Legendary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould dies at 60.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, May 20, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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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 here .
     
  2. Bill Balcziak

    Bill Balcziak Supporting Actor

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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.
     
  3. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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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
     
  4. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    He will be missed.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  6. Christopher P

    Christopher P Supporting Actor

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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
     
  7. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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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.
     
  9. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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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.
     
  10. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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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
     
  11. Ray Suarez

    Ray Suarez Stunt Coordinator

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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
     
  12. Greg D

    Greg D Auditioning

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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.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  14. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  16. Alan Kurland

    Alan Kurland Stunt Coordinator

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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.
     
  17. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    Nice touch at the end of last night's Simpsons episode, dedicating it to Mr.Gould. [​IMG]
     
  18. 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.
     
  19. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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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. [​IMG]
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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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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