Read e-book online An Urchin in the Storm: Essays About Books and Ideas PDF

By Stephen Jay Gould

ISBN-10: 0393305376

ISBN-13: 9780393305371

"What excitement to determine the cheating, the inept, and the faulty deftly given their due, whereas compliment is lavished at the deserving―for purposes good and really stated."―Kirkus Reviews

Ranging so far as the fox and as deep because the hedgehog (the urchin of his title), Stephen Jay Gould expands on geology, organic determinism, "cardboard Darwinism," and evolutionary concept during this gleaming assortment.

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For this reason, I have long maintained that the failure of human sociobiology lies not so much in the intransigence of Homo sapiens as in the increasing inadequacy of strict adaptationism as a general approach to evolution, exacerbated by some special problems posed by our own species (see below). The second distinction contrasts sober with pop sociobiology. ” Pop sociobiology does not designate the derivative writing of journalists and science writers, in contrast to the research of academic scientists, for Kitcher takes no cheap shots and his targets are all prominent professional biologists.

Thus the dubious final step had to be taken, and a theory of differences proposed (via feedback loops between genes and culture, for no one could attribute such speed in cultural change to genes alone). Lumsden and Wilson vested their final step in a deeply flawed and now discredited mathematical model in Genes, Mind and Culture (1981)1 and, shorn of equations for the layman, in Promethean Fire (1983). But human sociobiology must be the most peculiar of self-proclaimed revolutions in science. We usually reserve this label for new structures of ideas, fundamentally new ways of knowing (evolution versus creation by fiat, or quantum indeterminacy against the Newtonian machine).

A review of The Giant Pandas of Wolong by George B. Schaller, Hu Jinchu, Pan Wenshi, and Zhu Jing. The Giant Pandas of Wolong, an attempt to decrease the mystery surrounding panda number two, provides extraordinary testimony to another phenomenon, more often part of legend than of fact—international cooperation in science. Only one thousand pandas or so survive in nature, all in six small blocks of bamboo forest (29,500 square kilometers) along the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau—though historical records indicate a former distribution up to one thousand kilometers further east, nearly to the Pacific coast.

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An Urchin in the Storm: Essays About Books and Ideas by Stephen Jay Gould

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