The Synthesizer

Let the waters teem with countless living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of heaven.'” E.O. Wilson is quoting from the biblical account of the fifth day of creation. “Isn’t that lovely?” he asks, his voice lilting with pleasure. “Whether you believe that there is a god who touched the universe with a magic wand or not, it’s a command—[one] I think scientists could respond to as well as religious folk.”

Wilson sits in his office on the fourth floor of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, across the hall from the university’s world-famous ant collection. His hands move in animated gestures, his shoulders falling forward into a natural hunch—the “lifetime posture” he developed by his late teens from stooping low to the ground to inspect small creatures.

The reference to biodiversity in the seminal text of Judeo-Christian culture resonates deeply with Wilson. Raised a Baptist and “born again” as a teenager, he has championed biodiversity as an academic and a writer for more than 50 years. His new book, The Creation, is an appeal to the religious right to “consider forming an alliance to do something that science and religion, the most powerful social forces in the world, are uniquely prepared to do: save the creation.”

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