Last night on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how we know the universe is immensely old, and even took a sharp poke at that nonsensical idea that the earth is only about 6,000 years old. I figured there’d be some indignant squawking on the internet this morning, but no…the creationists are all quiet about it. Why? Well, some of them might have been tuned into the Walking Dead finale, since zombies and their theology are so copacetic. But the real reason is that they’re too busy freaking out over Noah.
The Discovery Institute is really pissed off (wait, you’re saying, why should they care about a movie that plays fast and loose with the Bible? Aren’t they a secular organization? Yeah, right). Their angle is that the movie is anti-human, because that’s all environmentalism is about, hating people.
Bottom line: Noah pushes hard on the modern environmentalist meme that — as I reported in The War on Humans — we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists. But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Discovery Institute, but yes you in particular are cancers on the culture and the planet. And have you considered the likelihood that the very worst destroyers do so confident that what they are doing is right and good, and that our personal narcissism is not exactly the most reliable measure of our worth?
They are also quite happy that humans exterminated entire species of megafauna. They deserved it, don’t you know, and had to go to allow people to live.
Whatever our role in the demise of megafauna, we should not look back in shame.
Early humans’ successful fight for survival gave us the chance to thrive. I am not upset with them: I am grateful.
For a bunch of anti-evolutionists, they sure are happy to cite ‘survival of the fittest’ as a justification for slaughter. You know, it wasn’t always a fight for survival.
Roman emperors curried favor with the public by upstaging their predecessors in killing more animals and producing more spectacular displays of slaughter (Morris 1990). Emperor Titus inaugurated the Roman Coliseum by declaring 100 days of celebration, during which enormous numbers of animals were speared by gladiators. On the opening day, 5,000 animals were slaughtered, and over the next two days, 3,000 more were killed (Morris 1990). The caged animals were kept underground in dungeons where they were not fed, and on the day of the festival, they were hauled in their cages onto lifts that brought them into the center of the arena. As the crowd roared with excitement, drums were beaten, trumpets blown, and the terrified animals were set loose (Attenborough 1987). Sometimes the animals were goaded to attack one another, and at other times, men armed with spears and tridents pursued them around barriers made from shrubs in imitation of hunts in the wild (Attenborough 1987). One arena hunt resulted in the killing of 300 Ostriches and 200 Alpine Chamois (Morris 1990).
Lions, Tigers, bears, bulls, Leopards, Giraffes and deer died after being tormented, stabbed and gored (Morris 1990). Big cats that had been starved were released into the ring where a human slave or prisoner of war was lashed to a post; the animals clawed at the person before they themselves were speared and stabbed by gladiators (Attenborough 1987). In some of the larger slaughters, 500 Lions, more than 400 Leopards, or 100 bears would be killed in a single day (Morris 1990). Hippos, even rhinoceroses and crocodiles, were brought into these arenas, and sometimes gladiators employed bizarre methods of killing such as decapitating fleeing ostriches with crescent-shaped arrows (Morris 1990).
I grew up with farmers and ranchers, and I can tell you this, too: the slaughter continues. They tend to be ruthlessly intolerant of anything perceived as compromising their income. I’ve seen songbirds shot because “it was their farm, they can do what they want”.
And the big threat is habitat destruction — the prairies are almost all gone here in Minnesota, and the wetlands are being plowed over. It is not anti-human to want to preserve some natural beauty and protect biodiversity, because this is our planet and we should aspire to maintain it as something better than a giant sewage treatment plant for Homo sapiens. We are a lesser world for the absence of giant ground sloths and European lions and black rhinos — did we really have to kill them all so we could merely survive?