Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics

Our Success as a Species Is Not Something to Regret

Wesley J. Smith


Who says humans aren’t exceptional? Scientists have renamed the current era "Anthropocene," e.g., the age of humans. From the AP story:

It’s an ugly word, one many people don’t understand, and it’s even hard to pronounce, [W. John Kress, acting undersecretary of science for the Smithsonian], admitted. (It’s AN’-thruh-poh-seen.) That’s why when he opened the Smithsonian’s symposium ["Living in the Anthropocene"], he said, "We are living in the Anthropocene," then quickly added, "the age of humans." "Never in its 4.6 billion-year-old history has the Earth been so affected by one species as it is being affected now by humans," Kress said.

[Australian National University scientist Will Steffen], one of the main leaders of the Anthropocene movement, said in an email that the age of humans is more than just climate change. It includes ozone loss, disruption of nitrogen and phosphorous cycles that are causing dead zones, changes in water, acidification of the ocean, endocrine disruptors, and deforestation.

The accuracy of global-warming hysteria aside, they talk as if our success as a species is a bad thing. Of course, without industrialization, we would still be mired in widespread destitution, have short, brutal lives, and would lack the prosperity necessary to pursue science.

And did you notice the hint of Earth religion among the Anthropocene pushers? We should clean up our messes, to be sure. And pursuing ever-increasing standards of environmental responsibility is the right thing to do.

But I am happy we have thrived as a species. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Image: Earth’s city lights/NASA.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.