561 CHRONICLESnproject human feelings and thoughtsnonto nature. Cynthia Moss has livednwith elephants since 1972, and hasnwritten the recently published ElephantnMemories: Thirteen Years in thenLife of an Elephant Family. Mossnoffers revealing insights like, “Elephantsnare experiencing joy,” and, elsewhere,nthe elephant “mostly dreamed,nperhaps of vast swards of sweet newngrass and clear, cool hill streams.” Shenbelieves that elephants may have intimationsnof mortality. Even the reviewernat Newsweek, her former employer,nconfesses that elephant mysteriesn”sometimes entice Moss into an anthropomorphicntwilight zone.”nMoss (isn’t that a great name for anconservationist?) is wholly sentimental.nTouchy-feely evolutionists like her deducenthusly: since humans are onlynanimals, animals easily attain humannstatus. Albert Schweitzer, the famednAlsatian theologian, musician, andnmedical missionary, developed a systemnof ethics called “reverence for life”nwhich required a profound respect fornthe lives of all other beings. One ofnSchweitzer’s co-workers observed thatnthe more reverence he had for “life,”nthe less he cherished people. Thentsetse fly buzzing into Schweitzer’snAfrican hospital and threatening thenlife of a recuperating patient has just asnmuch right to live as the human.nWhen we hear evolutionists talkingnabout morality, it is, shall we say, “anleap of science.” Does the impersonalnplus time plus chance evolve into rightnand wrong? Is swatting a tsetse fly ornclubbing a baby seal really murder?nEvolutionists cannot grin and nod innagreement with Ogden Nash: “Godnmade the fly and then forgot to tell usnwhy.” They must conclude: “Chancenmade the earth, so it has no inherentnworth.” If poachers slaughtered all thenremaining elephants for their ivory, thenserious evolutionist would be forced tonadmit, after his immediate emotionalnreaction, that under the rule of survivalnof the fittest his tears are irrational.nThe sentimental evolutionist, however,njustifies his mourning by preachingnabout the “chain of life.” If thenCalifornia condor dies out, he reasons,nthe ecological balance, you know, thenecosystems, will get screwed up. Wenwon’t survive if nature doesn’t survive.nThe condor is a part of nature, a part ofnthe whole, a part of us. We must save itnto save ourselves.nDoctor Doolittle is in need of anrefresher course in elementary evolution.nWe will survive without the condornbecause we can adapt. That’s thenevolutionary challenge. And whonneeds the condor anyway? Remembernthe Cambrian disasters? Some “500nmillion” years ago the trilobites disappearednfrom the sea and the worldndidn’t end in a whimper! Time callednthe Permian cataclysm of “248 million”nyears ago “the biggest of extinctions”;nup to 90 percent of all marinenlife died. Nobody knew they were evenngone until this century. The late-nCretaceous event of “65 million” yearsnago finished off the dinosaurs andnmany groups of species. The evolutionarynprocess includes incredible destructionnand waste, but, says hard-linernphysicist Richard MuUer from the Universitynof California at Berkeley, “innwiping the slate clean, these catastrophesnopened up ecological niches andnprevented stagnation.”nSome species can adapt, some can’t.nTough luck. That’s natural selection.nThe California condor is butt ugly,nfeeds on carrion, has a cue ball headnatop a Modigliani neck, and vomitsnwhenever it is mildly frightened. Thisnis one bird that is clearly a result of thenimpersonal plus time plus chance.nWhy get choked up about its demise?nWhy work for 61 and a half hours withna pair of tweezers to aid the babyncondor out of its shell, into an incubator,nand out of the endangered speciesncolumn? Its time is up. Better luck innthe next Big Bang! The universe isngoing to collapse on itself eventuallynanyway, and the sun will burn outnsooner or later. Have a nice day, that’snthe important thing. Nature knowsnwhat it is doing. Don’t be a busybody.nOne group of environmental meddlersnrecently received a sentimentalnovation from Life. The George MikschnSutton Avian Research Center nearnBartlesville, Oklahoma has been responsiblenfor hatching 99 Southernnbald eagles. “We’ll be running an eaglenfactory here,” says Director StevenSherrod. Cost: $500,000 a year. Thesenbenevolent birdbrains have devotedntheir lives to building up the numbersnof this waning species and for half anyear they perform the basic function ofneagle parents.n”People ask me why we are doingnnnthis,” says Sherrod. “It’s simple. Wenconsider eagles as works of art that cannnever be replaced. It’s like someonenslashing a Rembrandt. Once the birdsnare gone, they’re gone. Then it will bentoo late.”nThe Rembrandt analogy is the oldnwatch and watchmaker trap. Evolutionistsnneed to beware of design/ndesigner reasoning. Obviously thesensentimental conservationists have beennsubverted by creationists. Each Rembrandtnpainting, remember, was madenor “created” (if you must) by a painter,nfor a purpose, with pleasure, ex nilo, innthe likeness and image, to some extent,nof the painter. (In some of Rembrandt’snpaintings he even paintednhimself, incarnate, into the story.)nIf you are a hard-line evolutionist,nthe eagle was not made. It evolved outnof chemical reactions by chance. It hasnno raison d’etre, and no inherent beautynor purpose. If the golden eagle cannsoar for long periods searching for anprey and can spot a hare from andistance of 6,560 feet, it is not antimeless treasure or a work of art. It isnmerely an empirical fact. If the eaglenspecies perishes, this, too, is as plain anfact as the nose in the middle of yournface. We are, aren’t we? all brute factsnof no intrinsic aesthetic worth.nThe evolutionist who believes nature,nand man, is purposeful, moral,ninherently beautiful, and importantnwill find himself at odds with every jotnand tittle of evolutionary theory. Thenevolutionist who holds out for intrinsicnbeauty, truth, purpose, and compassion,neven though his theory has prescribednmoral relativity, blind chance,nand savage instincts, is like an atheistnwho, although he doesn’t believe in thenexistence of God, goes to church “religiously”nand does “Christian” thingsnbecause it makes him feel good. It maynlook nice, it may feel nice, but hisnbehavior is inconsistent. The poor fellownis unable to live as he believes, orncan’t truly believe as he lives. In thensame fashion, the compassionate ornsentimental evolutionist is nothingnmore than a scientific oxymoron.nSo why should an evolutionist savencondors, elephants, and eagles? Afternall, is he his brother’s zoo keeper?nMark D. Rentz teaches English atnArizona State University and hasnwritten for Newsweek.n