceable.

Let's work with the Gaianists and deep ecologists. In the end, they want the same things we do.

heresiarch said...

I agree with djadvance--your depiction of deep ecology is about as nuanced an analysis as "the Rapture for Nerds" is of transhumanism. Crazies embodying ancient religious ideas exist in our movement too, you know.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that transhumanism is NOT a kind of pseudo-religion?


ZarPaulus said...

Deep ecology seems intent on making people feel guilty about spoiling the environment, really similar to the concept of original sin. Singulatarianism draws disturbing parallels to cults like Heaven's Gate and Raelienism. In fact, Raelienism could pretty much be called a transhumanist religion. It's like Christianity has caused much of humanity to develop a dependency on religion.

David Golightly said...

This post would make its point much more effectively if it linked to something besides Wikipedia articles: for example, statements by authorities in deep ecology who present the viewpoint you wish to refute. Without those, we're in strawman territory.

David Golightly said...

Not that the wikipedia articles aren't informative - but it would be useful to know exactly who (in which statements, blogs, books, or publications) holds the viewpoint the article seeks to refute, because my understanding of deep ecology is quite different and not anti-human at all.

muzuzuzus said...

The Old Religion understood nature to be sacred.
The transhumanists or the ones who seek to put nature 'right'---speed up evolution are dangerous, and immoral, because they dont understand dynamic balance, nor how they are totally connected with big business who are only concerned with £$PROFIT£$. JUST that. It is written into their very system--profit!!! And so any morality goes out of the window and that is why right now the sea is going black. And the ones responsible are cluesless what to do---they hadn't planned for it, and they cannot bring the life back they have destroyed, and this MINDSET are doing this all over the planet, destroying the web of life. And their little thinky-stinky brains will lie and claim that they CAN put whatever damage they do right with MORE shit. Shit on shit on shit--toxix shit, not the recyclable.
This is like when the exapnding airports, etc etc totally destroy anceint woods with all their life systems and say 'dont worry we will plant another one somewhere else'.

You are crass, gross, stupid, and the dagerous thing is you dont know it and will carry on and on till every tree is gone or every tree is a clone, or whatever, but I dearly hope you dont. I hope you go very extinct--you will HAVE to if the natural world has a chance to BE intelligently like it did millions of years before you lot emerged from your thinky-stinky thunkers

djadvance said...

^What an angry little munchkin that one is.

muzuzuzus said...

not angry--though i CAN be--but direct. I will expose your bullshit whereever and whenever i can loud and clear