As promised to a reader who inquired as to what books I would recommend to any naturalist, regardless of where on the planet they may live or study, I offer the following list of books that I consider as highly beneficial to anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of natural history. The list is, of […]
About Johannes E. Riutta
Posts by Johannes E. Riutta:
Whenever I read an article about global climate change, it seems as though the focus is always forward – “what are we going to do?” However as an amateur historian of natural history, my mind tends to work better when asking questions not of the future but of the past.
As luck would have it, the grade school I attended had just that year reduced its size from a kindergarten through sixth grade school to a kindergarten through fourth grade school as the result of a then new “middle school” being opened as part of a nineteen-seventies progressive restructuring that took in the fifth and sixth grade students from our grade school as well as two other grade schools in the area. As a result of this, my school ended up with a number of no longer needed classrooms – one of which was a biology lab.
I’ll save the story of what we discovered one day in the storage closet in that lab for another time; however for the purpose of this essay, what we discovered on the tables during a teacher-sent errand into this now-abandoned lab were microscopes – old-fashioned but perfectly serviceable microscopes, both compound and dissecting styles. None of the remaining teachers at the school had any use for them, so for the better part of that year they simply sat collecting dust in the usually locked lab.
“But I am aiming for a bigger audience than students of life sciences. Reading the Origin can teach anyone at any level important lessons about the structure of science and the meaning of the word theory. […] Reading the Origin can also highlight the role that that evolutionary theory played in shaping the future development of science.”