The Judeo-Christian responses are clear: Nature has been created for man's use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning. Dolphins are adorable because human beings find them adorable. Without people to appreciate them or the role they play in the earth's ecosystem to enable human life, they are no more adorable or meaningful than a rock on Pluto.
Yes, Nature was created for mans use. Like any resource though, the issue continues to be that the industrialized world wants unlimited potential to produce and consume as much of the natural resources without regard to future generations survival. And extremist environmental groups want literally no usage of those natural resources. The yin/yang principles define an excess of one leading to a negative of another. So if green groups had their way human progress would be halted. While if the industrialized world has their way the Earth would be burned up at a pace where future generations survival would become in question.
It becomes all the more unfortunate for me to hear advice from a talk show host who has no actual pro-environmental record, whose vision for the environment resides from the polluted metropolitan LA (as opposed to living and experiencing unfettered country), and simply derives the man/nature political issue from his Bible. The Bible has always been humanities guide in life, but it cannot satisfactorily answer all of the every day and uneasy man/nature political issues. The Bible can heal and has the intention of being the highest ideal in values, but it cannot answer for corruption and human imperfection.
Dennis has in the past talked about how President Bush is a great man because of his faith in God and religion. Statements that do not have any lasting worth given the Bush Administration's record on the environment is filled with the types of mispractices that are not considered goodness. Rather a record which measures up with the dirty name the law field has built upon itself over the decades.
As for the modern secular objection to the Judeo-Christian notion of man as the pinnacle and purpose of nature, one can only say woe unto mankind if that objection prevails. When man is reduced to being part of the natural world, his status is reduced to that of a dolphin. It is one of the great ironies of the contemporary world that humanists render human life largely worthless while God-centered Jews and Christians render human life infinitely sacred. Man's worth is entirely dependent on a God-based view of the world. Without God, man is another part of the ecosystem, and often a lousy one at that.
Absurd. Humanity, irregardless of religious affiliation, will always view itself as the top of the food chain. While acknowledging religion is more prone to viewing humanity as sacred, it is the intelligence and survival mechanism built in all humans that will always remain atop the food chain. Because there are greens who spend an inordinate amount of time saving extinct species doesn't mean they themselves believe they are equal to animals. They are devoted to their causes not because they believe humanity is equal or lesser than animal, but because they feel humanity is surviving just fine on its own.
This brings up another point: Who is more responsible? Those who actively pursue their environmental causes, or those who are presumably sitting idly by on their computer criticizing those activists? Some of Dennis's points are valid provided those who side with him are actively contributing to society.
Does this mean that the biblical view of nature gives man the right to pollute the earth or to abuse animals? Absolutely not. Abusing animals is forbidden in the Torah: The ban on eating the limb of a living animal, the ban on placing two animals of different sizes on the same yoke and the ban on working animals seven days a week are just a few examples. To cause gratuitous suffering to an animal is a grave sin. As for polluting the earth, this, too, is religiously prohibited. If the purpose of nature is to ennoble human life and to bear witness to God's magnificence, by what understanding of this concept can a religious person defend polluting nature?
The best paragraph I've seen from Dennis on the environment. Unfortunately if one doesn't actively want to pursue his own political party's record on the environment, that is his prerogative. The Right's green extremism agenda becomes muted when their own party is involved in corrupt and illegal environmental practices. As a review stated earlier, I'm not certain environmental protections can have significant impact in a world that is constantly producing and developing. I do know that when a party has a record of total disregard for the environment, they are not the answer for it.