Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science

Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science

Paperback

By (author) Carol Kaesuk Yoon

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 203mm x 23mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 21 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0393338711
  • ISBN 13: 9780393338713
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 27 black-and-white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 532,227

Product description

Biologist Carol Kaesuk Yoon explores the historical tension between evolutionary biology and taxonomy. Carl Linnaeus struggled in the eighteenth century to define species in light of their mutability while still relying on intuitive, visual judgments. As taxonomy modernized, it moved into labs, yielding results counterintuitive to humanity's innate predisposition to order the world. By conceding scientific authority to taxonomists, Yoon argues, we've contributed to our own alienation from nature.

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Author information

Carol Kaesuk Yoon received her Ph.D. PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University and has been writing about biology for The New York Times since 1992. Her articles have also appeared in Science, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Yoon has taught writing as a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University's John S. Knight Writing Program, working with professors to help teach critical thinking in biology classes. She has also served as a science education consultant to Microsoft. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Review quote

"A beautiful riddle of a book." "Impossible to put down." "Starred Review: Superb." "A sensuous delight to read." "Starred Review: Optimistic, exhilarating, and revolutionary." "Bracing and brilliant." "Ingenious ... compelling."

Back cover copy

Advance praise for Naming Nature: "Original, delightful, and wise. . . . Yoon descends from the best writers of popular science, Stephen Jay Gould and Brian Greene among them."-Sue Halpern, author of Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly "Naming Nature will be enjoyed by every biologist, birder, and general nature lover."-Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, and author of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment "Naming Nature is rich with prickly characters, from Linnaeus to Ernst Mayr to Willi Hennig, who animate the fascinating story of how science has learned to find a deep orderliness within life's diversity."-David Quammen, author of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin "To name is to know is to be able to love, and that is biodiversity's last best hope: Such is the thesis of this compelling, quirky, beautifully written guide."-David Takacs, author of Philosophies of Paradise: The Idea of Biodiversity "A fascinating history of science, an illumination of nature's improbable exuberance, and a thoughtful evaluation of occasional conflict between man-made definitions and living reality."-Deborah Blum, author of Monkey Wars "Optimistic, exhilarating and revolutionary."-Publishers Weekly, starred review