Naming Nature the Clash Between Instinct and Science
written by Caroll Yoon
W. W. Norton and Company | ISBN 9780393338713
Paperback – 352 pages
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Biologist and journalist Carol Kaesuk Yoon takes us beyond genus and species to deep cognition, revealing our drive to name life. She tells the strange story of scientists leading people away from the impulse to name the living world, even as they are driven by it. Naming Nature, sure to delight readers who love words and nature, is a rich journey of naming from Linnaeus, whose system turned classification from a hobby to a science and Darwin, who ended the idea of rigid species definitions, to today's dream of naming all of earth's species and listing them online. Readers will see science's limitations and will feel the urgency of staying connected to the natural world by using familiar, rather than scientific, names. Naming Nature illuminates the reasons why we might care less whether a whale is a fish or a mammal as long as we know its importance in our world.