This sample of an academic paper on Nonmoral Nature reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
In Stephen Jay Gould’s “Nonmoral Nature,” he discusses nature, and the difference between cruelty in animals and humans, and explains how the same moral can not be applied for both. The order in which he presents the different points of view is very important. At the beginning he supports his writing with sources from scientists that are not famous. However, to close out his work, he uses the well-known scientist Darwin to leave a lasting impression on the reader. In this essay, Gould provides both sides of moral in animals as well as humans, and then gives his explanation, then lets the reader decide from his own point of view.
According to Gould, morality in nature can be perceived from the existent power, wisdom and goodness of God instead of the no-God thesis of Darwin. If moral nature is different in animals and humans, and cruelty can not be applied to both at the same time, then a God can exist. When Reverend Francis Henry died in 1829, he left money to support a series of books by many writers “on how the power, wisdom and goodness of God, [are] manifested in the creation” (474). Gould, as many other writers did, wrote about morals in nature, and how it can not be applied to human morality.
The example of the Ichneumon fly or wasp is brought up by many scientists. William Buckland explains how the female locates the appropriate host and converts it into food for the larva, which then grows inside, keeping the host alive, “preserving intact the essential heart and central nervous system. Finally, the larva completes its work and kills its victim” (476). Gould clarifies Darwin’s main theory, that for all the misery in the world, a God can not exist because he would not have created the Ichneumonidea (481).
Furthermore, Gould cites scientists that have a different way of viewing cruelty in nature. Reverend William Kirb focused on the virtue of the mother love that is displayed by provisioning the young with such care (476). Mirvat also makes an argument based on the fact that the suffering of animals is different from the suffering of people. Mirvat states that suffering is connected to the mental condition of the sufferer, that we as humans see it differently, and that the more cultivated and refined men are, the more they suffer from recollection of past moments and anticipation of future ones (481).
If moral nature can not be applied the same way in animals and humans, then an all-powerful God may perhaps exist. Gould’s writing is very effective because he has a strong argument supported by strong evidence and logic. Science — who knows much about this topic in an English class? Gould wasn’t limited by this. Although science sometimes can have words that are not regularly used in universal English, the clarity needed to understand these complex concepts is offered by Gould through explaining the scientific word used right after using it.
For instance, “The ichneumon fly… ichnemonoidea are a group of wasps, not flies, that include more species than all the vertebrates combined” (475). Even though advanced biology terms and Latin classification are used to identify his subject matter, the explanation of the word teaches the audience the new word so that it might have understanding of the area under discussion. Furthermore, “Nonmoral Nature” is a very controversial matter that many scientists have written on.
For the improvement of the reader, since science might not be his or her strongest ability, and the knowledge on the subject might be limited, Gould introduces the matter by quoting other scientists who have studied the issue before. This is very effective since the readers do not feel unintelligent while reading about a subject that is unknown to them. Gould makes the interpretation flow easily from one paragraph to the next one, helping the reader understand the general concept as well as his ideas.
To illustrate, Gould quotes William Buckland to show what the big controversy is by presenting his thesis by questioning if God is good, why are we “surrounded with pain, suffering, and apparently senseless cruelty in the animal world? ” (474). Moreover, Gould points up William Kirby, who in the same situation “focused instead upon the virtue of the mother love displayed by wasp in provisioning their young with such care” (479). Gould is very effective by teaching the readers about the subject, and then explaining his point.
This way the reader feels part of the essay and has an opinion, and by being part of this dissertation the reader gains understanding. Equally important for the reader is the understanding and creating of one’s own ideas on the area under discussion. Logic through critical thinking is what in fact makes the difference between an effective essay and a vain one. The way Gould uses the words and his sources helps the audience to make its own judgment on the subject. This was very effective in the nineteenth century when he first wrote the essay as well as nowadays.
The reader wants to feel smart and able to make a personal resolution, without the author having all the influence. For instance, at the end of the essay Gould quotes Darwin as he says; “Let every man hope and believe what he can” (484). This was a good strategy because Gould was telling the readers that they were intelligent enough to make their own judgment on the subject. Gould inspires the readers to look at the facts that he gathered and find their own conclusion on moral nature.
This was done in a very effective way because the reader learns to understand Gould’s writing instead of judging his ideas, and after doing that the readers decide what their hopes and beliefs are. Consequently, because of the techniques used by Gould in this essay, it was easy for the reader to understand the subject as well as the point he was trying to make. If either non-God believers or Christians that believe in the power, wisdom and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation, read this essay, they would not feel harassed. The way that Gould looks at morality is to unlock a new idea for the people without forcing them to believe it.
The essay was tremendously effective through the use of support to his writing. In fact, the support of his thesis with the ideas of more distinguished scientists at the end leaves a lasting impression on the reader. As Darwin said; “Let every man hope and believe what he can” (484). Gould lets the reader hope and believe what he can.
Works Cited Gould, Stephen Jay. “Nonmoral Nature. ” A World of Ideas Essential Readings for College Writers. By Lee A Jacobus. Bedford: St. Martin’s, 2002. 471-484. Rpt. in A World of Ideas Essential Readings for College Writers.