Joe Browder

Joe Browder is a founder of the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth) and currently a principal in Dunlap & Browder, an environmental consulting firm. Response to ‘Monkey Love’: I can’t agree with your assertion about modern “Darwinism.” Biologists who (as most do) use evolutionary evidence to try to understand species and their changing status are not pantheists, and for the most part do not associate their views on biology with any religious beliefs. As for social Darwinists, those folks and their thinking bear no relation to evolution or physics, chemistry, or other scientific disciplines. They are just people on a power trip, looking for one more rationale for their personal beliefs regarding who should be on top and who should be servants.Example: biological science asserts that evolution is change, and nothing but change, not biased towards progress or advancement for the species undergoing change. In fact, most evolutionary changes are either irrelevant or damaging to the species undergoing change — very, very few evolutionary changes result in a new advantage for the species.Before there was understanding (Darwin’s or more recent and more sophisticated) about evolution, people used the supposed messages of the gods — or, in the case of monotheist religions, god– as the rationale for declaring some people to be better, smarter, nicer, more deserving than others. So the mis-use of science as a weapon for justifying the suppression of some people is a relatively new development — and the harm to people done in the name of science is still just a fraction of the harm done to people in the name of religion, in the name of economicopportunity, in the name of social/political stability.In today’s diverse social/economic debates in the US, all competitors seem free to use (and abuse) every argument, and we are hearing from some of industry’s tacticians that enviros are really just druids or other animists. We can probably find samples of every conceivable spiritualdiscipline within every segment of our society, so there are certainly some people who are both environmentalists and animists, just as there are environmentalists who are Christians, Jews, agnostics and atheists. But then, there are non-enviros who fall into every spiritual category. The woo-woo thinkers are everywhere. And industry’s pr people stimulate the enviros-as-animists argument simply to try to get Christians to besuspicious of environmentalists — it is not a real issue.Which, if you’ll forgive me, is my long-winded way of saying that I think you dilute the power of your observations when you associate them with the arguments (empty arguments) so constantly being spun by the bad boys on industry’s pr team. It’s just as ineffective as those environmentalists who weaken their otherwise sound messages by throwing in some anti-capitalist stuff. The insights you have and the powerful values you represent don’t need that other stuff, Norris.