By any reasonable measure of achievement, the faith of the Enlightenment thinkers in science was justified.
There doesn't seem to be any other way of creating the next green revolution without GMOs.
It's obvious that the key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life - for 8 billion or more people - without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt.
If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months.
In many environments, take away the ants and there would be partial collapses in many of the land ecosystems.
We don't need to clear the 4 to 6 percent of the Earth's surface remaining in tropical rain forests, with most of the animal and plant species living there.
The biological evolutionary perception of life and of human qualities is radically different from that of traditional religion, whether it's Southern Baptist or Islam or any religion that believes in a supernatural supervalance over humanity.
Competing is intense among humans, and within a group, selfish individuals always win. But in contests between groups, groups of altruists always beat groups of selfish individuals.
So in my freshman year at the University of Alabama, learning the literature on evolution, what was known about it biologically, just gradually transformed me by taking me out of literalism and increasingly into a more secular, scientific view of the world.
The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.
We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.
It's always been a great survival value for people to believe they belong to a superior tribe. That's just in human relationships.
Companies that are willing to share, to withhold in order to further the growth of the company, willing to try to get a better atmosphere through a demonstration of democratic principles, fairness and cooperation, a better product, those will win in the end.
Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans.
Of course, there is no reconciliation between the theory of evolution by natural selection and the traditional religious view of the origin of the human mind.
The work on ants has profoundly affected the way I think about humans.
The two major challenges for the 21st century are to improve the economic situation of the majority and save as much of the planet as we can.
You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.
Ants are the leading removers of dead creatures on the land. And the rest of life is substantially dependent upon them.
An individual ant, even though it has a brain about a millionth of a size of a human being's, can learn a maze; the kind we use is a simple rat maze in a laboratory. They can learn it about one-half as fast as a rat.
Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.
The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology.
To the extent that philosophical positions both confuse us and close doors to further inquiry, they are likely to be wrong.
Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it is wrong.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.
I was a senior in high school when I decided I wanted to work on ants as a career. I just fell in love with them, and have never regretted it.
For me, the peculiar qualities of faith are a logical outcome of this level of biological organization.
Every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals.
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
The essence of humanity's spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another. Is there a way to erase the dilemma, to resolve the contradictions between the transcendentalist and the empiricist world views?
One thing I did was grow up as an ardent naturalist. I never grew out of my bug period.
If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.
When you get into the whole field of exploring, probably 90 percent of the kinds of organisms, plants, animals and especially microorganisms and tiny invertebrate animals are unknown. Then you realize that we live on a relatively unexplored plan.
Secular humanists can sit around and talk about their love of humanity, but it doesn't stack up against a two-millennium-old funeral high mass.
Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?
Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it's a map with constant immediate sensory input.
Change will come slowly, across generations, because old beliefs die hard even when demonstrably false.
We have decommissioned natural selection and must now look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
People need a sacred narrative. They must have a sense of larger purpose, in one form or another, however intellectualized. They will find a way to keep ancestral spirits alive.
Even as empiricism is winning the mind, transcendentalism continues to win the heart.
Perhaps the time has come to cease calling it the 'environmentalist' view, as though it were a lobbying effort outside the mainstream of human activity, and to start calling it the real-world view.
All three of the Abrahamic religions were born and nurtured in arid, disturbed environments.
I'm very much a Christian in ideals and ethics, especially in terms of belief in fairness, a deep set obligation to others, and the virtues of charity, tolerance and generosity that we associate with traditional Christian teaching.
The education of women is the best way to save the environment.
The human juggernaut is permanently eroding Earth's ancient biosphere.