So in my freshman year at the University of Alabama, learning the literature on evolution, what was known about it biologically, just gradually transformed me by taking me out of literalism and increasingly into a more secular, scientific view of the world.
Sstudying ants just quickly became part of me because I was allowed to wander, explore and find things and figure things out myself. And I saw how much was there and what could be done and how I could make a life of it.
Humanity is a biological species, living in a biological environment, because like all species, we are exquisitely adapted in everything: from our behavior, to our genetics, to our physiology, to that particular environment in which we live. The earth is our home. Unless we preserve the rest of life, as a sacred duty, we will be endangering ourselves by destroying the home in which we evolved, and on which we completely depend.
That's the way to get young people. Once they see there are wonderful things to hunt for, to rediscover a species that was thought to be extinct or is extremely rare, to be the first to see a nest, to discover a new species unsuspected close to your home - these are things, I think, with a little education and excitement and the right kind of natural history would actually start a movement that makes going back to nature a profitable adventure.
In fact, nothing in science as a whole has been more firmly established by interwoven factual information, or more illuminating than the universal occurrence of biological evolution. Further, few natural processes have been more convincingly explained than evolution by the theory of natural selection, or as it has been popularly called, Darwinism.
I've found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they're communicating but it tells you a great deal - by dialect and tone, content and circumstance - about the quality of the character.
I'm very much a Christian in ideals and ethics, especially in terms of belief in fairness, a deep set obligation to others, and the virtues of charity, tolerance and generosity that we associate with traditional Christian teaching.
Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend stretches of time just searching and dreaming.