Modern Biology – Gregor Mendel Edition

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Last year sometime, I picked up a few textbooks at The Ark [a thrift store] – pretty good ones, too. A biology textbook for non-science majors, a microbiology one, and I think there was one on chemistry.

And then there was this one.

…which I thought was neat, because it was old. And, hey, old biology textbooks are fun, right?

Just so you know I’m not kidding about the age —

1960. I guess that’s not too old. There are people alive now who were old enough to have used this book back then. But it’s not something we’d be happy to see in use today. Because it’s a little old, and we don’t even like seeing books from the 1990s being given to our pwecious children.

I scanned the first few pages, just because. They’re a little large, so…consider yourself warned, or something. They’re also kinda crappy, because the book is larger than my scanner, and it’s kinda…a book, so it’s got some blurry bits, where it’s all curved away from everything else. So what you’re getting to see is…the middle part, minus bits of the edges, and blurry, because I’m too lazy to piece together some proper scans for you. Maybe I’ll do that later, if anyone actually wants the full images.

Scan of the title page.
Scan of “The Holt Science Program” Page, which I’m including…just because it was there.
Scan of Indicia and Preface

I’m now going to assume that you’re actually interested in what these pages say, and copy them here.


JAMES H. OTTO is head of the Science Department of George Washington High School, Indianapolis, Indiana – ALBERT TOWLE is a teacher of biology at James Lick High School, San Jose, California – TRUMAN J. MOON was head of the Science Department of Middletown High School, Middletown, New York – BROTHER JOSEPH A. KUNTZ was Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio – BROTHER EDWARD J. DURY is a teacher of biology at Purcell High School, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Cover depicts the process of photosynthesis, or food manufacture, in green plants (represented here only by the leaf), without which life on earth (the circle behind the leaf) would not be possible. The molecular configurations illustrate how green plants, in the presence of the green chemical chlorophyll and radiant energy from the sun, utilize carbon (black atoms), hydrogen (red atoms) and oxygen (blue atoms) in molecules of carbon dioxide and water to manufacture food in the form of glucose (a sugar) and release oxygen.

The Title pages repeat the theme of the cover, with animals and man groupsed around the leaf in the brown circle (earth) to illustrate that the basic life functions of all animal life are ultimately dependent on photosynthesis in green plants for their food supply, and therefore for their existence.

Okay so far, I guess. Right?


In this day of great emphasis on science in the high school curriculum , the biology course assumes a position of increasing importance. This revision of the Gregor Mendel Edition of MODERN BIOLOGY is designed to aid the teacher in meeding the challenge of present-day science teaching.

MODERN BIOLOGY combines the best features of the type, systematic, and principles course. In the study of a type organism, the student deals with a complete plant or animal and the interrelation of all its organs and life activities. This approach emphasized the unity of life. On the other hand, the systematic study of plant and animal groups shows the relationship of all living things, the development of life through various stages of complexity, and the wide variety of organisms which compose our living world. Finally, the study of principles is accomplished largely by the inductive approach. In his study of various organisms, the student discovers those principles which are illustrated by each group of living things. This method of investigation is ideally suited to laboratory study and provides maximum opportunity for research and group or individual project activity.

The organization of MODERN BIOLOGY follows a logical and sequential pattern. Unit 1 introduces biology as a science and relates it to the other sciences. The emphasis on cellular biology in this unit relates the study of biology to many of the most vital areas of research today. Unit 2 broadens the understanding of biological concepts to include the ecological relationships of organisms to their physical and biological environments. The study of classification emphasizes the structural relationship of organisms and introduces the science of taxonomy.

With this general background, the student is prepared to consider specific groups of organisms which illustrate additional principles of structure, function, and adaptation. Unit 3 follows the systematic sequence from simple to more xomplex organisms in presenting the flowerless plants – algae, bacteria, fungi, mosses, and ferns. Unit 4, the seed plants, is of great biological significance because of the many principles illustrated and because of our close association and dependence upon this group.

Unit 5 presents invertebrate animals, beginning with the protozoans. As each animal group is studied in a systematic sequence from simple to more xomplex, the student discovers the pattern of animal development. The study of invertebrates provides the background for a consideration of vertebrate life in Unit 6. As the student progresses through the study of the classes of vertebrates, he becomes aware of the basic similarities in body structure as well as advances which make each group more efficient than the preceding one.

The study of animal biology leads to the climax study of the human body in Unit 7. Problems relating to radiation and space biology, discussed in two chapters at the close of this unit, are of special significance in this Space Age.

Unit 8 presents the problems of disease and the biological conquest of infection. Genetics, plant and animal breeding, eugenics, and eutenics are presented in the chapters of Unit 9. Although conservation is a constant theme which runs throughout the book, the total conservation program is treated fully in the chapters of Unit 10.

The authors of this Gregor Mendel Edition of MODERN BIOLOGY deeply appreciate the cooperation of Father Henry J. Fritz, S.M., in making this revision one of sound Catholic Philosophy, and of Brother Joseph Concannon, S.M.

Wait, what? “…sound Catholic Philosophy?”

I’ve got a bad feeling about this….

Scan of the Foreword.


One hundred years ago in Austria a man of medium height, corpulent figure, high forehead and friendly blue eyes, was engaged in teaching physics and natural history at the Brunn Modern School. His garb distinguished him as a Catholic priest and member of the Augustinian order. He was Gregor Mendel, a man interested in all aspects of natural science. As a teacher, his exposition was clear and luminous. He aimed more at stimulating interest than imparting facts. His pupils concurred in praising his method of instruction, his justice and his kindness. These traits won the praise of his contemporaries, but his permanent fame rests on his experiments and discoveries in biology. In his monastery garden he followed carefully for many years the results of the hybridization of plants. His painstaking method and penetrating observation led to the discovery of the basic laws of heredity, known today as the Mendelian laws. Mankind has since benefited immensely from the application of these laws, especially in animal husbandry and farming. In his own lifetime, however, the importance of Mendel’s achievement was not recognized. His published report of his discoveries was generally ignored until sixteen years after his death, when three other scientists rescued his work from oblivion. Mendel died as Abbot of his monastery on January 6, 1994, in the sixty-second year of his life.

It is to the memory of Gregor Mendel that the present edition of MODERN BIOLOGY is dedicated. The work is substantially the same as the previous edition that has already been so favorably received by teachers and students in Catholic schools. The modifications that have been made will make the present edition even more acceptable to them. Some of these changes have been made for the sake of scientific precision, others in cases where biological science touches upon the philosophic area. A broad teleological view is maintained, that is, the view that nature operates for definite ends or goals. Countless instances of purpose or design are brought before us in this book. If animals without foresight of ends, and plants with no knowledge whatever, perform manifold and complex activities serving an obvious purpose, we cannot fail to recognize that some ruling Intelligence guides the ways of nature, and we come thus to the knowledge of the existence and providence of the Creator.

As to man’s nature in particular, there can be no doubt, for those who grasp the true character of his reasoning processes, of the spirituality of the soul. Although the term animal intelligence has become more or less current, the cleverness of animals certainly differs in kind from the conceptual thought which we find in man. Man’s intellective capacity, moreover, depends on sense knowledge only extrinsically; that is, sense knowledge is only a preliminary condition for the formation of concept. Some concepts, in fact, rise above all material aspects, as for instances, our concept of truth, virtue, or spirit. Man’s mental activities are evidence, not just of a nervous system, but of a spiritual soul.

The word biology in its derivation means the science of life. The obvious intent of the biologist is to study the life of bodily things – plants, animals, men – or the life of organisms. But the concept of life pertains to realities beyond the scope of biology. Theology tells us of the life of angels. Reason discloses to us the existence of a living God, and at the same time the fact that He is in no sense material. God’s perfections are mirrored in His creatures, as every effect reflects something of the cause that produced it. The life of corporeal beings, marvelous in itself, is but a distant reflection of Infinite Life. Almost 400,000 species of plants and animals are something to amaze and bewilder the mind. How much more sublime must be the Life of Him who gives life to them all!

As an aid toward visualizing the place of biology in its relation to other fields of learning and the objects they pursue, the following schema is presented.

…here’s the chart they’re talking about.

When I bought this thing, I missed the part where it was a textbook from a Catholic school. I just thought it was all…quaint and old, and that’s why it had a funny chart about deities and angels and shit.

The really sad part is that the rest of it is probably okay, as far as the science goes. For 1960. Which means that it’s not at all what the cdesign proponentsists want in our Biology classes.

I’m sure there are interesting things elsewhere in the book, which means that I can probably stretch this thing into a few more blog posts, if anyone really wants to know what’s in this thing. I just thought I should share that whole chart thing now, since it’s been a good six months or so since I bought the book, and my first thought upon seeing said chart was ‘shit, I gotta share that with the rest of the interwebs.’

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