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The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  805 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Dear Pastor:

We have not met, yet I feel I know you well enough to call you friend. First of all, we grew up in the same faith. Although I no longer belong to that faith, I am confident that if we met and spoke privately of our deepest beliefs, it would be in a spirit of mutual respect and goodwill. I write to you now for your counsel and help. Let us see if we can, and you
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2006)
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Alisse Metge
Aug 24, 2012 Alisse Metge rated it liked it
E.O. Wilson-- a giant in biology, a thoughtful and, I believe, good-hearted person whose scientific work and soft-spoken manner I admire. But even in this honest and sincere effort, his writing does not successfully escape the deeply-ingrained scientism so typical of Wilson, in which nothing outside science (e.g. religion) is ultimately allowed any grounding in reality. He continues to make his hallmark mistake of omitting the defining line between science and philosophy. Hence, most of his argu ...more
Sara  (

If Wilson's premise was to reach out to Christians to talk about how science and religion have compatible views about preserving the environment, then I think he missed the mark. He veers between being aggressive to condescending about religious beliefs. I don't see how he is taking in to consideration his purported audience. (btw, I am not at all a religious person, but I am a person who believes in courtesy and in effective communication)

I did like it when Wilson nerded out and started talk
Ray Zimmerman
Apr 29, 2015 Ray Zimmerman rated it it was amazing
Pastor, I am grateful for your attention. As a scientist who has spent a lifetime studying the creation, I have done my best here to brief you and others on subjects I hope will be more a part of out common concern. My foundation of reference has been the culture of science and some of secularism based on science, as I understand them. From that foundation I have focused on the interaction of three problems that affect everyone: the decline of the living environment, the inadequacy of scientifi ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Joey rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Ostensibly, it's an argument, an attempt to find common ground with fundamentalists in order to save the earth, but really it's a meditation on the universe and life on this planet.
This book was not at all what I thought it would be. I totally understand and support the science behind what Wilson says. What bothered me was the way in which he says it.

The book purports to be a call for unity, for "bi-partisanship," if you will, between Scientists and Religious Leaders. Wilson even addresses the beginning (and sometimes the end, and sometimes the middle) of each chapter to a nameless Pastor. Things start out well: Wilson suggests that they each put aside their thoughts on ho
Roger DeBlanck
Aug 10, 2015 Roger DeBlanck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A world-renowned biologist and self-described “secular humanist,” Wilson calls upon leaders in the various scientific fields and the widespread religious communities to put aside differences and endeavor together to save the natural world. His chief aim is to open up dialogue built upon optimism and mutual respect that uses the curiosity of science and the intellection of religion as the basis for understanding the connection of humans to nature and the inherent nobility and necessity to protect ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Chris rated it did not like it
This book is the author's attempt to bring scientists and Christian leaders together in saving the environment. The book is addressed "to a Southern Baptist pastor", which is the author's childhood denomination, and he seeks common ground between his own "secular" viewpoint and the Christian one. Personally, I don't think this book is likely to achieve the author's goals. It's a short book but I found it too obnoxious to read after just 4 chapters. Since I'm an evangelical Christian who already ...more
Jun 25, 2007 Cass rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Environmental Students
I was recommended this book by a professer with a degree in soil or sounded interesting. He told me I should rent it from the library, not buy it...but I love to write in books, so I looked all over and found it in a couple places for $20.00+. I wasn't about to spend that for a 170 page I finally found it in a library.

Anyway, it's pretty interesting. I was hoping it would be more along the lines of: these are specific examples of what we're doing wrong, now go change it
Aug 23, 2014 Bob rated it liked it
Shelves: science
In the form of a long letter written to an idealized Baptist pastor, the book is ostensibly an essay on the insights on nature that religious and scientific viewpoints can share. The book becomes a sort of colophon to Wilson's life work and a very moving presentation of the 'nature is God's greatest achievement and our closest look at the divine' view of science.
Wilson distinguishes 'nature' as completely separate from human activity and proceeds to speak about reasons for the decrease in biod
Aug 05, 2014 Naomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
Written as a series of letters to a pastor, E.O. Wilson pleads for finding common ground between the two most powerful forces for human behavior - religion and science. Wilson is, of course, responding to religion as he has known it, and has argued against the science he cherishes, which is, indeed, a subset of religious beliefs and teachings. There are other religious people, across the spectrum of religions, who already embrace science, able to hold quite well both the teachings and beliefs of ...more
Samuel Viana
Oct 04, 2012 Samuel Viana rated it really liked it
Edward Wilson is a passionated person: in this book he explains almost like a religious believer its love for all the biodiversity in this planet (that it calls in this book 'Biophilia') and proposes steps that can be made in order for people to love nature in the same way he feels it. He tries to show his passion in line could be made into something that could be almost as a religion,
Feb 11, 2015 Elaine rated it liked it
This book was written as "An Appeal to Save Life on Earth" as if appealing to a Baptist minister that though they may believe differently as to the origin of life on earth, both sides must come to an agreement to save the earth. Certainly I don't know how others reacted to this book, but I felt there was a very condescending tone to his writing, which made it less palatable. Part IV "Teaching the Creation" made the book worthwhile as it dealt with not only teaching biology, but also teaching chi ...more
Oct 16, 2015 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard Bill Moyer interview Wilson on a podcast the other day, talking about this book. Knew I had to read it. Sigh...the list just keeps on growing.
Apr 12, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
E. O. Wilson is very clear on the intent of the book: make an argument to religiously-minded people that nature is amazing and beautiful and in dire need of our protection and wise stewardship. Secular scientists and God-followers should overlook their differences, find common ground and fight together to protect our special home. Wow, that’s a great idea! Unfortunately, Wilson’s effort is a jaw-dropping FAILURE for delivering that message.

While the book does a reasonably okay job on the “Wow,
E.O Wilson targets a tough crowd: Fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christians. The subject matter of this book is very personal to me as a current Environmental Science major who doubles as a Christian. Despite the wide-scale, increasingly consequential beatings the environment has received in the past 50 years, it has never made an appearance on the prayer request list in my local Baptist community. "Environmentalism" seems to be a taboo word on it's own without "climate change" and "tax increas ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to the work of E.O. Wilson in an animal behavior class in college. Called the "Father of Sociobiology", his work has at times come under fire, but this work is fabulous. Wilson writes a letter to a Baptist pastor about why the environment with all its ecosystems must be allowed to exist and regenerate. Wilson was not as pessimistic as some of the authors I have read, so I'm not quite as hopeless feeling as I was after reading Hot, Flat and Crowded by Friedmann.
Also, the l
Mar 14, 2012 Ensiform rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
The author, a Harvard professor for nearly fifty years, discusses biodiversity, using a putative letter to a Southern Baptist pastor as a sort of framing and motivating device. Wilson makes his subject interesting, important and readable, but if appealing to the previously disinclined is truly his intention, he wanders far from the mark. Wilson is skilled at extolling the merits of individual species, like wolverines and types of ants, and he’s terrific when he talks about the history of ant swa ...more
Aedan Lake
Jul 27, 2011 Aedan Lake rated it it was amazing
The apparent lack of concern of the religious for the state of this world has always niggled at me a little, and it seems that it also preys on far greater minds than my own, judging by E O Wilson's decision to frame his "appeal to save life on Earth" with the device of a letter to an unnamed Southern Baptist Pastor. A straw-man, of sorts, but one based on Wilson's own experience of growing up as a Baptist in the Southern USA, and one that explicitly calls on the spirit of Southern Hospitality t ...more
Andrew Georgiadis
Understanding the biological diversity of life on Earth should not be the exclusive province of a few (the Ph.Ds of our university zoology departments, namely). E.O. Wilson has made a career of two things: entomology, which is less accessible, and transmuting his love of the natural world into tomes imploring the average person to a sociobiological ethic. He does this most effectively when his books are barren of any appeals to the supernatural.

"The Creation" has magical moments, but Wilson succ
Oct 13, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecology

E.O. Wilson, one of America's foremost scientists and secular humanists, has
penned a moving appeal for religionist and scientist alike to set aside their
differences and focus together on preserving Earth's biological diversity for
the benefit of today's and future generations (which, in the case of many
bacteria and insects, will also begin and end today). In a beautiful prose
reminiscent – no doubt intentionally – of Aldo Leopold, Wilson moves directly
to share his sense of awe in the face of

Mason Wiebe
Jan 30, 2008 Mason Wiebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone concerned abou saving the earth
Written by one of the most respected and accomplished biologists of our time (one of Time magazine’s most important people of the 20th century), The Creation is written as a letter from Wilson to a fictional member of the clergy, Pastor. It is an appeal for science and religion to put aside differences and work together to save The Creation (Earth, life, the biosphere…). There are lots of facts relating to biodiversity and the rapid loss of it since the agricultural revolution. His main argument ...more
May 11, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want to learn a few things from a great mna
Shelves: non-fiction
This extraordinary man has dedicated his life to the preservation and conservation of earth’s biodiversity, cataloging all of the wondrous plants and animals from microscopic to endangered species.

Edward O. Wilson focuses on the interaction of three problems that affect everyone:

1. The decline of the living environment

2. The inadequacy of scientific education

3. The moral confusions caused by the exponential growth of biology

We are products of a civilization that rose forth from both religion an
Dec 18, 2010 Steven rated it liked it
There's really only one thing wrong with EO Wilson's The Creation, but unfortunately, it's hard to avoid. The framing device, and voice throughout, is that of a personal letter to a hypothetical Southern Baptist pastor, attempting to find common ground between science and religion in the service of conserving the diversity of life on Earth. The device isn't a bad idea; saving Creation, be it nature's or God's, would seem to be of common interest to scientists and pastors. But in the body of this ...more
Frits Haverkamp
Sorry Wilson, didn't come through. The concept excited me but if there is a southern baptist pastor even remotely interested or capable of understanding or caring what you are talking about I have never met them. That sounds rude but really it is a criticism of Wilson's attempt. I did not ever get the a true sense that Wilson was having any real correspondence with a fictional pastor. I doubt any pastor would ever be moved by this analysis. That said, i enjoyed reading Creation. I completely agr ...more
Joseph Sverker
It is a convincing read about the need to save the environment and I like his approach of trying to appeal to the religious leadership in USA. But I can't see that he succeeds in this. It is not really a dialogue between science and religion simply becuase he starts each chapter with "Dear pastor". he then goes on to take a naturalist argument on most things. He argues well, but never goes beyond his own perspective. I get more out of this book as a portrayel of a scientist's fascination over na ...more
Dec 01, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
The premise of this book is that the author has written it as a letter to a bishop, urging him to become more involved in protecting the environment as he bridges science and religion. There were many parts of the book which I loved, especially the end where he describes how he thinks science should be taught. My one complaint is that there were times where I felt like he was sort of talking down to "the bishop" in sections about intelligent design vs. evolution or in comments like (I can't find ...more
Andrada Craciun
Apr 14, 2015 Andrada Craciun rated it did not like it
I tought this is a book about Creationism, but I found that this is about the importance of saving the environment. I also found myself getting bored on descripting various types of ants as this was the great specialty of the author. How can you save the Earth when you are told that you are no more than an animal breed and your life doesn't have a purpose?
Aug 13, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
E.O. Wilson is a great scientist and writer. This book is written for a more general (i.e non-scientist) audience, and Wilson has put it in the form of a letter, written to a Protestant preacher. In the letter, Wilson makes an appeal and case for cooperation between science and religion to save the biodiversity of our planet.

I enjoyed the book and I think Wilson has touched on something important: Religion and science don't have to be mutually exclusive, and we all have a stake in educating oth
Apr 05, 2012 Julio rated it really liked it
Shelves: ensayo
Escrito como una carta a su pastor, subraya la relevancia, para creyentes o no, de salvar la biodiversidad del planeta. Reflejando un gran conocimiento (pero asimismo las grandes limitaciones actuales de la ciencia, que reflejan las limitaciones intrínsecas del intelecto humano) destila un mensaje sabio, aunque sorprendemente accesible. A pesar de su gran respaldo científico, es ante todo un llamado apasionado a defender, no un entorno exógeno y ajeno, no un distante animal fuera de nuestra coti ...more
Jordan Hoover
Jan 01, 2015 Jordan Hoover rated it it was ok
The problem I have with this book is that Wilson seems to conflate an enlightenment based secular humanism with science, though this is not necessarily the case. Science in itself is not contrary to Christiany and not all Christians are conservative creationists. As a Christian, I have no problem with the science in this book and many eco-theologians have longed grappled with this scientific evidence. Wilson lays out well the bad state we are in and he does a really does do a great job in reinst ...more
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E. O. Wilson 1 13 Jul 16, 2008 03:41PM  
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Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, a branch of entomology. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. He is Pellegrino University Re ...more
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