Nature Did It First!

children's book - cover image - Nature Did It First! - Goodman

Nature is seen as superior to Man since his inventions were first 'invented' by Nature.

Full Review

The theme is in the title! E.g., a drinking straw is not an “original” idea because moths and butterflies used them, in the form of a proboscis, long before Man invented them. What good does it do children to blur the distinction between human conceptual achievement and the unguided, deterministic¹ events of Evolution? After every example, the text practically shouts “Nature Did it First!“  The not-so implicit and misanthropic message is that true human invention is inferior.  One can imagine the impact that idea will have on children: “Oh, well, all that human stuff is nothing new anyway.”

Parents might prefer their children discover that the unique human capacity for volition and conceptual thought –a special consequence of Evolution.  They are extraordinary tools by which humans alone can understand Nature.  Man does not have the fangs of a wolf, the claws of a cat, or the legs of a gazelle, with which to survive.  Man must use his mind.  Through his mind he can, and must, alter Nature to accommodate his biological needs and happiness.  Man’s mind is his natural tool for living.  His use of his mind is no less moral and good, than are the legs of the gazelle.

¹de·ter·min·ism →The philosophical view in which every state of affairs in Nature –including every human event, act, and decision– is the inevitable consequence of prior states of affairs.

In this reviewer’s opinion Nature’s affairs are determined, whereas each man’s affairs are a matter of his choice, influenced by Nature (including other men) according to its Laws (of which a man may take advantage).  Francis Bacon observed, “Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed.”