Most of the people with whom I interact socially don't have a science background, and it's hard not to notice that the majority have a world-view rather at odds with mine. Up until now I have written this off as the gentle slide into grumpy old-manhood and tried to avoid thinking about it, but reading Lee Silver's feature on page 48 made me realize that it's more than that.

Silver focuses on the widespread concept of Mother Nature as a benevolent super-system that nurtures and shelters all life forms. He points out the dangerous mindset that secretly takes root from this seemingly harmless belief: If Mother Nature is always good - attaching "good" and "bad" notions to it at all is symptomatic of the problem - then human interference is bad. And more subtly and as misguided, anything "natural" must be good. What I come up against are the practical...

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