Friday, April 15, 2011

"Frail, Delicate Little Mother Nature?!" (or, getting a grip)

If you follow another one of my blogs, you may recognize the title of this post. I used it before. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (December 20, 2009))

Before getting into why I'm not particularly worried about the 'delicate' balance of nature, a clarification: I'm a practicing Catholic, not a pagan.

Although I use the term 'Mother Nature' now and then: I am well aware that there is no such person. I don't worship Thor and Odin, either, when it comes to that.

I'm also of the opinion that the Bible " not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto." ("Bible Is for Catholics," Office of Media Relations, USCCB)

Which means that I don't have to keep a death-grip on what American Bible-thumpers want to believe is true.

I'll put it this way: Bishop Ussher wasn't a member of Catholic holy orders; scientists like Copernicus and Mendel were. (November 24, 2009; October 26, 2009)1

Rats, Cockroaches, Pigeons, and Endangered Species

I don't doubt that some critters, like the panda and the koala, may be dying out. Creatures that require a particular climate, only eat certain things, and have trouble reproducing - - - well, they're interesting, and I think pandas and koalas are cute. But I think they'd be 'endangered' sooner or later, no matter what we do.

Do I think people should try to save endangered species? That's a qualified "yes."

I think people can decide to have a shot at keeping pandas, or narrow-leafed milkweed, or any other particular species, alive. Whether we should divert resources to 'save the milkweed' programs - that's the sort of thing I'll be writing about as Earth Day approaches.

What doesn't make sense to me is the notion that life on Earth should stay exactly the way it was in 1850. Or 1950. Or this year.

One thing that doesn't change in this world is - change. That's hardly a new idea:
"Nothing endures but change."
(Heraclitus, 540 BC - 480 BC) (from Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (October 29, 2009))
Critters that can deal with change - don't seem to die out all that quickly.

Think about it: have we ever seen rats, pigeons, or cockroaches on an 'endangered species' list?

And cockroaches - with relatively minor changes - have been around for a long, long, long time. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (May 24, 2009))

Which brings up an interesting point.

I noted, in 'Apathetic Lemming,' that cockroaches had been "nibbling their way through Earth's history" when the first triceratops hatched - and kept going long after the last dinosaur died.

I'm a practicing Catholic. That makes me a 'religious person.' And I talk about dinosaurs without ranting?!

That segues into:

Science, Religion, Environmental Awareness, and Crazy Ideas

I've run into folks who seem variously convinced that science is a Satanic plot; that religion is a psychiatric disorder; or that we're all gonna die from environmental pollution and Republicans in the Senate.

I don't doubt that folks with ideas like that are sincere. I do think that whether their beliefs and assumptions are accurate is debatable. "Dubious" might be a better way to put it.

But - and I think this is important - an idea can have crazy supporters and still be true. Just not, maybe, the way the fanatics say it is.

'Religious People are Crazy?'

I spent quite a few years on and near college campuses: a part of my life I've got mixed feelings about, and that's another topic. The point, for this post, is that I've been around a fair number of folks who have very 'intelligent' ideas about religion and the dumb-dumbs who are religious.

In a way, I can see their point.

I grew up in a part of the country with endemic anti-Catholicism: which indirectly led to my becoming a Catholic. And that's yet another topic.

Between radio preachers, 'Bible prophecies,' and book burnings, I can see why Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is supposed to have said this:
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
(attr. Gandhi) (from (December 10, 2010))
The struggle to conform my will to that of God: is yet again another topic.

I've written about odd (my opinion) approaches to Christian belief before, including these posts:
I can see how someone might get the impression that the colorful, noisy, and newsworthy representatives of Christianity in America - are 'normal' Christians.

There are quite a few folks who seem convinced that being religious and being rational are mutually exclusive conditions:
"Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people."
- Doris Egan (from (June 19, 2010))
I don't see it that way - but I'm a convert to Catholicism: and this is a faith that we're not supposed to take with our brains turned off.

'Science is a Satanic plot?'

I grew up as the notion that science and technology would answer all questions and solve all problems was fading. I don't believe it.

I don't believe that science and technology is gonna kill us all, either.

And I certainly don't believe that I have to stop thinking to be a Catholic. Quite the reverse.

And I've written about that. Fairly often, I see. Including these posts:Links to more posts:

There's More: There Always Seems to be More

More posts, my take on the Catholic Church, science, the Bible, and peculiarities of American culture:
1 Actually, whether or not Copernicus was a priest or not seems to be in debate. But since the King Sigismund of Poland put Copernicus on the list of four candidates for the vacant episcopal seat of Ermland (Catholic Encyclopedia), I'm willing to assume that Copernicus became a priest somewhere along the way.

And those are other topics.

1 comment:

Brigid said...

There seems to be plural agreement problems here: "Creatures that require a particular climate, only eats certain things, and has trouble reproducing"

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I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.