Archive for Malthus

Missed Anthropy

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Rob Wallace

A brilliant blue jay is springing up and down, up and down, / On a branch. / I laugh, as I see him abandon himself / To entire delight, for he knows as well as I do / That the branch will not break. –James Wright (1963)

A trailer for David Quammen’s new book, Spillover, detailing the pathogen blowback our environmental destruction has set off, elicited a number of like-minded comments,

Earth, healing itself.

The Tibetans say that Mother Earth will shake us off the way a dog shakes off his fleas.

I could say Earth isn’t a person (or a dog), but even a well-deserved allegorical warning needn’t be served with such resplendent misanthropy. We’d hope all parties–even pro-sustainability–would recognize we are–the planet–an integrated ecosystem. Indeed, even if our entire race of ‘fleas’ were wiped out tomorrow, by our impact Earth’s biospheric trajectory would still be altered forever.

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The Origin of Specious

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , on February 22, 2009 by Rob Wallace

marx-eng3In a quickie interview for Mount Holyoke’s house organ on the occasion of Charles Darwin’s two hundredth birthday and the hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, biologist Stan Rachootin characterized the roots of the academic left’s hostility to Darwin this way,

Marx realized the close connection between Darwin’s thinking and capitalism. Therefore, Darwin had to be wrong. Engels, who was willing to read and use science, tried to argue that Darwin had a great deal of evidence beyond some ideas shared with Malthus and Adam Smith. But he could not budge his master.

Rachootin botches Marx’s reaction to Darwin. Badly.

Marx and Engels—the former in no way the latter’s “master,” an ad hominem attack on Rachootin’s part—reacted to the publication of the Origin of Species with something approaching glee. While contrary to an oft-repeated myth Marx never dedicated Capital to Darwin, he did write of his great appreciation of what he called Darwin’s “epoch-making work” and “the basis in natural history for our view.”

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