Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution by David F. Prindle

By David F. Prindle

Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould used to be, until eventually his demise in 2002, America's best-known typical scientist. His per 30 days essays in usual heritage journal have been broadly learn by means of either scientists and traditional voters with an curiosity in technological know-how. considered one of his books gained the nationwide booklet Award, and one other used to be a bestseller in 3 nations. thinker Daniel Dennett proclaimed him "America's evolutionist laureate."While many folks have written approximately Gould's technological know-how, professional and con, and some have written approximately his politics, this is often the 1st ebook to discover his technology and politics as a constant entire. Political scientist David F. Prindle argues that Gould's brain labored alongside tracks concurrently --the clinical and the political. All of his thoughts and arguments have been bona fide contributions to technological know-how, yet them all additionally contained in particular political implications. As one instance between many, Prindle cites Gould's debatable argument that if the "tape of evolution" can be rewound after which allowed to unspool back, not anything corresponding to people might most probably evolve. This was once a part of his greater thesis that individuals should not the results of a ordinary tendency towards perfection in evolution, however the results of likelihood, or as Gould placed it, contingency. As Prindle notes, Gould s medical rules frequently sought to assault human hubris, and therefore organize the floor for the political argument that folks may still deal with nature with extra restraint.Prindle evaluates Gould's ideas of punctuated equilibrium (developed with Niles Eldredge), "spandrels", and "exaptation"; his stance on sociobiology, on human inequality and intelligence trying out; his pivotal function within the tradition wars among technological know-how and fundamentalist Christianity; and claims that he was once a closet Marxist, which Prindle disputes. He regularly emphasizes that during most of these debates Gould's technological know-how can't be understood with no an knowing of his politics. He concludes by means of contemplating even if Gould provided a brand new concept of evolution.Anyone with an curiosity in a single of America's nice scientists, or in paleontology, evolutionary idea, or highbrow historical past will locate Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution to be a desirable exploration of the guy and his rules.

Show description

Read or Download Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution PDF

Best scientists books

Sea Legs: Tales Of A Woman Oceanographer

Sea Legs is the tale of Kathleen Crane, one of many first ladies oceanographers out of UCSD's world-renowned Scripps establishment of Oceanography. by means of turns autobiographical and target, Crane tells how her quest for freedom led her to the ocean and her study of deep-sea underwater volcanoes. by reason of the trouble of operating within the U.

The Black Digital Elite: African American Leaders of the Information Revolution

Such a lot discussions of the electronic divide specialise in the distance among African american citizens and others in terms of utilizing, and making the most of, the technological and enterprise possibilities of the knowledge age. even supposing many African americans are locked out of the knowledge revolution, others are an essential component of its improvement and growth.

A word for nature: four pioneering environmental advocates, 1845-1913

The careers and ideas of 4 figures of huge significance within the historical past of yankee conservation—George Perkins Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell—are explored in A note for Nature. Robert Dorman bargains full of life photos of every of those early environmental advocates, who witnessed firsthand the effect of monetary growth and business revolution on fragile landscapes from the forests of latest England to the mountains of the West.

Game Theory: Lectures for Economists and Systems Scientists

This publication, translated following a suggestion from prime online game
theorists within the usa, is predicated on lectures given by way of the writer to
economics scholars on the college of Leningrad. Formal mathe-
matical must haves are just easy linear algebra and research;
the publication presents the scholar with a comparatively uncomplicated introductory textual content
which includes the elemental mathematical equipment used in the idea
of video games. useful examples, lots of them from economics, serve
mainly as an interpretation of the mathematical foundations of the
theory instead of as a sign of its genuine or capability applicability.
This sleek textual content fills a spot within the latest textbook literature on online game
theory.

An appendix to the interpretation of the Russian unique incorporates a col-
lection of chosen difficulties and a bibliography either one of which have been
prepared by means of the translator.

Additional resources for Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution

Sample text

As Gregson and Selzer demonstrate in their discussion of an essay by eminent evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith (and incidentally, one of Gould's chief critics within the profession), Smith created a conventional, almost stereotypically scientific reader-an objective, fair-minded, sober, impersonal, careful, and reasonable pursuer of scientific truth.... 40 Maynard Smith's rhetorical denial of his own rhetorical purpose was thus a pose. The pose did not make him a bad scientist or a poor writer-in truth, he was a greatly accomplished scientist and a clear writer.

That particular reviewer, however, did not speak for all of them. Just as prevalent among the early internal reviews was this sort of statement: I don't think that Prindle is sufficiently critical of Gould regarding the degree to which Gould's political and social views biased his scientific views.... (On Gould's view that mass extinctions are fundamentally random) his political position was so prevalent in his thinking here that it caused him to abandon rational science.... Gould's affirmation of the ruling concept of chance did not lead him to conclusions about merit and equality.

He was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His 1989 book Wonderful Life became a best-seller in three countries. 9 Until his death at the early age of sixty in 2002, he truly was, as philosopher Daniel Dennett proclaimed him, "America's evolutionist laureate"10 But not all were charmed. While Gould was building a reputation as the evolutionary essayist among the public, he was creating an often intense opposition to his person and his ideas within the academic industry of evolutionary biology.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.53 of 5 – based on 9 votes