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by: Alfred russel Wallace

This variety and beauty, even the strangeness, the ugliness, and the unexpectedness we find everywhere in nature, are, and therefore were intended to be, an important factor in our mental development; for they excite in us admiration wonder, and curiosity—the three emotions which stimulate first our attention, then our determination to learn the how and the why, which are the basis of observation and experiment and therefore of all science and all philosophy. These considerations should lead us to look upon all the works of nature, animate or inanimate, as invested with a certain sanctity, to be used by us but not abused, and never to be recklessly destroyed or defaced. To pollute a spring or a river, to exterminate a bird or beast, should be treated as moral offences and as social crimes; while all who profess religion or sincerely believe in the Deity—the designer and maker of this world and of every living thing—should, one would have thought, have placed this among the first of their forbidden sins, since to deface or destroy that which has been brought into existence for the use and enjoyment, the education and elevation of the human race, is a direct denial of the wisdom and goodness of the Creator, about which they so loudly and persistently prate and preach. Top of page