The Creation, by E O Wilson

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This is an important book, by an extremely important guy — a Harvard biologist who happens to think that we might be screwing up our world pretty quickly. (Check out his awesome new project, the Encyclopedia of Life, a TED wish.) The book’s central premise is that the communities of science and religion, so often portrayed as being at odds with each other, share a common cause: saving the earth.

This is obvious, of course. Wanting to save the earth because it’s God’s creation or because of the incredible science in it — it doesn’t really matter.

What’s not obvious to me is why this idea, this coalition, doesn’t show up more. I have a sense that it’s because religion in America has become politicized by the Right, and environmentalism has become politicized by the Left.

But something that Larry Lessig said at a dinner I attended a year or so ago gives me some optimism: he said that coalitions (like today’s on the Right) are always marked by unexpected collaborations — of groups that decide that one particular common cause is more important than any of their dozens of less important differences.

So maybe. Or perhaps the right word is unless.

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