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The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth [Paperback]

E O Wilson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Oct 2007
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."

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The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth + Letters to a Young Scientist + The Social Conquest of Earth
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 Reprint edition (9 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393330486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393330489
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14.5 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 480,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"The wise and lovely work of a truly learned man." Matthew Scully, The New York Times Book Review "One of our greatest thinkers says we can only rescue the earth by starting with its smallest inhabitants... Read this book." Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times "Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all." Oliver Sacks"

About the Author

E.O. WILSON has written more than twenty books and has received more than one hundred awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Medal of Science.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One long appeal 3 Oct 2006
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
When Charles Darwin published "The Origin of Species" he declared it to be "one long argument". Today, less than 150 years later, Edward O. Wilson explains that the one species omitted [except for one sentence] from the "argument" is devastating the life of the planet. In one long appeal to a fictional Baptist pastor, Wilson describes what is clear to all but a few dedicated die-hards - life on this planet is in deep trouble. The die-hards are firmly identified in the opening passages; Christians in the US who regard themselves as "biblical literalists". Such folk expect the Apocalypse soon and saving the environment is of little concern.

Wilson clearly knows his potential audience and addresses it. He understands the opinions his readers hold and addresses them in language familiar to them. "Biology" he contends, "now leads in reconstructing the human self-image". That means that biology can explain what is happening to the life around us and how we are dealing with it. He carefully allows the potential for a deity to have a role, but it isn't one dealing with the current situation. Because it is humanity stripping the rainforests, causing the oceans to warm and destroying life in them, or filling the atmosphere with chemicals it cannot absorb, it is up to people to take the steps necessary to halt these degradations.

In showing his "pastor" the interconnectivity of all life, the author utilises clear, undemanding prose. Whether one believes a god plays a role in this network is immaterial. People and their actions are unweaving that network. Species extinction is forever, and whatever biology can explain, it hasn't had the time or opportunity to assess the impact of what is occurring. The job, he says, is clearly too vast, and the relationships are too intricate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An elegant appeal for understanding 2 Mar 2008
Written to a hypothetical Southern Baptist pastor, The Creation is effectively an open letter to American evangelicals. Locked in its defense of a literal view of the Genesis creation, the church has made science an enemy. The tragedy, says Wilson, is that there is plenty of common ground, and that a global crisis is being ignored while we squabble over matters of origin.

More than that though, this is a loosely themed book that lets one of the world's best biologists ramble about what he's most passionate about. He talks about ants, birds and plants, describing each species as "a masterpiece of biology". He laments the destructiveness of mankind, a species that is altering the climate, "all by our bipedal, wobbly-headed selves." He estimates that we may only know as little as one millionth of what biology will eventually know. He calls for better, more hands-on teaching of science. It's a little fragmented, but overall the book adds up to a celebration of biodiversity, of the infinite complexity and beauty of nature, something that we must be able to appreciate regardless of how we believe it came into existence.

As a Christian who shares many of Wilson's frustrations, it's great to see an attempt at a rapprochement between science and faith coming from the atheist side. I don't know if it'll work, but I hope we might have the humility to reciprocate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 5 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anything by E O Wilson is worth reading, particularly in areas of controversy such as creationism and the life of the planet.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Admirable, but addresses the wrong people 24 Nov 2006
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is an interesting book, as all of Wilson's books are interesting. I like the story about the fire ants that plagued the islands in the Caribbean some centuries ago and the paleoforensics employed to figure out what happened; in fact I like all of Wilson's stories about ants. Ants are fascinating, and ants will be here long after we are gone.

I also like the idea of trying to preserve as much biodiversity as possible. Save the rain forests, by all means. Save the tigers and the gorillas, the elephants and the snow leopard.

But it's not going to happen. Wilson is in prayerful mode. You can tell that by the very fact that he addresses this plea to a protestant clergyman as an author's conceit (partly in remembrance of his Baptist childhood). His tone, try as he might, will be taken by some as condescending, which it unavoidably is. Wilson is sensitive to the criticism he has gotten over the years, especially from those who think his sociobiology is a blueprint for a return to eugenics. So he is overly polite, overly indulgent with all the references to the Bible, to what he and the clergyman have in common. He is bending over backwards.

But it will never work. Biodiversity means little to the average clergyman. Saving the planet and its resources may mean a little more since even though evangelical Christians are certain that the rapture is coming, they are uncertain as to when. It could be tomorrow; it could be a few years away. So let's not dirty up the waters too much, let's not kill all the honeybees, let's scrub the coal smokestacks; in short let's not allow an environmental holocaust, at least not yet.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice pictures but a flawed manifesto 29 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The science in this book is solid and not difficult to appreciate. This book is however patronising, forcing the issue of evolution over creation, rather than necessarily stressing the importance of defending life on earth. By the end, this is more a sort of political manifesto with lots of unrealistic aspirations, a scientific wish list without an analysis of how these wishes may be fulfilled by broad appeal to the people capable of improving the situation.

Laudable as much of the message is, I found it stifling, over scientific, patronising and not giving non-human life forms the recognition they deserve. Perhaps an appeal to the sacred rather than "science" alone and emphasising compassion more would have enlivened the book and granted its message the importance it deserves.

At a time when biodiversity studies are in decline along with Natural History Museums and nature reserves ... I think a warmer manifesto is sorely needed and this book is only part of that.
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