Good stuff as always over at FirstThings. I was taken by this line: If knowledge is power and humans are one animal among many, then what will keep us from using this knowledge to lord our power over all other animals? Exactly. Contrary to popular myth, it is the Christian/biblical view of stewardship that offers the best protection of the environement.
...Animals, Genesis teaches, are a good part of a divinely sanctioned order, but we are not one of them. We can name them because we know that we have a destiny that transcends the animal world.
The current frenzy for naming has a different basis. Post-Darwinians can name the animals because we know that we are the same as them, not different. We share the same biological structure, and, more importantly, we share the same precarious existence on the environmentally troubled planet Earth.
Indeed, much of the hype for the Encyclopedia of Life concerns the claim that only by naming every species can we hope to preserve them from extinction. Yet there is no reason to think that this quest for absolute knowledge will lead to the protection of animals rather than their exploitation. Wilson is a champion of biodiversity and the love of nature for its own sake, yet even he admits that the Encyclopedia of Life will accelerate “the discovery of wild plant species adaptable for agriculture, new genes for the enhancement of crop productivity, and new class of pharmaceuticals.” If knowledge is power and humans are one animal among many, then what will keep us from using this knowledge to lord our power over all other animals?...(more)