Taylor Andrea and Kim Hay
Do you ever sit and wonder how the Earth was formed, how we have evolved as humans or how one day, humans may no longer be around? All of us have learned about the evolution of species and Earth and many have strong viewpoints on how everything came about. On one side we have the deep rooted believers in God and his creation of the world while on the other side we have secular scientists who take a different stand point and believe the Big Bang Theory created Earth and that Earth eventually evolved into where we are today. Whatever you believe, you are taking a stance in how the Creation was formed and you have become part of a bitter rivalry that has been around for centuries between those of religious faith and those of science belief. Edward Wilson is a scientist who writes “Apocalypse Now” in the form of a letter as an attempt to bridge the gap of these two rivals and form an alliance for the common good of all people. Whether one believes this Earth was created by God or that it was just a lucky coincidence that we all ended up here in this world, one thing is for sure; the destruction of our planet will inevitably lead to our own demise and Wilson believes among our different viewpoints, this should be something that we all are concerned about.
Wilson wrote “Apocalypse Now” in the form of a letter to an imaginary Pastor with the intended audience of either those of religious following, secular belief or anyone that wants to prevent further destruction of the planet. The goal is to pick up the pieces of what has been broken to make a better world for us to live in. Wilson’s main focus is on nature and if the problems aren’t addressed now, nature and ultimately humans are near an untimely end. When writing to the Pastor he addresses him in a very humble, respectful, and almost informal tone, explaining the ever apparent differences in opinions and beliefs that both sides have, but he also shows similarities from which both sides stem upon. Wilson needs to persuade those of religious belief to set the differences aside and form a common ground in order to save nature. He chooses to write to the Pastor because he understands that the Pastor is a leader in his community and is well respected among his people. Wilson believes in order to save humanity the Pastor and his followers need to join forces with him and those of science belief. All in all, Wilson hopes as humans we could set these differences and uphold a common ground in order to preserve the planet that we share.
Wilson attempts to persuade his readers with his major claims, support points, and qualifiers throughout his letter addressed to the Pastor. His letter can be broken down to form one major claim, which is “Creation—living nature—is in deep trouble […] and if religion and science could be united […] the problem might soon be solved.” Throughout his entire letter he continues to iterate that nature can only be saved if religion and science unite “simply because religion and science are the two most powerful forces in the world today.” Wilson even acknowledges the fact that “environmental activists cannot succeed without [the Pastor and his followers] as allies.” This was a huge breakthrough in his letter showing that he was not trying to convince his readers what side to be on; but rather show his readers his main focus is in fact on nature. He also supports his claim by data stating that “the ongoing extinction rate is calculated […] to be about 100 times above [what it was before] humans appeared on earth, and is estimated to be 1,000 times greater in the next few decades.” This data helps readers come to realize that nature is in trouble and something needs to be done to save it before its too late. Wilson goes a step further and states that if the ongoing extinction rate continues to rise as estimated, “the cost to humanity– in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life– will be catastrophic.” Then Wilson explains that the long-term effect of everything is no longer just a danger to nature it’s a danger to our society as a whole and ultimately our very existence.
In Wilson’s writing he is not trying to panic his readers by saying our lives are in danger; but rather he is trying to inform them of the importance to unite on a common ground for the safety of our planet. Wilson claims in his writing that regardless of whether or not you’re deep rooted in your faith or just a person who wants the hard scientific facts, we are all people first. Even if everyone has different beliefs, those beliefs can be set aside because we are all inhabitants of this planet. His voice throughout his entire piece is very welcoming to his readers and he is trying to influence everyone to become allies in order to save something we all share, Earth. No matter what anyone believes in, there is one obvious truth; our world is crying out for help from all the destruction we have caused and we need to care enough about our own well being to answer that call.
Community seems to be the reoccurring theme throughout this piece; and it reminds me of the essay done by Ari LeVaux “A Different Education: Compost and Community, Not Literacy.” In both of these essays, it is apparent that a community is more than a group of people living and interacting with one another. Rather a community is a group of people working together for a greater good as a whole. Whether it is a group of illiterate kids coming together to grow food in and around their neighborhoods to replenish the agriculture of their disaster stricken homes, or two completely opposing communities, religion and science, uniting as one to preserve humanity on Earth – the only thing that matters is the well-being of all present in the community. Both of these pieces stress how uniting together as a community is the only way to achieve a common goal of saving the community (and humanity).
In “Apocalypse Now” Edward Wilson writes a letter to a Pastor in hopes of convincing those of religious faith to unite with those of science belief in order to save our environment. Wilson understands that there are some areas that those of religious faith and secular scientists will never agree upon, but he believes they should forget their stark differences and come together to save the home in which we all live, which is one thing we obviously all have in common no matter what any of us believe in. In fact, Wilson takes on this tough situation of discussing religion by illustrating his mutual respect for those of different faith and by realizing that his goal of saving our planet cannot be done without both science and religion coming together. Wilson opens the eyes of his readers by supplying data that demonstrates our planet is in danger and by backing up his claims, in hopes to save our planet from ultimate destruction.