Friday, January 25, 2008

Ishmael: Threat or Challenge?

The following is an email I sent this afternoon to my Global Issues students concerning their reactions to Daniel Quinn's book Ishmael. I am sharing this email here because I think it relates to sustainable beekeeping.

I felt alot of defensiveness in class today. To stem this off, I would ask you to look at Ishmael, not as a threat, but as a challenge. Use the "flying machine" story as an example. When human beings "discovered" the laws of gravity and aerodynamics they didn't say, "Oh, I won't believe it because I want to fly" nor "Those laws don't apply to us human beings." To do that, would've meant the continued crashing of air-machines by their inventors. Instead, what was said was, "Given these laws, how can we produce a flying machine?" Now apply that to what Ishmael says about the world hunger problem! If what Ishmael says about the relationship between population and food supply is true (and the evidence seems to indicate it is), how can we create a long-term sustainable solution to world hunger? (This is not a question social darwinists ask!) Ignoring the relationship between population and food supply will only produce an eventual crash, sooner or later. Saying the law doesn't apply to humans will only lead to this crash.

Remember, learning can sometimes be uncomfortable, since it demands examining and possibly breaking those secure comfortable cognitive boxes we place reality into (including God). Also, you don't have to believe Ishmael but you do have to understand his argument accurately without 'knee-jerk" dismissals.

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