Anthropocentricism, Magic Thinking & the Damage Done

once upon a time there was a star in a corner of the universe, and a planet circling that star, and on it some clever creatures who invented knowledge; and then they died, and the star went out, and it was as though nothing had happened.[1]Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral sense.”

Nietzsche got it right. Our extinction is guaranteed, just as it has been and will be for all other creatures ever to inhabit Earth. We are not at the peak of a hierarchical Great Chain of Being that defines a cosmic moral order. We are not at the center of the universe. Rather, we exist on a purposeless great plain of being, sharing an insignificant planet with other animals that evolved just like us.

This is reality as it really is. And we are lucky to live in an era of science and reason that provides the facts and knowledge for us to arrive at this conclusion, to know that life is without purpose. We are lucky to be able to confidently dismiss conceits born of unsophisticated, magical, and wishful thinking. But we are unlucky—as are other animals–that there are still billions of people on this planet still embracing ancient egocentric delusions.

Ignorance Breeds Magic Thinking Breeds Ignorance

Attitudes toward nonhuman animals changed little as Western civilization entered the modern era. There were still neo-Cartesian Christian mechanists trying to reduce animals to unthinking machinery. It was a way to explain away the cruelties of nature and thus proclaim a merciful god. But it was against reason and common sense to try to prove that “the non-human races, unlike mankind, have no consciousness of suffering, even when they exhibit all the symptoms of pain and show a dread of its recurrence.”[2]Henry Salt, Animals’ Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress. Second Edition (London: G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., 1922), 97.

These neo-Cartesians and other cockeyed brethren were vehemently opposed to any concession to nonhuman animals. And to vary degrees, this was basically common to all stripes of Christians believing in biblical dominion. The majority accepted

that old anthropocentric superstition which pictures Man at the center of the universe, and separated from the inferior animals—mere playthings made for his august pleasure and amusement—by a deep intervening gulf. And it is probable enough that if any one of these unthinking savages … were reminded that he himself is in very truth an “animal,” he would resent such statement of an established fact as a slight on his religious convictions and on his personal self-respect.[3]Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 13.

Whether raising the status of other species or lowering human status to that of an animal, either way meant dragging humanity off its self-allotted pedestal. But there could be no adjusting the Chain of Being, as that would threatened religious self-identity and its accompanying sense of entitlement. Excusing themselves by scriptural interpretation, Christianity and other Abrahamic religions presided over a hierarchy of violence for centuries as supreme bullies. But their hierarchical schemes upturned common decency and stamped out compassion for nonhuman life.

Many of the anthropocentric excesses of religion are rejected in today’s secular world, thanks in large part to the acceptance of evolution. But some attitudes remain. The lies and self-serving myths of human exceptionalism—the self-serving notion that humans have a superior status above all creation—are still with us, and they are not restricted to believers. The problem is that after being justified by religion for millennia, these attitudes have become ingrained in many cultures. Human self-flattery is still a social norm almost everywhere today, resulting in animals being treated as if they are lobotomized commodities. Regardless of a more secular world, it is hard to dislodge that self-satisfied entitlement the vast majority of humans assume for themselves against nature and nonhuman animals.

In the Beginning

Mythologies and religious fables were ancient versions of science, and their speculative fantasies about metaphysical were not just driven by the needs of daily life, but also by the need to dispel primal fears. “The reason why mortals are so gripped by fear,” Lucretius (c. 99 – c. 54 BCE) writes in De Rerum Natura, “is that they see all sorts of things happening on Earth and in the sky with no discernible cause, and these they attribute to the will of a god.” It was clear to rationally minded ancient Greeks and Romans—even in a world rife with gods—that religions were questionable and born from incomprehension and fear.

And it has been clear to all but the ignorant since then. “Fear of things invisible,” Hobbes once wrote, “is the natural seed of that which everyone in himself calleth religion.” Religious ideas went from the imagining of a spirit being for good or ill—for example, rustling in trees beyond our view—to tens of thousands of years later explaining mysteries of the cosmos in the comical stories of creationism or other childish fables. Religious mythologies were and are projected realities—fictional overlays spread upon the real.

This was the pseudoscience of superstitious ancients keen on persuading fate in their favor. They had an egoistic belief that events happened because of what they did or because of their relationships with gods. They believed in communications between the real and the imaginary, the living and the spirit world. Blurred boundaries between the everyday and invented fable was normality to them. Once an imagined reality was established and accepted, it was elaborated and expanded upon with more layers of make believe.

The same pattern has been repeated over the centuries. All kinds of charlatans and genuinely charismatic individuals have pretended or experienced illusions, delusions, dreams, hallucinations, magic, for whatever reason—fraud, schizophrenia, temporal lobe epilepsy, megalomania—and excited imaginations and gained followers. Wiser observers were not so fooled. “Men think epilepsy divine,” said Hippocrates, “merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.”[4]Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (New York: Balantine Books, 1996), p. 8. Indeed, there is no end to them.

The tragedy is that, then as now, the utterances of lunatics or deluded religious fools were taken for wisdom. It only takes a few charismatic individuals, some history on their side, and the breadth of their influence over the ignorant masses can be astonishing. As Thomas Paine describes in The Age of Reason, regarding the alleged resurrection, “a small number of persons, not more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world are called upon to believe it.” All you need is some fool to say it and another fool to believe it. Enough fools and you have a religion. The wise, like Paine, who refuse to believe without evidence, have always been the few, while followers of delusion have always been the many. Such is the human ape.

At the core of fears that have given rise to superstitious nonsense we find the fear of death, along with its denial though beliefs in a purposeful existence and an afterlife. Because of these deep fears, people looked for simple, manufactured answers that gave life meaning. The cults supplying the most emotionally satisfying meaning invariably won out over all the rest. Supplying that meaning is the key.

Religions can put up with all kinds of particular scientific ideas so long as these ideas do not contradict the sense that the whole scheme of things is meaningful. Religions can survive the news that Earth is not the center of the universe, that humans are descended from simian ancestors and even that the universe is fifteen billion years old. What they cannot abide, however, is the conviction that the universe and life are pointless.[5]John Haught, Deeper than Darwin: The Prospect For Religion In The Age Of Evolution (Westview Press, 2003), 185-186.

The universe and nature do not care what you cannot abide. But religions such as Christianity have taken purposeful self-centeredness and arrogance to such an extreme as to say the entire universe exists just for humans.

The earliest magical fantasies entwined with earthly pursuits are seen in cave artifacts and paintings focused on the hunting of bovines, but these were followed by different cult behaviors with the emergence of agriculture and animal subjugation,[6]See Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture (New York: Plume, 1993), 16-33. leading to the biblical lie of dominion and a veritable war against nature and animals, including human animals. This is where the damage has come from. For all the benefits the delusion of an eternal life might bestow on the gullible, it has had horrendous repercussions for nonhuman animals.

Being at the center of the universe necessarily requires the perception of humans as separate from nature and other animals, which in turn reduces concern for nature and animals and dismiss them from moral concern. Seeing nonhuman animals as soulless and exempt from heavenly reward reinforced the artificial divide between humans and nonhumans. It was a divide critical to the central denial of death because any concession to animals weakens the grand god delusion:

human exceptionalism cannot countenance just any ethical view that protects humans, for it is not enough to include all humans within the moral community – one must simultaneously exclude all non-humans. And this is crucial: human exceptionalism is at least as much about whom we are determined to exclude from the moral community as about whom we wish to include within it.[7]Angus Taylor, “Review of Wesley J. Smith’s A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement,” Between the Species, Issue X (August, 2010), 228.

Religions are so fatal to nonhuman animals because everything believers do that might impact on animal welfare—all the steps they neglect to take, all the sympathy withheld—is guided by their beliefs in exceptionalism and the ancient fictions upon which it relies.

Not only do beliefs guide actions, but they guide inactions, too. As compass needles point north without instruction, so the religious go about their daily lives in a conspiracy of systematic behavior that dooms nonhuman animals. The false comforts of religion dilute appreciation of the present in favor of a life beyond the grave.

For many believers, the denial of reality in general absolves them from the weight of raised consciousness, awakeness, responsibility, and consequences. Religions turn life peoples’ lives into a sleepwalking fiction. “The mischief of this spurious religionism,” Henry Salt discovered

was that it lessened the chance of any genuine awakening of conscience to the facts that stared us in the face … the evidence of nature, of the human heart, and of actual life, was sedulously hidden away.[8]Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 48.

As a consequence, whole societies for centuries have ignored the exploitative injustices and the suffering of nonhuman animals. In more recent times, while the signs of ecological distress and decline cannot be ignored, religious factions still choose to deny them in favor of magical thinking and a fictional sky daddy with a providential plan.

The Curse of Anthropocentrism Upon Nature

Christianity, the most blameworthy in terms of Western civilization, with its biblical account of reality, has influenced a long history of sanctioned abuse, exploitation, and indifference to nonhuman animals. Right there, in the first chapter of Genesis, the ground rules were set, not by a deity, but by ancient scribes laying down the law as they saw fit. Here is that simple, unimpressive passages that has contributed to centuries of suffering:

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Genesis 1:28).

Here is the lie of god-given dominion. Subdue nature and use it however you will—that is what it says. A very special kind of arrogance went into this, an unparalleled conceit of such gargantuan proportions that has never been seen on the planet before and is unlikely ever to be seen again once the human species dies out.

So successful the flattery, so self-impressing the sentiments, no one thought to question it until the early stirrings of the Age of Reason. But religions have had a powerful role in ensuring human supremacist behaviors continue down to the present day. As Paul Waldau writes,

As carriers of views of the world around us, religious traditions are ancient educators. They profoundly affect the formation of cultural, ethical, social, ecological, intellectual, and political ideas. In this regard, religious traditions quite naturally have had a major role in transmitting views of nonhuman animals from generation to generation. This transmission role affects virtually everyone’s basic ideas about these beings’ natures, as well as their place in, or exclusion from, our communities of concern.[9]Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), p. 80.

From the Enlightenment onward animal issues were among the many points of disagreement between secular enlightened thinkers and the religious. But the Enlightenment did little to silence the broken record of religious thought from being replayed by future generations. Silly beliefs have across time influenced the calculus of decision making. Overlaying reality with lies, framing it in ritual, religion has justified an unimpeded exploitation of nature and animals.

So today, after all the debates, all the cultural and scientific advancements, what is the state of religious concern for animal welfare? The Christian standard, regardless of semantic frills, is still “might is right” and human interests of any kind trump animal interests. The cognitive and moral errors in this mentality are well acknowledged even by passionate and scholarly Christian apologists, such as Christian philosopher Robert N. Wennberg in Gods, Humans, and Animals.

It seems that the greater one’s religiosity, the greater one’s insensitivity to animals and to animal concerns, and the greater one’s ignorance.”[10]Robert N. Wennberg, Gods, Humans, and Animals: An Invitation to Enlarge Our Moral Universe (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), xii.

And this about his own team! Wennberg was certainly under no illusions, at least none on that count. But everyday Christians exercise none of Wennberg’s trained objectivity. Their general attitudes are often just shy of the lunatic fringe end of the Christian apologetics continuum.

If we consider mainstream religious sentiments what we find, as Paul Waldau, one-time Director of Tufts University’s Center for Animals and Public Policy, observes, is that the

influence of inherited conceptions causes many religious believers’ perspectives on nonhuman animals to be over-determined by something other than careful engagement with the animals themselves.”[11]Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79.

Forget the passages on compassion for animals in the Bible because they are irrelevant—look instead at history and you will see that believers thought them irrelevant, too. Look at how animals have been or are actually treated in reality, as that is “a critical element in assessing any religious tradition’s views of other animals.”[12]Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79. The cherry-picked and multifariously interpreted Bible or Quran is an unreliable guide beside a history of denying animals any credit, denying them their own place in the world independent of human self-centeredness, denying there is anything but a unbridgeable gulf between humans and nonhuman animals.

If there is anything more steadfast in the Christian or Islamic attitude it is keeping that gulf in place and rejecting any idea that animals have qualities close to a humans. Especially by modern theological philosophers, the human nonhuman-animal gulf is rigorously asserted for self-definition with elaborate labyrinthine windings of flawed logic. It is clear where the religious stand—their best is society’s minimum—and even the most secular societies have attitudes on exploitation that are rooted in a religious mentality. “Rooted,” says Paola Cavalieri, “

because it is supported by more than twenty centuries of philosophical tradition aiming at excluding from the ethical domain members of species other than our own,”[13]Paola Cavalieri, The Animal Question: Why Nonhuman Animals Deserve Human Rights, trans. Catherine Woolard (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 3.

To which, Jodey Castricano adds that it

has served to reify speciesism and to naturalize the disconnect between merely acknowledging our obligations ‘in theory’ and being really willing to redress animal cruelty as a whole, by action or by law.”[14]Jodey Castricano, “The Question of the Animal: Why Now?” Topia 21 (Spring 2009), 186.

And there is no let up. Today the modern brand of religious apologetics or Xianspin is actually used to promote animal exploitation agendas. Xianspin is used in defending the right of humans to dominate other species and the planet however they please.

Recognizing we arrived at ecological crisis through pernicious proselytizing, historian Lynn White traces the origins of humanity’s contempt and abuses of nature directly to Christian dogma.[15]Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155, no. 3767 (1967): 1203-1207, doi: 10.1126/science.155.3767.1203 He observes what we all know to be true, that the way we treat the environment is “deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny.”[16]White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” 1205. Our worldview, in other words—the beliefs we have about ourselves and the universe, and to what extent we embrace or deny its realities—impacts how we treat others, including other sentient species, and our response to the current global ecological crisis.

Yet followers today still feel justified in embracing anthropocentric thinking and taking what they want from nature. You could argue they are more culpable than those of yesteryear because of the layers of falsehoods, fictions, lies, and delusions they must embrace to deny reality. Science knows more than it ever has and is accepted by more of the educated world with more assurance than there ever was. Yet the religious cling to their anthropocentric viewpoints. That takes serious delusion, and that is what continues to make religions a dangerous anachronisms deserving of no place in our future.

Deflating Self-Aggrandizement

Everything should be done to limit the dangerous legacy of religion and its ongoing influence. Leaders and followers of religion cannot grasp, as Phillip Dick once said, that “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, is still there,” because they have never ceased from denying reality. Dismissal is more appropriate than debate with them because it is unlikely they can be reasoned with, for as Ethan Allen long ago set forth:

Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle that they are laboring to dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.[17]Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (New York: Balantine Books, 1996), 255.

What we are up against is the dangerous credulity and wishful thinking of delusion-prone individuals, for whom, studies time and again show, reality and reasoning are irrelevant.[18]For example, Michelle H. Lim et al, “The Jumping-to-Conclusions Bias in New Religious Movements,” Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, Volume 200:10 (October, 2012), 868–875.

People like Kurt Wise, for example, whose mind, Richard Dawkins once referred to as a “disgrace to the humans species.” Wise is highly educated with a science background, but like so many he wanted to believe in a fairy tale so desperately that facts just had no bearing: “if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist,” he once said. Dawkins has dubbed this a “sadly honest” proclamation that leads one to a pessimistic

conclusion about human psychology. It implies that there is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence.[19]Richard Dawkins, “Sadly, an Honest Creationist,” Free Inquiry (Volume 21, Number 4), http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=dawkins_21_4.

The same is true of William Craig, who has made it clear that

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.”[20]William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), 36.

We are justified in calling these people IDiots or theodiots, or just plain morons, if you like.

If it were only a few, we could ignore them, but according to an October 2006 Time Magazine poll, 64% of Americans said they would still hold their religious beliefs even if science were to disprove them and 81% of respondents said their religious views were not impacted by recent advances in science.[21]David Masci, “How the Public Resolves Conflicts Between Faith and Science,” Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project, August 27, 2007, http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/How-the-Public-Resolves-Conflicts-Between-Faith-and-Science.aspx. This is the stuff of madness. These IDiots would actually deny reality to cling to faith. The triumph of ancient fables and fancies over individuals in this way should be a lesson to anyone that thinks reason alone will convince such people about the realities of exploiting sentient beings.

Nonhuman animals and the planet in general stand no chance against mind’s so warped by ancient mythologies that they exist in a world of sword and sorcery. Earth for them is a kind of stepping stone to heaven, ruled by a God who cares for human souls way over and the planet and its other inhabitants. People embroiled in this fantasy will never see nonhuman animals as other than God-given property or in the words of Wesley Smith, “meat on the hoof.” Such people—these “meatheads on the shoe”—cling to exceptionalism because it is critical for self-definition, for the very survival of identity.

Criticizing worldviews based on anthropocentrism, superstition and magical beliefs is crucial for discrediting what has justified the ruthless and merciless treatment of human and nonhuman animals. By debunking irrational and claims that underlie or drive speciesist behaviors, we take away the justifications for tyranny. However, this does not simply mean only rejecting and criticizing religions.

So many aspects of society are inheritors of religious anthropocentric traditions. Social institutions and religions have throughout history been mutually reinforcing, particularly in regard to sanctioning the exploitation of nonhumans and humans for profit. Social institutions continue to benefit through the continued religious enthusiasm for a status quo, as Paul Waldau writes:

Since ethical anthropocentrism in the form of speciesism is also a defining feature of contemporary legal systems, business values, mainline economic theory, government policy decisions, and educational philosophies and curricula, it will surprise no one that major religious institutions continue to promote this narrow view.[22]Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79.

It is not enough to just criticize religions, then. It is also important to be critical of systems and values whose foundations rest on religious ideas and manufactured concepts of reality.

Thus criticism of anthropocentrism should include the criticism of speciesist institutions and practices, such as the nonsensical laws of convenience that animals are property in a world where even corporations get treated like people.

A universe made for us? What a joke. It is the opinion here that an argument from scale or incongruity is enough to dismiss all religious anthropocentric nonsense.[23]For a more detailed discussion, see the “Arguments from Scale” chapter in Nicholas Everitt, The Non-Existence of God (New York: Routledge, 2004), 213–226. Just take a look at the Hubble Deep Field. Clinging to religious belief in the face of our universe—as old as 13.72 billion years, with its observable portion approximately 93 billion light years in diameter (and its actual size presumably many times larger), full of 30 billion trillion stars (though many galaxies are hidden by dust so this could be closer to 270 billion trillion), and around 350 billion large galaxies, 10 million gigantic, with the nearest star to us Proxima Centauri being around 4.3 light years (approximately 39.9 trillion kilometers), and the nearest galaxy being Andromeda at some 2,500,000 light years away—is out of all proportion, is so local and provincial as to be worthy of contempt.

A universe made for us? “Is there not something a trifle absurd,” Bertrand Russell asks

in the spectacle of human beings holding a mirror before themselves, and thinking what they behold so excellent as to prove that a Cosmic Purpose must have been aiming at it all along?

To think so both insults human knowledge and is “a flight from self-knowledge.”[24]Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (Ballantine Books, 1997), 35. It is not only absurd, insulting and deluded, it is dangerous because of the damage anthropocentric thinking and unwarranted self-flattery continues to cause.

Let’s give Carl the last word:

Pale_Blue_Dot

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.[25]Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot. NB: The shaft of light in the image is an effect created by the angle of the camera in relation to the Sun. The picture was taken from 6 billion kilometers away.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral sense.”
2. Henry Salt, Animals’ Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress. Second Edition (London: G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., 1922), 97.
3. Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 13.
4. Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (New York: Balantine Books, 1996), p. 8.
5. John Haught, Deeper than Darwin: The Prospect For Religion In The Age Of Evolution (Westview Press, 2003), 185-186.
6. See Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture (New York: Plume, 1993), 16-33.
7. Angus Taylor, “Review of Wesley J. Smith’s A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement,” Between the Species, Issue X (August, 2010), 228.
8. Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 48.
9. Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), p. 80.
10. Robert N. Wennberg, Gods, Humans, and Animals: An Invitation to Enlarge Our Moral Universe (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), xii.
11. Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79.
12. Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79.
13. Paola Cavalieri, The Animal Question: Why Nonhuman Animals Deserve Human Rights, trans. Catherine Woolard (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 3.
14. Jodey Castricano, “The Question of the Animal: Why Now?” Topia 21 (Spring 2009), 186.
15. Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155, no. 3767 (1967): 1203-1207, doi: 10.1126/science.155.3767.1203
16. White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” 1205.
17. Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (New York: Balantine Books, 1996), 255.
18. For example, Michelle H. Lim et al, “The Jumping-to-Conclusions Bias in New Religious Movements,” Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, Volume 200:10 (October, 2012), 868–875.
19. Richard Dawkins, “Sadly, an Honest Creationist,” Free Inquiry (Volume 21, Number 4), http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=dawkins_21_4.
20. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), 36.
21. David Masci, “How the Public Resolves Conflicts Between Faith and Science,” Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project, August 27, 2007, http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/How-the-Public-Resolves-Conflicts-Between-Faith-and-Science.aspx.
22. Paul Waldau, “Religion and Animals,” in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 79.
23. For a more detailed discussion, see the “Arguments from Scale” chapter in Nicholas Everitt, The Non-Existence of God (New York: Routledge, 2004), 213–226.
24. Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (Ballantine Books, 1997), 35.
25. Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot. NB: The shaft of light in the image is an effect created by the angle of the camera in relation to the Sun. The picture was taken from 6 billion kilometers away.

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