Stan Shebs wrote:
For instance, it was not possible for 19th-century
people to consider
ecological consequences of clearcutting forests, since there was no
science to inform them.
The Phoenicians were aware of the consequences of denuding the cedar
forests of Lebanon.
Some writers blame Europeans for bringing
diseases to the New World - centuries before anybody even had any
idea how diseases got around.
I'm sure that General Amherst knew what he was doing when he gave
infected blankets to the Indians in 1767. At the Battle of Kaffa in
1346 the besieging Tartars used catapults to fling plague infected
bodies into the city. Understanding how infectious diseases worked did
not prevent them from being used for military purposes.
We must indeed avoid blaming past generations for things that they could
not have understood, but this does not absolve them of all responsibility.