The publication of the Galaxy Edition of The Arrogance of Humanism is a welcome event to me, primarily because it allows me to reach many new readers, especially college students and others who cannot afford to buy expensive, hard cover books. I have also taken advantage of this republication to correct a few minor errors and to clarify some passages in the text. The text remains essentially unchanged.
Because it is a provocative book with a provocative title it has aroused some debate, and this new preface affords me the opportunity to respond to the more important of the issues that have been raised. But before I discuss these issues I want to consider the problem of being "up-to-date." In the three years that have passed since I finished writing the first edition many things have happened. The tragedy of Love Canal was revealed, the rate of destruction of the Amazonian rain forest accelerated, the failure of a forty-six-cent computer component twice signaled the start of a nuclear war, China adopted more of the methods and goals of modern industrial technology, the large mammals and birds of Uganda's parklands were nearly all destroyed, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered organic farming.
Nevertheless, I see no reason to cram these events into the text for the sake of appearances. Certainly new incidents that illustrate the principles of this book are happening all the time, but the principles themselves do not change. If the original illustrations of these principles are clear, then to tack on or substitute new ones as they occur, simply because they occur,