Stephen Jay Gould
Overview
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist
Paleontology
Paleontology "old, ancient", ὄν, ὀντ- "being, creature", and λόγος "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments...

, evolutionary biologist
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

, and historian of science
History of science
The history of science is the study of the historical development of human understandings of the natural world and the domains of the social sciences....

. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science
Popular science
Popular science, sometimes called literature of science, is interpretation of science intended for a general audience. While science journalism focuses on recent scientific developments, popular science is broad-ranging, often written by scientists as well as journalists, and is presented in many...

 of his generation.
Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 and working at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

 in New York. In the latter years of his life, Gould also taught biology and evolution at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 near his home in SoHo
SoHo
SoHo is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, notable for being the location of many artists' lofts and art galleries, and also, more recently, for the wide variety of stores and shops ranging from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale national and international chain stores...

.

Gould's greatest contribution to science was the theory of punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis...

, which he developed with Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge is an American paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.-Education:...

 in 1972.
Quotations

God bless all the precious little examples and all their cascading implications; without these gems, these tiny acorns bearing the blueprints of oak trees, essayists would be out of business.

Questioning the Millennium (second edition, Harmony, 1999), p. 42

I want to argue that the “sudden” appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. […] Evolutionary “sequences” are not rungs on a ladder, but our retrospective reconstruction of a circuitous path running like a labyrinth, branch to branch, from the base of the bush to a lineage now surviving at its top.

"Bushes and Ladders in Human Evolution", p. 61

If there is any consistent enemy of science, it is not religion, but irrationalism.

"The Reverent Thomas' Dirty Little Planet", p. 141

Each of the major sciences has contributed an essential ingredient in our long retreat from an initial belief in our own cosmic importance. Astronomy defined our home as a small planet tucked away in one corner of an average galaxy among millions; biology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God; geology gave us the immensity of time and taught us how little of it our own species has occupied.

"Uniformity and Catastrophe", p. 147

[A]s a graduate student at Columbia University, I remember the a priori derision of my distinguished stratigraphy professor toward a visiting Australian drifter [a supporter of the theory of continental drift]. […] Today […] my own students would dismiss with even more derision anyone who denied the evident truth of continental drift—a prophetic madman is at least amusing; a superannuated fuddy-duddy is merely pitiful.

"The Validation of Continental Drift", pp. 160–61

I contend that the continued racial classification of Homo sapiens represents an outmoded approach to the general problem of differentiation within a species. In other words, I reject a racial classification of humans for the same reasons that I prefer not to divide into subspecies the prodigiously variable West Indian land snails that form the subject of my own research.

"Why We Should Not Name Human Races—A Biological View", p. 231

Encyclopedia
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist
Paleontology
Paleontology "old, ancient", ὄν, ὀντ- "being, creature", and λόγος "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments...

, evolutionary biologist
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

, and historian of science
History of science
The history of science is the study of the historical development of human understandings of the natural world and the domains of the social sciences....

. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science
Popular science
Popular science, sometimes called literature of science, is interpretation of science intended for a general audience. While science journalism focuses on recent scientific developments, popular science is broad-ranging, often written by scientists as well as journalists, and is presented in many...

 of his generation.
Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 and working at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

 in New York. In the latter years of his life, Gould also taught biology and evolution at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 near his home in SoHo
SoHo
SoHo is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, notable for being the location of many artists' lofts and art galleries, and also, more recently, for the wide variety of stores and shops ranging from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale national and international chain stores...

.

Gould's greatest contribution to science was the theory of punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis...

, which he developed with Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge is an American paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.-Education:...

 in 1972. The theory proposes that most evolution is marked by long periods of evolutionary stability, which is punctuated by rare instances of branching evolution
Cladogenesis
Cladogenesis is an evolutionary splitting event in a species in which each branch and its smaller branches forms a "clade", an evolutionary mechanism and a process of adaptive evolution that leads to the development of a greater variety of sister species...

. The theory was contrasted against phyletic gradualism
Phyletic gradualism
Phyletic gradualism is a model of evolution which theorizes that most speciation is slow, uniform and gradual. When evolution occurs in this mode, it is usually by the steady transformation of a whole species into a new one...

, the popular idea that evolutionary change is marked by a pattern of smooth and continuous change in the fossil record.

Most of Gould's empirical research was based on the land snail
Land snail
A land snail is any of the many species of snail that live on land, as opposed to those that live in salt water and fresh water. Land snails are terrestrial gastropod mollusks that have shells, It is not always an easy matter to say which species are terrestrial, because some are more or less...

 genera Poecilozonites and Cerion. He also contributed to evolutionary developmental biology
Evolutionary developmental biology
Evolutionary developmental biology is a field of biology that compares the developmental processes of different organisms to determine the ancestral relationship between them, and to discover how developmental processes evolved...

, and has received wide praise for his book Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Ontogeny and Phylogeny (book)
Ontogeny and Phylogeny is Stephen Jay Gould's first technical book, published in 1977 by Belknap, a division of Harvard University Press. Gould wrote that Ernst Mayr suggested in passing that he write the book, but that "I only began it as a practice run to learn the style of lengthy exposition...

. In evolutionary theory he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology
Sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology,...

 as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

. He campaigned against creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 and proposed that science and religion should be considered two distinct fields, or "magisteria
Non-overlapping magisteria
Non-overlapping magisteria is the view advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that "science and religion do not glower at each other... [but] interdigitate in patterns of complex fingering, and at every fractal scale of self-similarity." He suggests, with examples, that "NOMA enjoys strong and fully...

", whose authorities do not overlap.

Many of Gould's Natural History
Natural History (magazine)
Natural History is an American natural history magazine. The stated mission of the magazine is to promote public understanding and appreciation of nature and science.- History :...

essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin
Ever Since Darwin
Ever Since Darwin was the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's first book of collected essays. Published in 1977, the collection originated from his monthly column "This View of Life," published in Natural History magazine. Edwin Barber—who was then the editorial director for W. W...

and The Panda's Thumb. Popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man , by Stephen Jay Gould, is a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that “the social and economic differences between human groups — primarily races, classes, and sexes — arise from inherited,...

, Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life (book)
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould...

and Full House
Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin is a book by evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, published in 1996. It was released in the UK as Life's Grandeur, with the same subtitle....

.

Biography

Stephen Jay Gould was born and raised in the community of Bayside
Bayside, Queens
Bayside is a suburban neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York, New York in the United States. Bayside is known as one of the most expensive areas to live in Queens, with well kept homes and landscaping...

, a quiet suburb located in the Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 borough
Borough (New York City)
New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is composed of five boroughs. Each borough now has the same boundaries as the county it is in. County governments were dissolved when the city consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county...

 of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. His father Leonard was a court stenographer
Court reporter
A court reporter, stenotype reporter, voice writing reporter, or transcriber is a person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form, using machine shorthand or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other...

, and his mother Eleanor was an artist
Artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

. When Gould was five years old, his father took him to the Hall of Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

, where he first encountered Tyrannosaurus rex
Tyrannosaurus
Tyrannosaurus meaning "tyrant," and sauros meaning "lizard") is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex , commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other...

. "I had no idea there were such things—I was awestruck," Gould once recalled. It was in that moment that he decided to become a paleontologist.

Raised in a secular Jewish
Secular Jewish culture
Secular Jewish culture embraces several related phenomena; above all, it is the international culture of secular communities of Jewish people, but it can also include the cultural contributions of individuals who identify as secular Jews...

 home, Gould did not formally practice religion and preferred to be called an agnostic. Though he "had been brought up by a Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 father," he stated that his father's politics were "very different" from his own. In describing his own political views, he has said they "tend to the left of center." According to Gould the most influential political books he read were C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

' The Power Elite
The Power Elite
The Power Elite is a book written by the sociologist, C. Wright Mills, in 1956. In it Mills calls attention to the interwoven interests of the leaders of the military, corporate, and political elements of society and suggests that the ordinary citizen is a relatively powerless subject of...

and the political writings of Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

.

While attending Antioch College
Antioch College
Antioch College is a private, independent liberal arts college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States. It was the founder and the flagship institution of the six-campus Antioch University system. Founded in 1852 by the Christian Connection, the college began operating in 1853 with politician and...

 in the early 1960s, Gould was active in the civil rights movement and often campaigned for social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

. When he attended the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

 as a visiting undergraduate, he organized weekly demonstrations outside a Bradford
Bradford
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...

 dance hall which refused to admit Blacks
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

. Gould continued these demonstrations until the policy was revoked. Throughout his career and writings, he spoke out against cultural oppression
Oppression
Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and...

 in all its forms, especially what he saw as the pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 used in the service of racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 and sexism
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

.

Interspersed throughout his scientific essays for Natural History magazine, Gould frequently referred to his nonscientific interests and pastimes. As a boy he collected baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 cards
Baseball card
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on some type of paper stock or card stock. A card will usually feature one or more baseball players or other baseball-related sports figures...

 and remained a fiercely avid Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 fan throughout his life. As an adult he was fond of science fiction
Science fiction film
Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic...

 movies but often lamented their mediocrity (not just in their presentation of science, but in their storytelling
Storytelling
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values...

 as well). His other interests included singing in the Boston Cecilia
Boston Cecilia
The Boston Cecilia is a choral society in Boston, Massachusetts, which is in its 132nd season. Founded in 1876, the ensemble has enjoyed historic relationships with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and famous conductors and composers, such as Arthur Fiedler, Igor Stravinsky, and Antonín Dvořák...

, and he was a great aficionado of Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

 operetta
Operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...

s. He collected rare antiquarian books
Book collecting
Book collecting is the collecting of books, including seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever books are of interest to a given individual collector. The love of books is bibliophilia, and someone who loves to read, admire, and collect...

 and textbooks. He often traveled to Europe, and spoke French, German, Russian, and Italian. He admired Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

. When discussing the Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 tradition, he usually referred to it simply as "Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

." He sometimes alluded ruefully to his tendency to put on weight.

Marriage and family

Gould was twice married. His first marriage was to artist Deborah Lee on October 3, 1965. Gould met Lee while they were students together at Antioch College
Antioch College
Antioch College is a private, independent liberal arts college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States. It was the founder and the flagship institution of the six-campus Antioch University system. Founded in 1852 by the Christian Connection, the college began operating in 1853 with politician and...

. They had two sons, Jesse and Ethan. His second marriage was in 1995 to artist and sculptor Rhonda Roland Shearer
Rhonda Roland Shearer
Rhonda Roland Shearer is an American sculptor, scholar and journalist, who founded the nonprofit organization Art Science Research Laboratory with her late husband Stephen Jay Gould. The mission statement avows that the lab aims to "infuse intellectual rigor and critical thinking in disciplines...

 who is the mother of two children, Jade and London Allen, stepchildren of Gould.

Bout with cancer

In July 1982, Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the name given to the cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen. This type of cancer affects the lining that protects the contents of the abdomen and which also provides a lubricating fluid to enable the organs to move and work properly.The peritoneum is made of two...

, a deadly form of cancer affecting the abdominal lining and frequently found in people who have been exposed to asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

. After a difficult two-year recovery, Gould published a column for Discover magazine
Discover (magazine)
Discover is an American science magazine that publishes articles about science for a general audience. The monthly magazine was launched in October 1980 by Time Inc. It was sold to Family Media, the owners of Health, in 1987. Walt Disney Company bought the magazine when Family Media went out of...

, titled "The Median Isn't the Message", which discusses his reaction to discovering that mesothelioma patients had a median
Median
In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to...

 lifespan of only eight months after diagnosis. He then describes the true significance behind this number, and his relief upon realizing that statistical averages
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

 are just useful abstractions, and do not encompass the full range of variation.

The median is the halfway point, which means that 50% of patients will die before 8 months, but the other half will live longer, potentially much longer. He then needed to determine where his personal characteristics placed him within this range. Considering that the cancer was detected early, the fact he was young, optimistic, and had the best treatments available, Gould figured that he should be in the favorable half of the upper statistical range
Skewness
In probability theory and statistics, skewness is a measure of the asymmetry of the probability distribution of a real-valued random variable. The skewness value can be positive or negative, or even undefined...

. After an experimental treatment of radiation
Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy , radiation oncology, or radiotherapy , sometimes abbreviated to XRT or DXT, is the medical use of ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells.Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control...

, chemotherapy, and surgery, Gould made a full recovery, and his column became a source of comfort for many cancer patients.

Gould was also an advocate of medical marijuana
Medical cannabis
Medical cannabis refers to the use of parts of the herb cannabis as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy, or to synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine...

. During his bout with cancer, he smoked the illegal drug to alleviate the nausea associated with his medical treatments. According to Gould, his use of marijuana
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

 had a "most important effect" on his eventual recovery. In 1998 he testified in the case of Jim Wakeford
Jim Wakeford
Jim Wakeford is a well-known medical marijuana advocate based in Toronto, Canada. In 1989 Wakeford was diagnosed with the HIV virus. The medicines used to treat his illness made him nauseous and inhibited his appetite. Wakeford credits marijuana with helping treat the side effects of the...

, a Canadian medical-marijuana user and activist.

Illness and death

Gould survived for 20 years until another cancer ended his life. Gould died on May 20, 2002 from a metastatic
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 adenocarcinoma
Adenocarcinoma
Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of an epithelium that originates in glandular tissue. Epithelial tissue includes, but is not limited to, the surface layer of skin, glands and a variety of other tissue that lines the cavities and organs of the body. Epithelium can be derived embryologically from...

 of the lung
Human lung
The human lungs are the organs of respiration in humans. Humans have two lungs, with the left being divided into two lobes and the right into three lobes. Together, the lungs contain approximately of airways and 300 to 500 million alveoli, having a total surface area of about in...

, a form of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 which had spread to his brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

. This cancer was unrelated to his abdominal cancer, from which he had fully recovered twenty years earlier. He died in his home "in a bed set up in the library of his SoHo
SoHo
SoHo is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, notable for being the location of many artists' lofts and art galleries, and also, more recently, for the wide variety of stores and shops ranging from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale national and international chain stores...

 loft, surrounded by his wife Rhonda, his mother Eleanor, and the many books he loved."

Scientific career

Gould began his higher education at Antioch College
Antioch College
Antioch College is a private, independent liberal arts college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States. It was the founder and the flagship institution of the six-campus Antioch University system. Founded in 1852 by the Christian Connection, the college began operating in 1853 with politician and...

, graduating with a double major in geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 in 1963. During this time, he also studied abroad at the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

 in the United Kingdom. After completing his graduate work at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1967 under the guidance of Norman Newell
Norman D. Newell
Norman Dennis Newell was professor of geology at Columbia University, and chairman and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.-Personal life:...

, he was immediately hired by Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 where he worked until the end of his life (1967–2002). In 1973, Harvard promoted him to Professor of Geology and Curator
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 of Invertebrate Paleontology
Invertebrate paleontology
Invertebrate paleontology is sometimes described as Invertebrate paleozoology or Invertebrate paleobiology....

 at the institution's Museum of Comparative Zoology
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The Museum of Comparative Zoology, full name "The Louis Agassiz Museum of Comparative Zoology", often abbreviated simply to "MCZ", is a zoology museum located on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is one of three museums which collectively comprise the Harvard Museum...

.

In 1982, Harvard awarded him with the title of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. The following year, in 1983, he was awarded fellowship into the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

, where he later served as president (1999–2001). The AAAS news release cited his "numerous contributions to both scientific progress and the public understanding of science." He also served as president of the Paleontological Society
Paleontological Society
The Paleontological Society, formally the Paleontological Society of America, is an international organisation devoted to the promotion of paleontology. The Society was founded in 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland and was incorporated in April 1968 in the District of Columbia...

 (1985–1986) and the Society for the Study of Evolution
Society for the Study of Evolution
The Society for the Study of Evolution is a professional organization of evolutionary biologists. It was formed in the United States in 1946 to promote evolution and the integration of various fields of science concerned with evolution and to organize the publication of a scientific journal to...

 (1990–1991).

In 1989 Gould was elected into the body of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

. Through 1996–2002 Gould was Vincent Astor
Vincent Astor
William Vincent Astor was a businessman and philanthropist and a member of the prominent Astor family.-Early life:...

 Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

. In 2001 the American Humanist Association
American Humanist Association
The American Humanist Association is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that...

 named him the Humanist of the Year for his lifetime of work. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal
Darwin-Wallace Medal
The Darwin–Wallace Medal is a medal awarded by the Linnean Society of London for "major advances in evolutionary biology". Historically, the medals have been awarded every 50 years, beginning in 1908...

, along with 12 other recipients. Until 2008, this medal had been awarded every 50 years by the Linnean Society of London
Linnean Society of London
The Linnean Society of London is the world's premier society for the study and dissemination of taxonomy and natural history. It publishes a zoological journal, as well as botanical and biological journals...

.

Punctuated equilibrium

Early in his career, Gould and Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge is an American paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.-Education:...

 developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis...

, in which evolutionary change occurs relatively rapidly, alternating with longer periods of relative evolutionary stability. According to Gould, punctuated equilibrium revised a key pillar "in the central logic of Darwinian theory
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

." Some evolutionary biologists have argued that while punctuated equilibrium was "of great interest to biology," it merely modified neo-Darwinism
Modern evolutionary synthesis
The modern evolutionary synthesis is a union of ideas from several biological specialties which provides a widely accepted account of evolution...

 in a manner that was fully compatible with what had been known before. Others however emphasized its theoretical novelty, and argued that evolutionary stasis had been "unexpected by most evolutionary biologists" and "had a major impact on paleontology and evolutionary biology."

Some critics jokingly referred to the theory as "evolution by jerks," which elicited Gould to respond in kind by describing gradualism as "evolution by creeps."

Evolutionary developmental biology

Gould made significant contributions to evolutionary developmental biology
Evolutionary developmental biology
Evolutionary developmental biology is a field of biology that compares the developmental processes of different organisms to determine the ancestral relationship between them, and to discover how developmental processes evolved...

, especially in his work Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Ontogeny and Phylogeny (book)
Ontogeny and Phylogeny is Stephen Jay Gould's first technical book, published in 1977 by Belknap, a division of Harvard University Press. Gould wrote that Ernst Mayr suggested in passing that he write the book, but that "I only began it as a practice run to learn the style of lengthy exposition...

. In this book he emphasized the process of heterochrony
Heterochrony
In biology, heterochrony is defined as a developmental change in the timing of events, leading to changes in size and shape. There are two main components, namely the onset and offset of a particular process, and the rate at which the process operates...

, which encompasses two distinct processes: pedomorphosis and terminal additions. Pedomorphosis is the process where ontogeny
Ontogeny
Ontogeny is the origin and the development of an organism – for example: from the fertilized egg to mature form. It covers in essence, the study of an organism's lifespan...

 is slowed down and the organism does not reach the end of its development. Terminal addition is the process by which an organism adds to its development by speeding and shortening earlier stages in the developmental process. Gould's influence in the field of evolutionary developmental biology continues to be seen in such areas as the evolution of feathers.

Selectionism and sociobiology

Gould championed biological constraints
Biological Constraints
Biological constraints are factors which make populations resistant to evolutionary change. Constraint has played an important role in the development of such ideas as homology and body plans.- Types of constraint:...

 such as the limitations of developmental pathways on evolutionary outcomes, as well as other non-selectionist forces in evolution. In particular, he considered many higher functions of the human brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

 to be the unintended side consequence
Unintended consequence
In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton...

 or by-product of natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

, rather than direct adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

s. To describe such co-opted features he coined the term exaptation
Exaptation
Exaptation, cooption, and preadaptation are related terms referring to shifts in the function of a trait during evolution. For example, a trait can evolve because it served one particular function, but subsequently it may come to serve another. Exaptations are common in both anatomy and behaviour...

 with Elisabeth Vrba. Gould believed this understanding undermines an essential premise
Genetic determinism
Genetic determinism is the belief that genes determine morphological and behavioral traits and do so with little or no influence from environmental factors....

 of human sociobiology
Sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology,...

 and evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

.

Against "Sociobiology"

In 1975, E. O. Wilson
E. O. Wilson
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher , theorist , naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants....

 introduced his analysis of human behavior based on a sociobiological framework. In response, Gould, Richard Lewontin
Richard Lewontin
Richard Charles "Dick" Lewontin is an American evolutionary biologist, geneticist and social commentator. A leader in developing the mathematical basis of population genetics and evolutionary theory, he pioneered the notion of using techniques from molecular biology such as gel electrophoresis to...

, and others
Sociobiology Study Group
The Sociobiology Study Group was academic organization formed to specifically counter sociobiological explanations of human behavior, particularly those expounded by the Harvard entomologist E. O. Wilson in his 1975 book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis...

 from the Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 area wrote the subsequently well referenced letter to The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

titled "Against 'Sociobiology'". This open letter
Open letter
An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally....

 criticised Wilson's notion of a "deterministic view of human society and human action."

But Gould did not rule out sociobiological explanations for many aspects of animal behavior, writing: "Sociobiologists have broadened their range of selective stories by invoking concepts of inclusive fitness and kin selection to solve (successfully I think) the vexatious problem of altruism—previously the greatest stumbling block to a Darwinian theory of social behavior. . . . Here sociobiology has had and will continue to have success. And here I wish it well. For it represents an extension of basic Darwinism to a realm where it should apply."

Spandrels and the Panglossian Paradigm

With Richard Lewontin, Gould wrote an influential 1979 paper entitled "The Spandrels of San Marco
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture...

 and the Panglossian Paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

", which introduced the architectural term "spandrel
Spandrel (biology)
In evolutionary biology, a Spandrel is a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic, rather than a direct product of adaptive selection.-Origin of Term:...

" into evolutionary biology. In architecture, a spandrel is a curved area of masonry which exists between arches supporting a dome. Spandrels, also called pendentive
Pendentive
A pendentive is a constructive device permitting the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room. The pendentives, which are triangular segments of a sphere, taper to points at the bottom and spread at the top to establish the continuous circular or...

s in this context, are found particularly in Gothic churches
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

.

When visiting Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 in 1978, Gould noted that the spandrels of the San Marco
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture...

 cathedral, while quite beautiful, were not spaces planned by the architect. Rather the spaces arise as "necessary architectural byproducts of mounting a dome on rounded arches." Gould and Lewontin thus defined spandrels in evolutionary biology to mean any biological feature of an organism that arises as a necessary side consequence of other features, which is not directly selected for by natural selection. Examples include the "masculinized genitalia in female hyenas, exaptive use of an umbilicus as a brooding chamber by snails, the shoulder hump of the giant Irish deer
Irish Elk
The Irish Elk or Giant Deer , was a species of Megaloceros and one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia, from Ireland to east of Lake Baikal, during the Late Pleistocene. The latest known remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago...

, and several key features of human mentality."

In Voltaire's Candide
Candide
Candide, ou l'Optimisme is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best ; Candide: or, The Optimist ; and Candide: or, Optimism...

, Dr. Pangloss is portrayed as a clueless scholar who, despite the evidence, says that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds." Gould and Lewontin asserted that it is Panglossian for evolutionary biologists to view all traits as atomized things that had been naturally selected for, and criticised biologists for not granting theoretical space to other causes, such as phyletic and developmental constraints
Biological Constraints
Biological constraints are factors which make populations resistant to evolutionary change. Constraint has played an important role in the development of such ideas as homology and body plans.- Types of constraint:...

. The relative frequency of spandrels, so defined, versus adaptive features in nature, remains a controversial topic in evolutionary biology. An illustrative example of Gould's approach can be found in Elisabeth Lloyd's
Elisabeth Lloyd
Elisabeth Anne Lloyd is a philosopher of biology. She currently holds the Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and is also Professor of Biology, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, Affiliated Faculty Scholar at the Kinsey Institute for Research in...

 case study of the female orgasm as a by-product of shared developmental pathways. Gould also wrote on this topic in his essay "Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples", prompted by Lloyd's earlier work.

Evolutionary progress

Gould favored the argument that evolution has no inherent drive towards long-term progress
Largest-scale trends in evolution
The history of life on Earth seems to show a clear trend; for example, it seems intuitive that there is a trend towards increasing complexity in living organisms. More recent organisms, such as mammals, appear to be much more complex than older organisms, such as bacteria. However, there are...

. Uncritical commentaries often portray evolution as a ladder of progress
March of Progress (illustration)
The March of Progress, or simply March of Progress, is one of the most famous and recognizable scientific illustrations ever produced. A compressed presentation of 25 million years of human evolution, it depicts 15 human evolutionary forebears lined up as if marching in a parade from left to right...

, leading towards bigger, faster, and smarter organisms, the assumption being that evolution is somehow driving organisms to get more complex and ultimately more like human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

kind. Gould argued that evolution's drive was not towards complexity, but towards diversification
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. Because life is constrained to begin with a simple starting point
Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

, any diversity resulting from this left wall
Random walk
A random walk, sometimes denoted RW, is a mathematical formalisation of a trajectory that consists of taking successive random steps. For example, the path traced by a molecule as it travels in a liquid or a gas, the search path of a foraging animal, the price of a fluctuating stock and the...

 will be perceived to move in the direction of higher complexity. But life, Gould argued, can easily adapt towards simplification, as is often the case with parasites
Parasitism
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host . These are now called macroparasites...

.

In a review of Full House
Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin is a book by evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, published in 1996. It was released in the UK as Life's Grandeur, with the same subtitle....

, Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 approved of Gould's general argument, but suggested that he saw evidence of a "tendency for lineages to improve cumulatively their adaptive fit to their particular way of life, by increasing the numbers of features which combine together in adaptive complexes. ... By this definition, adaptive evolution is not just incidentally progressive, it is deeply, dyed-in-the wool, indispensably progressive."

Cladistics

Gould never embraced cladistics
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

 as a method of investigating evolutionary lineages and process, possibly because he was concerned that such investigations would lead to neglect of the details in historical biology, which he considered all-important. In the early 1990s this led him into a debate with Derek Briggs
Derek Briggs
Derek Ernest Gilmor Briggs is an Irish paleontologist and taphonomist based at Yale University. Briggs is one of three paleontologists who were key in the reinterpretation of the fossils of the Burgess Shale.-Professional achievements:...

, who had begun to apply quantitative cladistic techniques to the Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale
The Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields, and the best of its kind. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils...

 fossils, about the methods to be used in interpreting these fossils. Around this time cladistics rapidly became the dominant method of classification in evolutionary biology. Inexpensive but increasingly powerful personal computers made it possible to process large quantities of data about organisms and their characteristics. Around the same time the development of effective polymerase chain reaction
Polymerase chain reaction
The polymerase chain reaction is a scientific technique in molecular biology to amplify a single or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence....

 techniques made it possible to apply cladistic methods of analysis to biochemical features as well.

Technical work on land snails

Most of Gould's empirical research pertained to land snails. He focused his early work on the Bermudian
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

 genus Poecilozonites
Bermuda Land Snail
Bermuda land snails, scientific name Poecilozonites, are an endemic genus of pulmonate land snail in the family Gastrodontidae ....

, while his later work concentrated on the West Indian
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 genus Cerion. According to Gould "Cerion is the land snail of maximal diversity in form throughout the entire world. There are 600 described species of this single genus. In fact, they're not really species, they all interbreed, but the names exist to express a real phenomenon which is this incredible morphological diversity. Some are shaped like golf balls, some are shaped like pencils.…Now my main subject is the evolution of form, and the problem of how it is that you can get this diversity amid so little genetic difference, so far as we can tell, is a very interesting one. And if we could solve this we'd learn something general about the evolution of form."

Given Cerion's extensive geographic diversity, Gould later lamented that if Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 had only cataloged a single Cerion it would have ended the scholarly debate over which island Columbus had first set foot on in America.

Influence

Gould is one of the most frequently cited scientists in the field of evolutionary theory. His 1979 "spandrels" paper has been cited more than 3,800 times. In Palaeobiology—the flagship journal of his own speciality—only Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 and G.G. Simpson have been cited more often. Gould was also a considerably respected historian of science. Historian Ronald Numbers
Ronald Numbers
Ronald L. Numbers is an American historian of science. He was awarded the 2008 George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society for "a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar".- Biography :...

 has been quoted as saying: "I can't say much about Gould's strengths as a scientist, but for a long time I've regarded him as the second most influential historian of science (next to Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American historian and philosopher of science whose controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was deeply influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term "paradigm shift," which has since become an English-language staple.Kuhn...

)."

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

Shortly before his death, Gould published a long treatise recapitulating his version of modern evolutionary theory: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory is a technical book on macroevolutionary theory by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, published only two months before his death. The volume is divided into two parts. The first is a historical study and exegesis of classical evolutionary thought,...

(2002).

As a public figure

Gould became widely known through his popular science essays in Natural History
Natural History (magazine)
Natural History is an American natural history magazine. The stated mission of the magazine is to promote public understanding and appreciation of nature and science.- History :...

magazine and his best-selling books on evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

. Many of his essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin
Ever Since Darwin
Ever Since Darwin was the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's first book of collected essays. Published in 1977, the collection originated from his monthly column "This View of Life," published in Natural History magazine. Edwin Barber—who was then the editorial director for W. W...

and The Panda's Thumb, while his popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man , by Stephen Jay Gould, is a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that “the social and economic differences between human groups — primarily races, classes, and sexes — arise from inherited,...

, Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life (book)
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould...

and Full House
Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin is a book by evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, published in 1996. It was released in the UK as Life's Grandeur, with the same subtitle....

.

A passionate advocate of evolutionary theory, Gould wrote prolifically on the subject, trying to communicate his understanding of contemporary evolutionary biology to a wide audience. A recurring theme in his writings is the history and development of evolutionary, and pre-evolutionary, thought
History of evolutionary thought
Evolutionary thought, the conception that species change over time, has roots in antiquity, in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as well as in medieval Islamic science...

. He was also an enthusiastic baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 fan and made frequent references to the sport in his essays. Many of his baseball essays were anthologized in his posthumously published book Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville (2003).

Although a proud Darwinist, his emphasis was less gradualist
Gradualism
Gradualism is the belief in or the policy of advancing toward a goal by gradual, often slow stages.-Politics and society:In politics, the concept of gradualism is used to describe the belief that change ought to be brought about in small, discrete increments rather than in abrupt strokes such as...

 and reductionist
Reductionism
Reductionism can mean either an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can...

 than most neo-Darwinists
Neo-Darwinism
Neo-Darwinism is the 'modern synthesis' of Darwinian evolution through natural selection with Mendelian genetics, the latter being a set of primary tenets specifying that evolution involves the transmission of characteristics from parent to child through the mechanism of genetic transfer, rather...

. He fiercely opposed many aspects of sociobiology
Sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology,...

 and its intellectual descendant evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

. He devoted considerable time to fighting against creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 (and the related constructs Creation science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

 and Intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

). Most notably, Gould provided expert testimony against the equal-time creationism law in McLean v. Arkansas
McLean v. Arkansas
McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F. Supp. 1255, 1258-1264 , was a 1981 legal case in Arkansas.A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas by various parents, religious groups and organizations, biologists, and others who argued that the...

. Gould later developed the term "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA) to describe how, in his view, science and religion could not comment on each other's realm. Gould went on to develop this idea in some detail, particularly in the books Rocks of Ages (1999) and The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox (2003). In a 1982 essay for Natural History Gould wrote:
The anti-evolution petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a statement issued in 2001 by the Discovery Institute, a conservative non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, USA, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design.The statement expresses skepticism about the ability of random...

spawned the National Center for Science Education
National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is the United States' leading anti-creationist organization, and defends the teaching of evolutionary biology and opposes...

's anti-petition Project Steve
Project Steve
Project Steve is a list of scientists with the given name Steven or a variation thereof who "support evolution"...

, which is named in Gould's honor.

Gould also became a noted public face of science, often appearing on television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. In 1984 Gould received his own NOVA
NOVA (TV series)
Nova is a popular science television series from the U.S. produced by WGBH Boston. It can be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, and in more than 100 other countries...

 special on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

. Other appearances included interviews on CNN's
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 Crossfire
Crossfire (TV series)
Crossfire was a current events debate television program that aired from 1982 to 2005 on CNN. Its format was designed to present and challenge the opinions of a politically liberal pundit and a conservative pundit.-Format:...

, NBC's
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 The Today Show, and regular appearances on the Charlie Rose
Charlie Rose (talk show)
Charlie Rose is an American television interview show, with Charlie Rose as executive producer, executive editor, and host. The show is syndicated...

 show. Gould was also a guest in all seven episodes of the Dutch talk-series A Glorious Accident
A Glorious Accident
Een schitterend ongeluk was a 1993 documentary featuring several prominent scientists and philosophers. Hosted by Wim Kayzer, guests included Daniel Dennett, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Jay Gould, George Page, Oliver Sacks, Rupert Sheldrake, and Stephen Toulmin...

, which he appeared with his good friend Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks
Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE , is a British neurologist and psychologist residing in New York City. He is a professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also holds the position of Columbia Artist...

.

Gould was featured prominently as a guest in Ken Burns'
Ken Burns
Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

 PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 documentary Baseball
Baseball (documentary)
Baseball is an 18½ hour, Emmy Award-winning documentary series by Ken Burns about the game of baseball. First broadcast on PBS, this was Burns' ninth documentary.- Format :...

, as well as PBS's
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 highly produced Evolution series. Gould was also on the Board of Advisers to the influential Children's Television Workshop television show, 3-2-1 Contact
3-2-1 Contact
3-2-1 Contact is an American science educational television show that aired on PBS from 1980 to 1988, and an adjoining children's magazine. The show, a production of the Children's Television Workshop, teaches scientific principles and their applications. Dr. Edward G...

, where he made frequent guest appearances.

In 1997 he voiced a cartoon version of himself on the television series The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

. In the episode "Lisa the Skeptic
Lisa the Skeptic
"Lisa the Skeptic" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons ninth season, first aired on November 23, 1997. On an archaeological dig with her class, Lisa discovers a skeleton that resembles an angel...

", Lisa finds a skeleton that many people believe is an apocalyptic
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 angel. Lisa contacts Gould and asks him to test the skeleton's DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

. However the fossil is discovered to be a marketing gimmick for a new mall. During production the only phrase Gould objected to was a line in the script that introduced him as the "world's most brilliant paleontologist." In 2002 the show paid tribute to Gould after his death, dedicating the season 13 finale to his memory. Gould had died 2 days before the episode aired.

Controversies

Gould received many accolades for his scholarly work and popular expositions of natural history, but was not immune from criticism by those in the biological community who felt his public presentations were, for various reasons, out of step with mainstream evolutionary theory. The public debates between Gould's supporters and detractors have been so quarrelsome that they have been dubbed "The Darwin Wars" by several commentators.

John Maynard Smith
John Maynard Smith
John Maynard Smith,His surname was Maynard Smith, not Smith, nor was it hyphenated. F.R.S. was a British theoretical evolutionary biologist and geneticist. Originally an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War, he took a second degree in genetics under the well-known biologist J.B.S....

, an eminent British evolutionary biologist, was among Gould's strongest critics. Maynard Smith thought that Gould misjudged the vital role of adaptation in biology, and was also critical of Gould's acceptance of species selection
Unit of selection
A unit of selection is a biological entity within the hierarchy of biological organisation that is subject to natural selection...

 as a major component of biological evolution. In a review of Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of...

's book Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life is a book by Daniel Dennett which argues that Darwinian processes are the central organizing force that gives rise to complexity...

, Maynard Smith wrote that Gould "is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory." But Maynard Smith has not been consistently negative, writing in a review of The Panda's Thumb that "Stephen Gould is the best writer of popular science now active. . . . Often he infuriates me, but I hope he will go right on writing essays like these." Maynard Smith was also among those who welcomed Gould's reinvigoration of evolutionary paleontology.

One reason for such criticism was that Gould appeared to be presenting his ideas as a revolutionary way of understanding evolution, and argued for the importance of mechanisms other than natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

, mechanisms which he believed had been ignored by many professional evolutionists. As a result, many non-specialists sometimes inferred from his early writings that Darwinian explanations had been proven to be unscientific (which Gould never tried to imply). Along with many other researchers in the field, Gould's works were sometimes deliberately taken out of context by creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 as a "proof" that scientists no longer understood how organisms evolved. Gould himself corrected some of these misinterpretations and distortions of his writings in later works.

Gould also disagreed with Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 over the importance of gene selection in evolution. Dawkins argued that evolution is best understood as competition among genes (or replicators), while Gould advocated the importance of multi-level selection, including selection amongst genes
Transposon
Transposable elements are sequences of DNA that can move or transpose themselves to new positions within the genome of a single cell. The mechanism of transposition can be either "copy and paste" or "cut and paste". Transposition can create phenotypically significant mutations and alter the cell's...

, cell lineages
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

, organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s, demes
Deme (biology)
In biology, a deme is a term for a local population of organisms of one species that actively interbreed with one another and share a distinct gene pool...

, species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, and clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

s. Criticism of Gould and his theory of punctuated equilibrium can be found in chapter 9 of Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker
The Blind Watchmaker
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins in which he presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. He also presents arguments to refute certain criticisms made on...

and chapter 10 of Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life is a book by Daniel Dennett which argues that Darwinian processes are the central organizing force that gives rise to complexity...

. Dawkins subsequently offered a concession via an endnote in a new edition of his book The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene is a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. It builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's first book Adaptation and Natural Selection. Dawkins coined the term "selfish gene" as a way of expressing the gene-centred view of evolution as opposed to the...

, where he states:

p.86 Progressive evolution may be not so much a steady upward climb as a series of discrete steps from stable plateau to stable plateau

This paragraph is a fair summary of one way of expressing the now well-known theory of punctuated equilibrium. I am ashamed to say that, when I wrote my conjecture, I, like many biologists in England at the time, was totally ignorant of that theory, although it had been published three years earlier. I have since, for instance in The Blind Watchmaker, become somewhat petulant - perhaps too much so - over the way the theory of punctuated equilibrium has been oversold. If this has hurt anybody's feelings, I regret it. They may like to note that, at least in 1976, my heart was in the right place.

Opposition to sociobiology and evolutionary psychology

Gould also had a long-running public feud with E. O. Wilson
E. O. Wilson
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher , theorist , naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants....

 and other evolutionary biologists over human sociobiology
Sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology,...

 and its later descendant evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

 (which Gould, Lewontin, and Maynard Smith opposed, but which Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of...

, and Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker
Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author...

 advocated). These debates reached their climax in the 1970s, and included strong opposition from groups like the Sociobiology Study Group
Sociobiology Study Group
The Sociobiology Study Group was academic organization formed to specifically counter sociobiological explanations of human behavior, particularly those expounded by the Harvard entomologist E. O. Wilson in his 1975 book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis...

 and Science for the People
Science for the People
Science for the People is a left-wing organization that emerged from the antiwar culture of the United States in the 1970s. A similar organization of the same name was founded in 2002....

. Pinker accuses Gould, Lewontin, and other opponents of evolutionary psychology of being "radical scientists," whose stance on human nature is influenced by politics rather than science. Gould stated that he made "no attribution of motive in Wilson's or anyone else's case" but cautioned that all human beings are influenced, especially unconsciously, by our personal expectations and biases. He wrote:
Gould's primary criticism held that human sociobiological explanations lacked evidential support, and argued that adaptive behaviors are frequently assumed to be genetic for no other reason than their supposed universality, or their adaptive nature. Gould emphasized that adaptive behaviors can be passed on through culture
Meme
A meme is "an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena...

 as well, and either hypothesis is equally plausible. Gould did not deny the relevance of biology to human nature, but reframed the debate as "biological potentiality vs. biological determinism." Gould stated that the human brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

 allows for a wide range of behaviors. Its flexibility "permits us to be aggressive or peaceful, dominant or submissive, spiteful or generous… Violence, sexism, and general nastiness are biological since they represent one subset of a possible range of behaviors. But peacefulness, equality, and kindness are just as biological—and we may see their influence increase if we can create social structures that permit them to flourish."

Cambrian fauna

Gould's interpretation of the Cambrian
Cambrian
The Cambrian is the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from Mya ; it is succeeded by the Ordovician. Its subdivisions, and indeed its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where Britain's...

 Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale
The Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields, and the best of its kind. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils...

 fossils in his book Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life (book)
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould...

emphasized the striking morphological disparity (or "weirdness") of the Burgess Shale fauna, and the role of chance in determining which members of this fauna survived and flourished. He used the Cambrian fauna as an example of the role of contingency in the broader pattern of evolution.

Gould's view was criticized by Simon Conway Morris
Simon Conway Morris
Simon Conway Morris FRS is an English paleontologist made known by his detailed and careful study of the Burgess Shale fossils, an exploit celebrated in Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould...

 in his 1998 book The Crucible Of Creation. Conway Morris stressed those members of the Cambrian fauna that resemble modern taxa. He also promoted convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

 as a mechanism producing similar forms in similar environmental circumstances, and argued in a subsequent book that the appearance of human-like animals is likely. Paleontologists Derek Briggs
Derek Briggs
Derek Ernest Gilmor Briggs is an Irish paleontologist and taphonomist based at Yale University. Briggs is one of three paleontologists who were key in the reinterpretation of the fossils of the Burgess Shale.-Professional achievements:...

 and Richard Fortey
Richard Fortey
Richard A. Fortey FRS is a British palaeontologist and writer.-Career:Richard Fortey studied geology at the University of Cambridge and had a long career as a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Prof. Fortey’s research interests include, above all, trilobites...

 have also argued that much of the Cambrian fauna may be regarded as stem groups of living taxa, though this is still a subject of intense research and debate, and the relationship of many Cambrian taxa to modern phyla has not been established in the eyes of many palaeontologists.

Paleontologist Richard Fortey
Richard Fortey
Richard A. Fortey FRS is a British palaeontologist and writer.-Career:Richard Fortey studied geology at the University of Cambridge and had a long career as a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Prof. Fortey’s research interests include, above all, trilobites...

 noted that prior to the release of Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life (book)
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould...

, Conway Morris shared many of Gould's sentiments and views. It was only after publication of Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life (book)
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould...

that Conway Morris revised his interpretation and adopted a more progressive stance towards the history of life.

Mismeasure of Man

Gould was the author of The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man
The Mismeasure of Man , by Stephen Jay Gould, is a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that “the social and economic differences between human groups — primarily races, classes, and sexes — arise from inherited,...

(1981), a history
History of science
The history of science is the study of the historical development of human understandings of the natural world and the domains of the social sciences....

 and inquiry of psychometrics
Psychometrics
Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational measurement...

 and intelligence testing
Intelligence quotient
An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. When modern IQ tests are constructed, the mean score within an age group is set to 100 and the standard deviation to 15...

. Gould investigated the methods of nineteenth century craniometry, as well as the history of psychological testing
Intelligence quotient
An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. When modern IQ tests are constructed, the mean score within an age group is set to 100 and the standard deviation to 15...

. Gould claimed that both theories developed from an unfounded belief in biological determinism
Biological determinism
Biological determination is the interpretation of humans and human life from a strictly biological point of view, and it is closely related to genetic determinism...

, the view that "social and economic differences between human groups—primarily races, classes
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

, and sexes—arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology."

It was reprinted in 1996 with the addition of a new foreword and a critical review of The Bell Curve
The Bell Curve
The Bell Curve is a best-selling and controversial 1994 book by the Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray...

. The Mismeasure of Man has generated perhaps the greatest controversy of all of Gould's books. It has received both widespread praise and extensive criticism, including claims of misrepresentation. In 2011 a study conducted by six anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 reanalyzed Gould's claim that Samuel Morton
Samuel George Morton
Samuel George Morton was an American physician and natural scientist. Morton, reared a Quaker but became Episcopalian in midlife, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1820. After earning an advanced degree from Edinburgh University in...

 unconsciously manipulated his skull measurements, and concluded that Gould's analysis was poorly supported and incorrect. They praised Gould for his "staunch opposition to racism" but concluded "we find that Morton's initial reputation as the objectivist of his era was well-deserved." Ralph Holloway
Ralph Holloway
Ralph Leslie Holloway, Jr. is a physical anthropologist at Columbia University and research associate with the American Museum of Natural History. Since obtaining his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkley in 1964, Holloway has served as a professor of anthropology at Columbia...

, one of the co-authors of the study, commented, "I just didn't trust Gould...I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ came and he never even bothered to mention Michael's study, I just felt he was a charlatan."

Non-overlapping magisteria

In his book Rocks of Ages (1999), Gould put forward what he described as "a blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution to...the supposed conflict between science and religion." He defines the term magisterium as "a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution." The non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) principle therefore divides the magisterium of science to cover "the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry." He suggests that "NOMA enjoys strong and fully explicit support, even from the primary cultural stereotypes of hard-line traditionalism" and that NOMA is "a sound position of general consensus, established by long struggle among people of goodwill in both magisteria." This view has not been without criticism, however. In his book The God Delusion
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that...

, Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 argues that this division is not quite as simple as it seems, as few religions exist without miracles impinging on the scientific magisterium, and that NOMA is an implicit endorsement that religion has a magisterium, which he strongly opposes.

Articles

During his lifetime, Stephen Jay Gould's publications were numerous. One review of his publications between 1965 and 2000 noted 479 peer-reviewed papers, 22 books, 300 essays, and 101 major book reviews by him. A select number of his papers are listed online.

Books

The following is a list of books either written or edited by Stephen Jay Gould, including those published posthumously, after his death in 2002. While some books have been republished at later dates, by multiple publishers, the list below comprises the original publisher and publishing date.
  • 1977. online preview
  • 1977.
  • 1980.
  • 1980.
  • 1981.
  • 1983.
  • 1985.
  • 1987. online preview
  • 1987.
  • 1989. . 347 pp.
  • 1991. . 540 pp.
  • 1992.
  • 1993.
  • 1993. The Book of Life. Preface, pp. 6–21. New York: W. W. Norton (S. J. Gould general editor, 10 contributors). ISBN 0-393-05003-3 review citing original publishing date
  • 1995.
  • 1996.
  • 1997.
  • 1998.
  • 1999.
  • 2000.
  • 2000.
  • 2002. online preview
  • 2002.
  • 2003.
  • 2003.
  • 2006. This is an anthology of Gould's writings edited by Paul McGarr and Steven Rose
    Steven Rose
    Steven P. Rose is a Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at the Open University and University of London.-Life:...

    , introduced by Steven Rose.
  • 2007. Book review

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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