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May 07, 2010

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Dave*

Although many fervently affirm that homo sapiens is just another animal, few seem to be able to allow that then there is no difference between our actions and those of a beaver, or a bee, or a coral. Indeed, some of the most fervently environmental people draw the firmest line between our species (bad) and all other species (good).

To me, it comes down to a phrase: who mourns the trilobite? Do we denounce the Permian mass extinction and vow "Never again!" Of course not. It's accepted as part of natural history. But somehow it's a tragedy when we do it. We consider ourselves essentially different from a supervolcano or a giant asteroid. We are fey.

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  • Diane A. Kelly
    Diane Kelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies the neural wiring and mechanical engineering of reproductive systems.
  • James L. Cambias
    Jim Cambias writes science fiction and designs games in the lonely wilderness of Western Massachusetts.

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