Intelligent design is the explanation of the story of creation which I believe is the most logical. The next step is to develop a deeper understanding of the detail and complexity of the universe, earth and human communities, and the evolutionary changes we have experienced. The precision of the entire creation story and the evolutionary development of the earth systems are almost beyond comprehension. If the sun was just a few miles closer to earth or further away, life as we know it, would not exist, but it does. We have discovered almost 10 million different species of plants and animals and science suggests we have only scratched the surface, with less than 20% discovered. Amazing, and we think we understand creation! Since the beginning of human-kind, we have been searching for an understanding of the life systems on our planet. For thousands of years, the only explanations that existed were found in our religious beliefs.
Modern times have resulted in advanced scientific knowledge which has provided considerable data, allowing for a deeper understanding of Earth systems and human development. Increased knowledge is a positive step forward but, has also resulted in undesirable changes for our society. Increased scientific information has challenged our satisfaction with our spiritual beliefs and caused an alienation from the world of nature. It has been suggested that alienation is the oldest and most universal human experience. Alienation has resulted in exacerbating the difficulty of discovering our personal identity and our place in the universe. Dr. Thomas Berry states,” until recently, few people have realized the extent to which human fulfillment depends on the integral functioning of the Earth in all the grandeur of its natural landscapes- forests, mountains, woodlands, rivers and lakes – and in the wonder of its wildlife, animals, insects, fish, and songbirds”. He goes on to point out, “Alienation, from the world of nature has led us to extravagant expectations concerning the benefits of our modern technologies”. We have been blinded by these expectations to point we do not see the destructive impact proposed solutions will have on our own life systems. We have become a commerce-dependent, consumer society that, in the long run, can not support the demands of our society.
With enlightenment of the complexity of creation comes the understanding of the significant role diversity plays in all life systems on our planet. We expect the entire universe to respond to our needs and become frustrated when we learn we lack the power to execute. After all, we are the superior species that is to dominate, manipulate and change the world. My studies have convinced me that the most important element in our natural world is diversity. Examination of all of the individual life systems, plant, animal and human, on our planet, function only as a result of diversity. Dr. Berry points out that due to the lack of human-Earth integration, we are killing many of the more elaborate life systems of the Earth. He continues to suggest that science has insisted on measuring the simple modes of explanation which has led to a material universe that came into being by purely random processes, and been unable to identify the human role in these processes. Forestry is an excellent example of our lack of understanding as we continue to see sustainability as “cut a tree-plant a tree”, in plantations that totally destroy diversity. Diversity is even a significant part of the problem we are experiencing with the devastating wildfires which are destroying life, property and forest cover. The vegetation on these areas will regenerate with massive areas of pioneer species, setting the stage for the next round of catastrophic fires. Management principles that work to establish individual forest communities and re-establish diverse vegetative plant cover indigenous to the area, is the only way to reduce the risk of catastrophic events in the future. A recent television news report talked about the need for more logging to reduce the risk of these large destructive fires. Logging is simply one of many tools available to the manager. It is the ability to read the land and develop proper management prescriptions that encourage natural regeneration and individual forest communities, that will reduce the risk. When will we appreciate the importance of Nature’s Way? When will we apply the principles of “Nature’s Way” and develop intensive management strategies to create healthy diverse forest communities as they were originally created?