Sir: I was surprised to see how much space you devoted to Felipe Fernandez- Armesto's curious views ("If we are not masters of the universe, who is?", 11 September). The posited objective observer on another planet would surely not find it difficult to uncover evidence to support our position. We now control, to a large degree, the existence of all the other species, and we are in a position to create new species to suit new needs. We control, to a large degree, our immediate environment, and protect ourselves better against the major climatic disasters than do other species.
We can communicate with other humans anywhere on the globe, practically instantaneously; can move under the waters and through the air; and can retrieve colour pictures from the edge of the solar system. We can so organise ourselves as to produce a season of symphony concerts, each different, and each requiring prodigious feats of co-ordination by 80 or more very individual people.
Although we cannot communicate well with other species, this is to their detriment rather than ours. We can see by observation that their society is little developed, their technology even less so, and their aesthetic appreciation zero.
The possibility - which we have to admit exists -that we will destroy ourselves and possibly our planet does not negate any of these points. No other species comes near to possessing such power.
Without doubt the human race has a great deal of scope for improvement, but this will not be achieved by denying the progress we have made so far. Should not the author of a book about the millennium look forward, rather than back?
James R. Adams
11 SeptemberReuse content