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In The Abolition of Man (1944), C. S. Lewis called for a "regenerate science" that would "not explain away" when it explained and "remember the whole" when it treated the parts. This introduction to natural history responds to Lewis' call by instilling in the beginning student of biology a love for the beauty and intelligibility of the animal kingdom through the eyes of the classical naturalists. The writers whose works are presented here, including John James Audubon and Jean-Henri Fabre, were some of the greatest observational biologists of all time. They remain useful guides, for the advances in biological science that have happened since they wrote cannot invalidate our first-hand experience of organisms as unified living beings. Nature's Beautiful Order is intended for all students from the 6th through the 8th grades and will also be a fitting supplement for higher-level instruction in biology. In eighteen lessons, students are led through the animal kingdom from the invertebrate animals through the five great vertebrate classes to the culmination of the natural order, a consideration of man as the knowing animal and as a steward of Creation.
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Christopher O. Blum (B.A. Biology / Ph.D. History & Philosophy of Science) is Professor of History & Philosophy at the Augustine Institute.
John A. Cuddeback (Ph.D. Philosophy) is Professor of Philosophy at Christendom College. Both are long-time students of Aristotle and avid outdoorsmen, gardeners, and naturalists.
What sets Nature's Beautiful Order apart from many science texts used in schools is its admiration and reverence for the natural world. The authors kindle the reader's sense of wonder through narratives which integrate specialized information with human experience. Students who embrace the challenge of this book will find a rich field for their imagination and gain a deep appreciation for the marvels of the animal world. --Sister Mary Anne Zuberbueler, O.P. | Dean, School of Education | Aquinas College, Nashville, TN
Indebted to both Aristotle and C.S. Lewis, Professors Blum and Cuddeback clearly and simply but profoundly make the classic rationalist-scholastic arguments about nature and organisms. Their approach was once the common coin of the learned realm. Its replacement by reductionist and mechanistic assumptions and models--"nothing but-ery"--has been a catastrophe, both the external environment of our fellow creatures and our common living setting and the internal environment of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. --M. D. Aeschliman, Ph.D. | Professor Emeritus, Boston University School of Education
Is 'life' merely an illusion generated by chemistry? Is there a difference between an animal and a machine?
Modern biology typically offers reductive answers to these questions. As a result, science education often treats its objects as machines and deprives students of their native ability to appreciate and admire the lives of animals. With Nature's Beautiful Order, Christopher O. Blum and John A. Cuddeback have restored the scientific and empirical study of nature to its true foundation and returned wonder to its proper place in the study of living things. --Michael Hanby, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy of Science | Pontifical John Paul II Institute
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