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Legendary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould dies at 60. (1 Viewer)

Jack Briggs

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This man, the co-author of the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria, which helped to fill in gaps not covered by the model of Natural Selection, was a major hero of mine. I loved the man and his writing. Our world is a little lesser in his absence. Dr. Gould will be sorely missed.
Read about his passing Link Removed .
 

Bill Balcziak

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It says a lot that "The Great Sammich Thread" will probably get 100x more views than this one.

Gould was quite a man.
 

Mike Voigt

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God rest his soul in peace.

The man was an outstanding contributor to science. He will be missed, a lot, by those who care. Unfortunately, one could wish more people would care about his work than, for example, the next "sammich" - though I do not begrudge that thread...

Sigh.

Mike
 

Christopher P

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A professor of mine had worked with him, and listening to him talk about Gould, you could hear how much respect he had for the man's intelligence and character.

Chris
 

CharlesD

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I once had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Gould, and I always enjoyed reading his essays. He will be missed.
 

SteveGon

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I was shocked to hear about this. I've always enjoyed reading Gould's essays and articles - they made me pay attention and think. I like that in an author.

His final collection of essays from Natural History magazine will be out soon. I was planning on picking it up and will definitely do so now, though it will be a sad occasion.

My condolences to his family.
 

Mike Voigt

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Agreed, Dave, and those were just my sentiments & wishes. Tinged by the loss of my mother earlier this year, perhaps.

Regardless of his stance on the matter, though, or mine, he will be missed. He was a great scientist.
 

Micah Cohen

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I knew I'd come back today and see that Jack had started this thread! I imagine SJG joining Darwin et al in... heaven? hell? and they all have the most interesting and enlightened conversation together. It's a dinner party I'd love to attend. At least we have his wonderful writing to continue to challenge us. I've been looking forward to the essay collection. His wisdom will be missed.

MC
 

Ray Suarez

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I was unaware that Dr. Gould was ill. I remember looking forward to his articles in Natural History with great anticipation. He was a brilliant scientist and a great writer. His contributions will be missed.

Ray
 

Greg D

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With the exception of Jared Diamond, I can't think of any other scientist who could take such complex material and make it easily accessible for the lay person. We learned a good deal from the man, he will be missed.
:frowning:
 

Grant B

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I don't think Gould would share that sentiment, since he was an outspoken atheist (unless that changed in the past few years).
Well he's gloating right now because he was right or let out a big DOOOH! when he encounter the Big Guy (...Spirit) and found out he got one wrong

As Luis Bunuel once said, "I'm still an atheist, thank God."
 

Max Leung

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With the exception of Jared Diamond, I can't think of any other scientist who could take such complex material and make it easily accessible for the lay person.
You missed a few :):
Carl Sagan (died 1997 I think), E.O. Wilson (still alive and kicking), Stephen Hawking, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Geoffrey F. Miller, David M. Buss, Mike Gardner, Richard Feynmann, etc. etc.
I haven't read Gould's works, but I do own his Mismeasure of Man. Still haven't gotten around to reading it.
It's fascinating watching the debate between Gould and E.O. Wilson regarding evolutionary psychology. I suggest having a go at E.O. Wilson's "The Ants", I hear it is one of the best naturalist works ever written ("The Ants" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990, as did his "On Human Nature" back in 1977).
 

Alan Kurland

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I got Natural History magazine for many years, just to read his essays. His thoughts will be missed. Sad to hear of his passing.
 

andrew markworthy

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Curiously enough, the British press had been rather lukewarm in their praise of his recent book - I suspect that they would have been rather less harsh had they realised how ill Gould was.

Having said that, Gould would be the first to argue that a hagiographic portrayal of the deceased does nobody any favours. I don't with to dent the general appreciative mood, but it is fair to say that the punctuated equilibrium theory is not particularly highly regarded by a lot of evolutionary theorists - ditto his attack on selfish gene theory. In addition, The Mismeasure of Man is IMHO a fairly one-sided view of intelligence testing. My personal dealings with SJG were limited to sending him a couple of letters very politely pointing out factual errors in a couple of his articles. He never replied, and I later learnt that he was extraordinarily resistant to altering anything once in print. I might add by way of contrast that I've corresponded with Richard Dawkins (author of 'The Selfish Gene') who provided prompt and lengthy replies to a couple of criticisms of his work I had when preparing a book chapter on animal behaviour a few years ago.

Incidentally, Gould was not an anti-religious person. He argued quite cogently that religion and science were separate entities.
 

Max Leung

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Interesting points, Andrew. I myself was curious how few scientists accepted his idea of punctuated equilibrium. I have not encountered any popular science books that lend support to his theory. It's a fairly controversial subject...and it doesn't help when many Creationists quote Gould's works in support for their own views. That must have pissed off Gould to no end!
I can imagine Gould and Darwin having heated arguments...Darwin I feel would have agreed with the evolutionary psychologists. :)
 

Jack Briggs

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Max: It did piss of Dr. Gould--to an extreme. He wasted no breath in excoriating the "creationists" and their blatant agenda. JB
 

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