Nature Reaction

Chapter 1

  1. The description of the traditional view of nature (pg.3 ) is a very accurate depiction of how most people (including us!) instinctively define nature.
  2. Discussion of nature as a “dictate” (pgs 5-6); use of “natural” as justification for the “natural way”.
  3. Natural foods (pg 9) – reminds me of the often-ridiculous organic food movement, calling food that has been selectively bred for hundreds of years natural.
  4. “topophilia” (pg 14) – relation to our discussion of favorite landscapes
  5. “nimbyism” (pg 17) – so many environmental news stories focus on NIMBY issues; solving a NIMBY issue doesn’t solve problem.

Chapter 2

  1. opening – nature as internal quality (pg 23)
  2. lead poisoning in Rome (pg 25) – can it really all be attributed to lead? isn’t there more to the history?
  3. story of digging the isthmus (pg 30) – views have changed a lot.
  4. Roman animal cruelty – pg 37 – animals and gladiators on same ‘moral level’?
  5. pg 39, last paragraph – misguided view that ancient people revered and respected nature as opposed to us; capability to manipulate?

Chapter 3

  1. Lack of understanding of what Europe looked like in Middle Ages – pg 41 – Never knew that! Good point though about the preoccupation with theology and philosophy.
  2. “Virgin land” – pg 43 – going back to our discussion of environmental manipulation in Americas before Europeans.
  3. Climatic conditions vs. population (pg 45) – seems very relevant now…
  4. ‘Green’ spin on theology – (pg 50) – stewardship; using “gift” of intelligence to help nature vs. just not doing harm, earth will be fine.
  5. iron plough – pg 62 – ability to do harm encourages doing harm?

Chapter 4

  1. Page 71 – Newton, et al, as evil; clockwork of nature as somehow a bad view; hello?? mathematics???? anyone?!?!?!
  2. Page 72 – what is nature versus what can we do with nature? basic vs. applied science
  3. page 77 – discussion of quantum mechanics. This passage really bothers me. Capra talks as if Newton chose one philosophy over another to decide what theory he wanted… patently false. Newton’s laws are derived from the inherent qualities of curves in Euclidean geometric space. The new view of quantum mechanics does not come from a philosophical desire to have nature be interconnected but from hard facts observed in experiments; its relation to ideas of Eastern mysticism is coincidence. Furthermore, he (Capra) makes misleading statements like “there are no objects”. This is New Age pseudoscience. Math is math, and facts are facts.
  4. The passage on page 76 about animals being automata – predictability, clockwork, chaos; there is so much more to this topic.
  5. divine right over nature – pg 79-80 – just invoke the God clause.

Chapter 5

  1. Opening paragraph (pg 82) – very funny; reminds me of that clause in insurance/warranties “not responsible for acts of God, tornadoes, etc.” How many companies invoke image of nature? All? Ex: The North Face, Patagonia, etc etc.
  2. Sexist portrayal of New World, virgin land (pg 85)
  3. Discussion of Native Americans as pioneer ecologists (pg 88).
  4. Attempts to restore past environments (pg 93) – Jurassic Park, anyone? Also, great movie. Very relevant to this class – predictability of nature, man tampering with nature, “nature finds a way”; so many good themes!
  5. Aldus Huxley  (pg 98) – offers insight into his writings.

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