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General Biology ~ Textbook

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Textbook for High School Biology ~ 10th Grade

Why we chose this text? A crucial requirement for us was finding a book that reflected a proper understanding of the distinction between the methods of discovery and the modes of knowing proper to experimental science and natural philosophy. In brief, both spheres of inquiry begin with experience. Experimental science remains at the level of specific, observed reality, seeking increased precision and greater probability of accuracy through testing, repetition, and controlled experimentation. Natural philosophy delves into the understanding of universal concepts and necessary truths through the abstraction of universals. Biology tells us man has an immune system and how it works; philosophy of man tells us man is a rationally ensouled animal. The distinctions in method and mode are introduced in our trivium sequence.

The authors of this text carefully seek to express and respect the distinction. On the one hand, they promote good science by demanding precision in method by promoting a clear understanding of the limits of what is known, and by not attempting to present truths from Revelation or philosophy as scientific alternatives. On the other hand, they promote good philosophy by not allowing the discoveries of experimental science to be elevated as the only things known or generalized as more than probable theories, avoiding materialistic reductionism and scientism.

In addition, the authors promote a number of other pedagogical ideas that are wonderful: they emphasize mastery over breadth, keeping the text tight and focused. They emphasize integration, bringing in history, theory, mathematics, and promoting good English usage. And, they are carefully cognizant of the need to appreciate (not merely know) reality in wonder and gratitude.

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"I purchased Alpha Year last summer for my first grader, and we have so thoroughly enjoyed the program. My 2 and a half year old son even loves it!  He loves to recite the poetry and the history. What really astonished me, however, was his ability to apply the information he learned from the songs. I was talking to my husband about our history lesson, and I mentioned 'the king of Persia' and he shouted, 'that's King Cyrus!' " Camille in California

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