Review of E.O. Wilson's The Creation in TREE

Thanks to Bob O’H (hat tip) I have discovered that my book review of E.O. Wilson’s The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth has been published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE). Wilson attempts to set aside the evolution/creation issue to encourage evangelicals to join him in saving biodiversity. The review is currently the online-before-print version, I assume it will be in the May issue. The journal requires a subscription but I will post a bit below.

I have to add that I take a little extra pleasure in getting to correct Wilson, in my opinion the world’s leading living biologist, for mistakenly talking about the “spinning bacterial cilium” when he meant “bacterial flagellum.” OK, I am still a tiny ant compared to Wilson (and Wilson literally is a god among ants, so that is saying something), but hey, I am on a crusade about the flagellum thing.

If conservationists are serious about making their case to evangelicals, they should have the goal of getting biodiversity on the front cover of Christianity Today, the leading evangelical newsmagazine. Wilson’s book will not do it, but at least he is thinking in the right direction. The key is convincing evangelicals that extinction is a moral outrage, something at least as senseless and horrible as book burning. Extinction should be viewed as stealing from future generations. Aldo Leopold knew this; he once sarcastically invited a wildflower thief to steal the paintings from the campus union while he was at it [2]. Whether a believer or not, ‘thou shalt not steal’ is a good commandment.


  1. A. Leopold, Letter to a wildflower digger [1938]. In: S.L. Flader and J.B. Callicott, Editors, The River of the Mother of God and Other Essays, University of Wisconsin Press (1991), pp. 247–248.

Reference: Matzke, N. (2007). “Needs more brimstone [book review].” Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Published online 6 April 2007. (DOI)