London: Prince Charles has blamed "de-souled" consumerism for the world's population and environmental problems and apportioned part of the blame to 17th century astronomer Galileo.
Addressing a gathering at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies to mark its 25th anniversary Wednesday, the prince said it was "baffling" that so many scientists professed a faith in god and yet this had little bearing on the "damaging" way science was used to exploit the natural world.
Commenting that scientific research was based on the profit motive, he said: "This imbalance, where mechanistic thinking is so predominant, goes back at least to Galileo's assertion that there is nothing in nature but quantity and motion.
"This is the view that continues to frame the general perception of the way the world works, and how we fit within the scheme of things. As a result, nature has been completely objectified - 'she' has become an 'it' - and we are persuaded to concentrate on the material aspect of reality that fits within Galileo's scheme."
Mere application of technology would not solve the environmental problems, the prince said. "It is no good just fixing the pump and not the well."
According to him, talk of an "environmental crisis" or of a "financial crisis" was actually describing "the outward consequences of a deep, inner crisis of the soul".
On population growth, The Times quoted him as warning about "monumental problems" as the number of people rose.
"It would certainly help if the acceleration slowed down, but it would also help if the world reduced its desire to consume," he said.
First Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 14:03