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The word naturalist is often misused or applied to many different disciplines. When writing a research paper on naturalists or naturalism, keep in mind which perspective your professor wants. If you are unsure, Paper Masters can help you focus your naturalist research paper towards any discipline you need.

A naturalist is a scientist versed in natural history, especially in the areas of zoology or botany. Naturalists tend to take a holistic approach to their world view, seeing the interconnectedness of the world through science. According to The Center for Naturalism, a naturalist can be characterized by the following:

  • Recognizing that all of nature is interconnected
  • An compassion for all things within nature
  • Ethical consideration for the interconnectedness of nature and respect for all inhabitants

Naturalists and Charles Darwin

Perhaps the most famous naturalist is Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution, first specified in his book On the Origin of the Species. In 1831, Darwin sailed as the naturalist on the HMS Beagle, famously spending time studying the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. Darwin was able to compare the isolated species on the islands to similar species in Latin America, and began to develop Darwin's theories, which he first published in 1859.

According to the American Society of Naturalists, they hold the idea that human beings are immersed in the natural world and cannot be excluded from the processes that drive biology. Using science to dispel supernaturalism, naturalists maintain that every creature, including humans, can be seen on a physical level, and that reasoning is a product of evolution.

Naturalists and Free Will

Naturalists also support the notion that human beings do not have free will. Everything that a human being is and does is caused by something in the natural world. Human beings are the result of their experiences and behaviors, not the result of some external force such as a deity. Human beings are ultimately constrained by the physical laws of the universe.

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