Even the law of graviation would the brought into dispute were there a pecuniary interest involved.
Thomas Babington Macaulay 1
Will reconciliation cost money or make money? If I can show that it would make money, no doubt I would need to say little else to make it a wild success. Yet I have to begin the money chapter by insisting that this question must never be allowed to belittle people and their dreams. Yes, the money question is important. But I am certain that we worry about diversity for the best reasons: Aesthetics and Ethics. We think Nature is truly, stunningly beautiful; and we think it is our duty to care for her creatures. Disinterested yet passionate stewardship of the environment and its creatures may not be a religion. Nevertheless it invests human life with a sense of holiness. It declares with the unanswerable logic of beauty, that man counts in the universe. 2
Some of us forget that, and peddle diversity as a cure for cancer. The idea is supposed to be that somewhere in the almost infinite soup of biochemicals that life contains, we will find magic bullets to conquer our diseases. But then what? Suppose, one day, we do identify all the arcane biochemicals that it takes to cure cancer (if, in fact, that is what it does take). What then? Should we throw away the useless species? Or maybe instead we should begin research on how grinding up the bones of some poor tropical bird will lead to better house paints?