Re: Learning the earth system LO3799

David Frampton (
Wed, 22 Nov 1995 16:22:21 -1000

Replying to LO3785 --

>I have always been bothered when I hear people say that human beings
>should not tamper with nature. Why? Human beings are a part of nature.
>We can't not tamper with nature. Nature tampers with itself and we are
>just part of that happening. I suppose the issue is the intelligence with
>which we participate in this and our awareness that it's going on..
>Whenever we think/act as if we are somehow separate from the nature that
>created us, we will inevitably create problems for ourselves--that is a
>false assumption. I like to say that "human nature is just the human form
>of nature."
>John Woods

I agree with John Woods, and I immediately recalled some words by Richard
Rorty I had recently come across: 'the notion of reality having a "nature"
to which it is our duty to correspond is simply one more variant of the
notion that the gods can be placated by chanting the right words' (in
'Objectivity, relativism, and truth'). 'Tampering with nature' and
'social engineering' seem to me to belong in the same basket. But using
these terms bypasses the point that human culture is a giant engineering
feat in which we have little choice but to participate. We simply need to
constantly seek ways of being better engineers.

David Frampton