Interesting that this article appears in the same Unherd issue as an article about antinatalism.
The antinatalists view life as an unwanted imposition, full of suffering and ultimately pointless. Extreme antinatalists view all life as a vile infection on the face of the planet.
But in this article we’re invited to consider what is likely the largest creature to ever live. It’s made from the same genetic material as the tiniest invertebrate and its bilaterally symmetrical body type, for example, can be seen throughout the animal world. The fundamental “housekeeping” enzymes that control basic life processes, such as metabolism, are conserved throughout prokaryotes and eukaryotes and a housekeeping gene cloned from a Patagotitan bone fragment would likely function normally when introduced into a bacterium. Life truly is a wonder to behold.
If the antinatalists can’t, or won’t, manage a trip to the Natural History Museum, perhaps that museum would lend them a microscope with a slide bearing a sample of seawater containing diatoms. At the other end of the size scale, it’s hard not to be awed by the geometric beauty of those tiny creatures.
Great comment. The thing that strikes me about the antinatalist argument is its sheer spiritual poverty, bordering on a psychiatric disorder, in seeking to denigrate humanity; to denigrate life itself.
It’s a form of projection, of their own disorder, their self-disgust, onto the rest of humanity.
I think you’re right, and the juxtaposition of the articles isn’t coincidental. It’s something Unherd does quite frequently.
Patagotitan should loom large in our imagination, but its eventual demise wasn’t self-inflicted. Whilst it approached the physical limits of biology on Earth, humans have the potential to explore beyond Earth. It’s in our nature to do so, part of our spirituality. We are a young species, and like all youngsters we’ll make mistakes. Unlike the antinatalists, we need to be able to forgive ourselves and move on. We have a lot more growing to do yet.
Spiritual poverty is an excellent description!
Just a reminder that Patagonia wasn’t empty when the Europeans found it; it had plenty of native peoples, but they were exterminated in a genocide (bounty given for dead natives) by the Argentinian government to make room for European settlers in the second half of the 19th Century.
The history of the world.
I think that would apply to a lot of modern countries and regions. The strong take over from the weak. Considering the Christian background of the conquerors in this instance, it’s somewhat ironic.
Why is the man who discovered’ Dinosaurs as NOT as famous as Charles Darwin Esq?
In fact he appears to be virtually unknown.
There was no first discoverer, the first fossil was thought to be from a giant hominid, it was more a piece meal putting together of different specimens and theories.
Wonderful read and it inspires me to make a visit to the museum on a future trip to London to visit UnHerd for a talk.
It also reveals the absolute folly and hysteria over climate change. Imagine if the dinosaurs had access to social media!
My thoughts related to climate change too. Cows are considered to pollute the planet with methane. Yet the Earth saw fit to evolve herbivores this size!