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The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

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by Edward O. Wilson

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The book that launched a movement: “Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all” (Oliver Sacks).

Called “one of the greatest men alive” by The Times of London, E. O. Wilson proposes an historic partnership between scientists and religious leaders to preserve Earth’s rapidly vanishing biodiversity.


The book that launched a movement: “Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all” (Oliver Sacks).

Called “one of the greatest men alive” by The Times of London, E. O. Wilson proposes an historic partnership between scientists and religious leaders to preserve Earth’s rapidly vanishing biodiversity.

Editorial Reviews

While others argue about science and religion, Edward O. Wilson affirms life. In this important work, the author of Diversity of Life offers an informed celebration of biodiversity that is deeply tinged with urgency. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner notes that the rich diversity of life on the planet (more than 1.5 million species) is threatened by damage that we do unthinkingly. Addressing a Southern Baptist minister, secular humanist Wilson encourages him and other fundamentalists to cherish -- and protect -- the Creation. A stirring evocation of a world we share.
Matthew Scully
The Creation is the wise and lovely work of a truly learned man, filled with a spirit that readers of every stripe will recognize as reverence.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
With his usual eloquence, patience and humor, Wilson, our modern-day Thoreau, adds his thoughts to the ongoing conversation between science and religion. Couched in the form of letters to a Southern Baptist pastor, the Pulitzer Prize-winning entomologist pleads for the salvation of biodiversity, arguing that both secular humanists like himself and believers in God acknowledge the glory of nature and can work together to save it. The "depth and complexity of living Nature still exceeds human imagination," he asserts (somewhere between 1.5 million and 1.8 million species of plants, animals and microorganisms have been discovered to date), and most of the world around us remains unknowable, as does God. Each species functions as a self-contained universe with its own evolutionary history, its own genetic structure and its own ecological role. Human life is tangled inextricably in this intricate and fragile web. Understanding these small universes, Wilson says, can foster human life. Wilson convincingly demonstrates that such rich diversity offers a compelling moral argument from biology for preserving the "Creation." Wilson passionately leads us by the hand into an amazing and abundantly diverse natural order, singing its wonders and its beauty and captivating our hearts and imaginations with nature's mysterious ways. 25 illus. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Written in the form of an open letter to a generic Southern Baptist minister, "a literalist interpreter of Christian Holy Scripture," Wilson's (Nature Revealed) latest book seeks a common ground from which both scientists and persons of faith can confront a common threat: the ravages to nature-especially the loss of biodiversity-caused by humanity. Although he concedes that religious readers will disagree with him on many points, this does not prevent Wilson from devoting most of his book to examining the scientific evidence (much of which is drawn from his own research) for species loss and the causes. Southern Baptist ministers would be better judges of how successfully he answers their concerns, so if this book is taken at face value, it is not for general readers and hence an optional purchase for environmental collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.] Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Celebrated conservationist par excellence Wilson (The Future of Life, 2002, etc.) sings familiar tunes in a short text that exhorts religionists to join in saving the planet. The author preaches to the choir here, but it's a fairly select choir prepared to hear evolution defended over creationism and to have Intelligent Design dismissed as non-science. Interestingly, Wilson's condemnation of all that modern society has wrought on the environment jibes with the Christian sentiments expressed in the old hymn: "Every prospect pleases but only man is vile." To be sure, some fundamentalist groups have raised concerns about global warming, so the biologist may not be off the mark in seeking new alliances, but the "Dear Pastor" approach seems more like a gimmick to trot out the latest figures on habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and overharvesting, all made worse by global warming. Wilson states a variety of principles in defense of conservation and biodiversity. These include his views on human nature and instincts and what he calls biophilia, an innate human affinity for the living world. Wilson sees biophilia manifested in the kind of place people prefer to live-at a height looking out at parkland and near a body of water. He sees this as nothing less than a species memory of the savannas where Homo sapiens emerged. Trying to mitigate all the dire data, Wilson goes on to describe what is being done and what can be done to counter the destruction. For example, the major global "hot spots" in need of immediate preservation have been defined by Conservation International, with projections made about the cost of saving them using current technologies. In the end, he concludes, scienceeducation may be more important-and as an added fillip for readers familiar with the conservation agenda, Wilson enumerates the pedagogic principles that have endeared him to many generations of Harvard students. A repackaging and updating, yes, but if it wins new adherents, why not?

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author

Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
After listening to E.O. Wilson¿s stirring lecture at Oklahoma State University, I found myself trying to assimilate gobs of information regarding conservation. During this search I read E.O. Wilson¿s most recent book The Creation. It would be right to say, this book struck a chord with me. Written in the form of a lengthy letter to a southern Baptist pastor, Wilson pleas for usually conflicting institutions of science and religion to collaborate in their efforts to save our planet. Wilson writes with elegant clarity and devoted passion to the subject of biodiversity conservation. He reveals accurate as well as disturbing details about the overall health of the planet we live on. In addition, Wilson gives advice to readers on how to protect, teach, and sustain biodiversity for the future. A great read, not your average non fiction bedtime reading material.