Many able Gardeners and Husbandmen are yet Ignorant of the Reason of their Calling; as most Artificers are of the Reason of their own Rules that govern their excellent Workmanship. But a Naturalist and Mechanick of this sort is Master of the Reason of both, and might be of the Practice too, if his Industry kept pace with his Speculation; which were every commendable; and without which he cannot be said to be a complete Naturalist or Mechanick.
To a naturalist nothing is indifferent; the humble moss that creeps upon the stone is equally interesting as the lofty pine which so beautifully adorns the valley or the mountain: but to a naturalist who is reading in the face of the rocks the annals of a former world, the mossy covering which obstructs his view, and renders indistinguishable the different species of stone, is no less than a serious subject of regret.
In every bio-region, one of the most urgent tasks is to rebuild the community of naturalists - so radically depleted in recent years, as young people have spent less time in nature, and higher education has placed less value on such disciplines as zoology... ... The times are right for the return of the amateur, twenty-first-century, citizen naturalist. To be a citizen naturalist is to take personal action, to both protect and participate in nature.
Being a philosophical naturalist does not mean that one thinks that science can provide all of the answers. That is scientism and that is wrong. I don't think a billion buckets of science could speak to the problems raised by the Tea Party. Being a philosophical naturalist does not mean that one thinks that the only truths are those of science. I think the claim just made in the last sentence is true but I don't think it is a claim of science. It means that you use science where you can and you respect and try to emulate its standards.
The happiness even of the naturalist depends in some measure upon his ignorance, which still leaves him new worlds of this kind to conquer. He may have reached the very Z of knowledge in the books, but he still feels half ignorant until he has confirmed each bright particular with his eyes.
Robert Wilson Lynd
It seems to me that every phenomenon, every fact, itself is the really interesting object. Whoever explains it, or connects it with other events, usually only amuses himself or makes sport of us, as, for instance, the naturalist or historian. But a single action or event is interesting, not because it is explainable, but because it is true.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In the Life of Darwin by his son, there is related an incident of how the great naturalist once studied long as to just what a certain spore was. Finally he said, "It is this, for if it isn't, then what is it?" And all during his life he was never able to forget that he had been guilty of this unscientific attitude, for science is founded on certitude, not assumption.
But the best read naturalist who lends an entire and devout attention to truth, will see that there remains much to learn of his relation to the world, and that it is not to be learned by any addition or subtraction or other comparison of known quantities, but is arrived at by untaught sallies of the spirit, by a continual self-recovery, and by entire humility.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My father was a naturalist and a very spiritual person, who had a great desire to pass on his knowledge to others, so that they could receive the benefits of Jiu Jitsu as well. Growing up in this environment, I learned the art of Jiu Jitsu is actually a method through which one strives for self-perfection.
My dad was somewhat of a naturalist and used to teach us about different birds and trees. So did a fifth grade teacher who made a lasting impact on me; to this day, I remember his lessons about counting the needles on pine trees, seeing if they are twisted or straight, and about checking the tips of oak leaves to see if they are pointed or lobed.
You cannot do without one specialty. You must have some base-line to measure the work and attainments of others. For a general view of the subject, study the history of the sciences. Broad knowledge of all Nature has been the possession of no naturalist except Humboldt, and general relations constituted his specialty.
I started as - well, I wanted to be Poet Laureate. And I wanted to be a naturalist. That's how I began. I didn't have any desire to go and be a scientist. Louis Leakey channeled me there. I'm delighted he did. I love science. I love analyzing and making sense of all these observations. So, it was the perfect rounding off of who I was into who I am.
[Theodore Roosevelt] was a naturalist on the broadest grounds, uniting much technical knowledge with knowledge of the daily lives and habits of all forms of wild life. He probably knew tenfold more natural history than all the presidents who had preceded him, and, I think one is safe in saying, more human history also.
The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us.
The naturalist is a civilized hunter. He goes alone into the field or woodland and closes his mind to everything but that time and place, so that life around him presses in on all the senses and small details grow in significance. He begins the scanning search for which cognition was engineered. His mind becomes unfocused, it focuses on everything, no longer directed toward any ordinary task or social pleasantry
E. O. Wilson
Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks the wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in every mountain stratum, in every new law of color, fact of astronomy, or atmospheric influence which observation or analysis lay open.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The natural historian is not a fisherman who prays for cloudy days and good luck merely; but as fishing has been styled "a contemplative man's recreation," introducing him profitably to woods and water, so the fruit of the naturalist's observations is not in new genera or species, but in new contemplations still, and science is only a more contemplative man's recreation.
Henry David Thoreau
The interior life expands and fills; it approaches the edge of skin; it thickens with its own vivid story; it even begins to hear rumors, from beyond the horizon skin's rim, of nations and wars. You wake one day and discover your grandmother; you wake another day and notice, like any curious naturalist, the boys.
The classicist, and the naturalist who has much in common with him, refuse to see in the highest works of art anything but the exercise of judgement, sensibility, and skill. The romanticist cannot be satisfied with such a normal standard; for him art is essentially irrational - an experience beyond normality, sometimes destructive of normality, and at the very least evocative of that state of wonder which is the state of mind induced by the immediately inexplicable.
If the juices of the body were more chymically examined, especially by a naturalist, that knows the ways of making fixed bodies volatile, and volatile fixed, and knows the power of the open air in promoting the former of those operations; it is not improbable, that both many things relating to the nature of the humours, and to the ways of sweetening, actuating, and otherwise altering them, may be detected, and the importance of such discoveries may be discerned.
In their choice of lovers both the male and the female reveal their essential nature. The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart. Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss. A skilled naturalist, by filing these materials, can reconstruct the oceanic depths from which they have been uprooted.
Jose Ortega y Gasset
The phaenomena afforded by trades, are a part of the history of nature, and therefore may both challenge the naturalist's curiosity and add to his knowledge, Nor will it suffice to justify learned men in the neglect and contempt of this part of natural history, that the men, from whom it must be learned, are illiterate mechanicks... is indeed childish, and too unworthy of a philosopher, to be worthy of an honest answer.
The ordinary naturalist is not sufficiently aware that when dogmatizing on what species are, he is grappling with the whole question of the organic world & its connection with the time past & with Man; that it involves the question of Man & his relation to the brutes, of instinct, intelligence & reason, of Creation, transmutation & progressive improvement or development. Each set of geological questions & of ethnological & zool. & botan. are parts of the great problem which is always assuming a new aspect.
Was it a camp?" Daniel asked. Sean nodded. "A naturist camp." "Maya will feel right at home", Corey said from his spot on a wooden lawn chair. Daniel sputtered a laugh and Sean tried to hide his. "Naturist, not naturalist," I said. "It means nudist." Corey leaped up and spun. "You mean old, naked butts sat on those chairs?
Pedestrianism, [William Bingley] claims, is the most 'useful' mode of travel, 'if health and strength are not wanting.' 'To a naturalist, it is evidently so; since, by this means, he is enabled to examine the country as he goes along; and when he sees occasion, he can also strike out of the road, amongst the mountains or morasses, in a manner completely independent of all those obstacles that inevitably attend the bringing of carriages or horses.' Bingley has a specific reason here for valuing the combination of freedom and intimacy with one's surroundings enjoyed by the pedestrian, but his rationale is generalisable to other travellers.
He is not a true man of science who does not bring some sympathy to his studies, and expect to learn something by behavior as well as by application. It is childish to rest in the discovery of mere coincidences, or of partial and extraneous laws. The study of geometry is a petty and idle exercise of the mind, if it is applied to no larger system than the starry one. Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics; that is mixed mathematics. The fact which interests us most is the life of the naturalist. The purest science is still biographical.
Henry David Thoreau
The llama was wearing a bridle with a rope attached where you might expect to find reins. A greeting card was hanging from his neck: 'Hola Como se llama? Yo me llamo C. Llama.' During his preschool years, Clay's favorite cartoon had featured a Spanish-speaking boy naturalist who was always saving animals with his girl cousin, and Clay still knew enough of the language to translate: 'Hello. How do you call yourself? I call myself Como C. Llama.' The llama's name is What is your name?
I am above the forest region, amongst grand rocks and such a torrent as you see in Salvator Rosa's paintings vegetation all a scrub of rhodos. with Pines below me as thick and bad to get through as our Fuegian Fagi on the hill tops, and except the towering peaks of P. S. [perpetual snow] that, here shoot up on all hands there is little difference in the mt scenery-here however the blaze of Rhod. flowers and various colored jungle proclaims a differently constituted region in a naturalist's eye and twenty species here, to one there, always are asking me the vexed question, where do we come from? [Letter to Charles Darwin 24 Jun 1849]
Joseph Dalton Hooker
In the beginning of the eighteenth century, De Maillet made the first serious attempt to apply the doctrine [of evolution] to the living world. In the latter part of it, Erasmus Darwin, Goethe, and Lamarck took up the work more vigorously and with better qualifications. The question of special creation, or evolution, lay at the bottom of the fierce disputes which broke out in the French Academy between Cuvier and St.-Hilaire; and, for a time, the supporters of biological evolution were silenced, if not answered, by the alliance of the greatest naturalist of the age with their ecclesiastical opponents. Catastrophism, a short-sighted teleology, and a still more short-sighted orthodoxy, joined forces to crush evolution.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information; and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with that botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable. You can know more and more about one thing but you can never know everything about one thing: it's hopeless. So that we live surrounded by more or less ghostly objects- that machine, there, for instance. It's a complete ghost to me- I don't understand a thing about it and, well, it's a mystery to me, as much of a mystery as it would be to Lord Byron.
It is in fact an orderly community. The green plants are food for the plant eaters, which are food for the predators, and some of those predators are food for still other predators. And what's left over is food for the scavengers, who return to the earth nutrients needed by the green plants. It's a system that has worked magnificently for billions of years. Filmmakers understandably love footage of gore and battle, but any naturalist will tell you that the species are not in any sense at war with one another. The gazelle and lion are enemies only in the minds of the Takers. The lion that comes across a herd of gazelles doesn't massacre them as an enemy would. It kills one, not to satisfy its hatred of gazelles but to satisfy its hunger, and once it has made its kill the gazelles are perfectly content to go on grazing with the lion in the midst.
We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins - they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of to-day - of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago. These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars - neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience - and for them all, man is indebted to man.
Robert G. Ingersoll
The character of the Indian's emotion left little room in his heart for antagonism toward his fellow creatures... For the Lakota (one of the three branches of the Sioux Nation), mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man. The Lakota was a true naturalist - a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, and the attachment grew with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their alters were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing. This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its live giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
Chief Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux
There is a tree. At the downhill edge of a long, narrow field in the western foothills of the La Sal Mountains - southeastern Utah. A particular tree. A juniper. Large for its species - maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter. For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding on in bad times. "Beautiful" is not a word that comes to mind when one first sees it. No naturalist would photograph it as exemplary of its kind. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, stapled barbed wire to it in using it as a corner post for a fence line, and nailed signs on it on three sides: NO HUNTING; NO TRESPASSING; PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE. In commandeering this tree as a corner stake for claims of rights and property, miners and ranchers have hacked signs and symbols in its bark, and left Day-Glo orange survey tape tied to its branches. Now it serves as one side of a gate between an alfalfa field and open range. No matter what, in drought, flood heat and cold, it has continued. There is rot and death in it near the ground. But at the greening tips of its upper branches and in its berrylike seed cones, there is yet the outreach of life. I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much, as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a will in it - toward continuing to be, come what may.
Darwin, with his Origin of Species, his theories about Natural Selection, the Survival of the Fittest, and the influence of environment, shed a flood of light upon the great problems of plant and animal life. These things had been guessed, prophesied, asserted, hinted by many others, but Darwin, with infinite patience, with perfect care and candor, found the facts, fulfilled the prophecies, and demonstrated the truth of the guesses, hints and assertions. He was, in my judgment, the keenest observer, the best judge of the meaning and value of a fact, the greatest Naturalist the world has produced. The theological view began to look small and mean. Spencer gave his theory of evolution and sustained it by countless facts. He stood at a great height, and with the eyes of a philosopher, a profound thinker, surveyed the world. He has influenced the thought of the wisest. Theology looked more absurd than ever. Huxley entered the lists for Darwin. No man ever had a sharper sword - a better shield. He challenged the world. The great theologians and the small scientists - those who had more courage than sense, accepted the challenge. Their poor bodies were carried away by their friends. Huxley had intelligence, industry, genius, and the courage to express his thought. He was absolutely loyal to what he thought was truth. Without prejudice and without fear, he followed the footsteps of life from the lowest to the highest forms. Theology looked smaller still. Haeckel began at the simplest cell, went from change to change - from form to form - followed the line of development, the path of life, until he reached the human race. It was all natural. There had been no interference from without. I read the works of these great men - of many others - and became convinced that they were right, and that all the theologians - all the believers in "special creation" were absolutely wrong. The Garden of Eden faded away, Adam and Eve fell back to dust, the snake crawled into the grass, and Jehovah became a miserable myth.
Robert G. Ingersoll