“Appreciating” Nature …

8 Mar

Science and Humanism versus an “Appreciation of Nature”:  A False Dichotomy

There’s no need to acknowledge a divine being in order to appreciate a sunset or draw inspiration from it.

Even so, we don’t need to get rid of “appreciation” in order to be good humanists either. We can be secular and have a healthy appreciation for nature and its wonders too without falling into the metaphysical pitfalls of religionism.  “Appreciation/Inspiration” needn’t be anathema to us as ideas or ways of approaching the world. They’re as legitimate to us as human beings as far more technical, hardline scientific concepts are, and ultimately more rewarding and relevant for us when compared to the alternative.

The “just-so” of a sunset (or any event in nature for that matter) is as much a cultural statement and a skewing of reality as the poet’s or mystic’s view of the world.  “Appreciation” allows us look past the veil of the “just-so” in the world, the so-called ‘humdrum’ or ‘ordinary’ nature of reality, and to glimpse the universe in ways which make our study of it a far richer one.

Appreciation” doesn’t need to be ‘canned’ with metaphysics.  Doing so will only rob us of life’s real richness and meaning, whether or not we cut out the nonsense of god and religion.



I recently heard a man state that he “does not believe in gratitude,” but instead prefers the word “appreciation”: “I appreciate a delicious meal or a beautiful sunset, but I feel no need to say ‘thank you,’” he proudly proclaimed. This is the voice of ego.

Rabbi Alan Lurie, Why the Universe Obviously Has a Creator (and Why Some Atheists Refuse to Even Consider It)


I would say “thank you” to a waiter who brought me food, or to a chef who cooked a meal, but there’s no evidence that anybody gave us a sunset. Should we say, “Thank you, laws of physics!” A refusal to thank god is not a manifestation of ego, it’s simply a refusal to grovel before a nonexistent being. I’ll thank god when a stack of thousand-dollar bills drops from the heavens into my lap.

Jerry Coyne, Crazy rabbi says that atheists are mentally ill for not believing in Creation


One Response to ““Appreciating” Nature …”


  1. What “Appreciating” Means « Inspirational Freethought - March 8, 2012

    […] https://dianoilogos.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/appreciating-nature/ There’s no need to acknowledge a divine being in order to appreciate a sunset or draw inspiration from it. […]

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