Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bullshit or Not: John Muir Edition

Been a while since we've done this, but on the eve of Earth Day and John Muir's birthday, it seems appropriate to play with a quotation from him:

Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit - the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge. From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made Homo sapiens. From the same material he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earth-born companions and our fellow mortals.... This star, our own good earth, made many a successful journey around the heavens ere man was made, and whole kingdoms of creatures enjoyed existence and returned to dust ere man appeared to claim them. After human beings have also played their part in Creation's plan, they too may disappear without any general burning or extraordinary commotion whatever.
Are humans just another species of equivalent moral value to the smallest transmicroscopic creature, or is there sopmething special about us? Human exceptionalism, bullshit or not?

As usual, feel free to leave anything in the comments from a single word to a dissertation.