The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2006 - Science - 654 pages
16 Reviews
"Nature is so wondrously complex and varied that almost anything possible does happen....I rejoice in [its] multifariousness and leave the chimera of certainty to politicians and preachers."—from Ever Since Darwin

Upon his death in 2002, Stephen Jay Gould stood at the pinnacle among observers of the natural world, recognized by Congress as a "living legend." His prodigious legacy—sixteen best-selling and prize-winning books, dozens of scientific papers, an unbroken series of three hundred essays in Natural History—combined to make Gould the most widely read science writer of our time. This indispensable collection of forty-eight pieces from his brilliant oeuvre includes selections from classics such as Ever Since Darwin and The Mismeasure of Man, plus articles and speeches never before published in book form.

This volume, the last that will bear his name, spotlights his elegance, depth, and sheer pleasure in our world—a true celebration of an extraordinary mind.
  

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Review: The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

User Review  - Ray Kohler - Goodreads

I never enjoyed Gould, but decided to give this all-in-one collection another chance. I still don't enjoy Gould, but at least I finished it. His prose is just too clever, and his arguments too contrarian. Read full review

Review: The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

User Review  - Kelsey - Goodreads

Stephen Jay Gould has to be one of my most favorite non fiction writers of all time. His explanations are clear and thought provoking. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

I Have Landed
15
The Median Isnt the Message
26
The Streak of Streaks
32
Baseball Father and Me
41
A Brief Legal Survey from Scopes to Scalia
49
Of Two Minds and One Nature
59
Biographies
65
Thomas Burnets Battleground of Time
71
Opus 100
307
Size and Shape
319
How the Zebra Gets Its Stripes
324
Size and Scaling in Human Evolution
333
Stages and Sequences
359
Iconographies of Progress
362
Up Against a Wall
376
Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology
391

The Lying Stones of Marrakech
85
The Stinkstones of Oeningen
103
The Razumovsky Duet
114
The Power of Narrative
127
Not Necessarily a Wing
143
Worm for a Century and All Seasons
155
Resolving Evolution Oddest Coupling
166
The Piltdown Conspiracy
182
Evolutionary Theory
205
The Evolution of Life on Earth
209
Challenges to NeoDarwinism and Their Meaning for a Revised View of Human Consciousness
222
Revising the Three Central Features of Darwinian Logic
238
The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change
261
Betting on Chanceand No Fair Peeking
267
The Power of the Modal Bacter or Why the Tail Cant Wag the Dog
278
The Great Dying
286
The Validation of Continental Drift
290
Phyletic Size Decrease in Hershey Bars
297
Size Form and Shape
303
Pervasive Influence
395
A Critique of the Adaptationist Program
423
More Things in Heaven and Earth
444
Posture Maketh the Man
467
Freuds Evolutionary Fantasy
473
Racism Scientific and Otherwise
487
Paul Broca and the Heyday of Craniology
490
The Most Unkindest Cut of All
534
A Tale of Two Work Sites
546
Carrie Bucks Daughter
564
Just in the Middle
574
Religion
587
Nonoverlapping Magisteria
590
The Diet of Worms and the Defenestration of Prague
604
Darwin and the Munchkins of Kansas
616
Hooking Leviathan by Its Past
619
Sources and Acknowledgments
636
Index
641
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Born in New York City in 1941, Stephen Jay Gould received his B.A. from Antioch College in New York in 1963. He received a Ph.D. in paleontology from Columbia University in 1967 and has been a professor at Harvard University since then. He is also curator of invertebrate paleontology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research has been mainly in the evolution and speciation of land snails. Gould is a leading proponent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. This theory holds that few evolutionary changes occur among organisms over long periods of time, and then a brief period of rapid changes occurs before another long, stable period of equilibrium sets in. An outspoken advocate of the scientific outlook, Gould has been a vigorous defender of evolution against its creation-science opponents in popular magazines focusing on science. He writes a column for Natural History and has produced a remarkable series of books that display the excitement of science for the layperson.

Steven Rose is Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences at the Open University. Long active in the politics of sciences, their joint books include Science and Society and Alas Poor Darwin.

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