Friday, March 08, 2013

Threnody for Bambi


Years ago, atheist philosopher William Rowe wrote an influential article on the evidential problem of evil. His memorably used the sentimental example of a fawn burning to death in a forest fire, to illustrate gratuitous natural evil. This tearjerker is appealing to some people.

However, Rowe’s expertise lay in philosophy, not forestry. As the field of fire ecology demonstrates, forest fires are not gratuitous evils, but beneficial to fauna and flora alike. Although some animals die, forest fires contribute to the common good of the ecosystem. For instance:

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