In Defense of Gould
Posted: 27 March 2007 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Scientists and intellectuals seem so quick to criticize Stephen Jay Gould. :( I read [i:981d55ad87]Rocks of Ages[/i:981d55ad87] by Stephen Jay Gould immediately after I read [i:981d55ad87]The God Delusion[/i:981d55ad87] by Richard Dawkins (and yes, this was intentional). :wink: While I do question the ultimate intellectual soundness of the NOMA doctrine, I believe it is more productive to engage in dialogue with religious people than to castigate their beliefs or to claim to prove conclusively that there is no God.  Stephen Jay Gould was a peacemaker, and I respect him for that.

Posted: 27 March 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Joined  2006-11-28

I agree absolutely. I think Gould contributed a great deal to the understanding of evolution in relation to human behavior, as well as evolutionary studies proper. I think his Spandrels of San Marcos and the Panglossian Paradigm is still an oustanding answer to the excesses of sociobiology. I have come to disagree with the NOMA concept, though I think Dawkins and others go too far in their certainties about what science can and cannot say about God and religion. Even though I think Gould was wrong about some things, I too respect his work and his humility and attempts to change opinions thorugh respectful dialogue.


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Posted: 29 March 2007 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Joined  2007-03-11

I totally respect both Gould and Dawkins. Gould leans towards a Carl Sagan approach. Sagan never wanted to polarize the science and religion issue or “us” vs. “them” approach and I think it is a bit more productive that way.

Dawkins aka- Darwins Rottweiler, on the other hand takes the opposite approach and does tend to polarize with his heavy handed approach. Dawkins is controversial but he does back up his claims with a logical foundation as well.

They have ID, we have Dawkins.

Posted: 30 March 2007 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, I think they both have good points.  You have to admit that a lot of Gould’s essays could easily be misread by Creationists.  I still have Christians taunting me about the “Cambrian Explosion” which is supposed to prove that Evolution is a bunch of hooey.

And Non-overlapping Magisteria sounds like a good compromise, until you run across a Creationist who thinks that the Earth is only a few thousand years old because the Book of Genesis proves it!

Posted: 30 March 2007 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Joined  2007-03-30

in defense of attack on gould

i think the choice really is between prudence & honesty. seperate magesteria is a way of avoiding discussion & controversy…. but it is too status-quoist in my opinion. what dawkins does is to divide, its true, but are we sure thats not what we want to do? are we really really sure we ought to abandon ethics & morality to religion? & which religion & which interpretation can we then call evil? & on what basis? another religion? this is my first post in POI, but not my first thought on the subject. would love to be enlightened further