Stephen Jay Gould is among the best known and widely read scientists of our present generation. A paleontologist by strict profession, Gould is perhaps better recognized for his contributions to evolutionary theory and the philosophy and history of science. He currently holds the position of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, and Professor of Geology at Harvard University, and is also curator for Invertebrate Paleontology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology.
The author of 300 consecutive essays for his monthly column This View of Life in Natural History magazine, Gould has also penned over 20 best-selling books, and has written nearly a thousand scientific papers. In addition, he has received numerous awards including the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the prestigious Medal of Edinburgh, and the Silver National Medalm of the Zoology Society of London.
A number of his books include:
- Evolution and Extinction: Essays
- Skeptics Society Festschrift Lecture I
- Skeptics Society Festschrift Lecture III
- Stephen Jay Gould: Darwin's Revolution In Thought
- Human Evolution: Selections from Scientific American Magazine
- Stephen Jay Gould on Evolution CD-ROM
- PBS's Evolution
- Life Beyond Earth
Featured Audio Books
- Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History
- Ever Since Darwin
- An Urchin in the Storm: Essays about Books and Ideas
- Questioning the Millennium
- Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Ann On-line Interview (RealAudio) October 9, 1996.
PBS: Spinning Evolution (RealAudio) November 26, 1996.
All Things Considered: "Millennium Mayhem" (RealAudio) 1997.
Audio from Gould's guest spot on The Simpsons (RealAudio) 1997.
In Search of History: The Scopes Monkey Trial (RealAudio) 1998.
Life Beyond Earth excerpt (second excerpt) (RealAudio) 1999.
The Cambridge Forum: "Millennium Anxiety" (RealAudio) 1999.
Stephen Jay Gould on the "The Connection" (RealAudio) 2000.
Fresh Air: We remember Stephen Jay Gould (RealAudio) 2002.
Darwin's Revolution in Thought (Quicktime) 1995.
- PBS News Hour: Spinning Evolution
- Skeptic Interview: An Urchin In A Haystack
- Leader to Leader Interview: The Spice of Life
- Biography Interview: Was it Survival of the Luckiest?
- Phi Delta Kappan: Joltin' Joe and the Pursuit of Excellence
- New York Times: A Conversation with Stephen Jay Gould
- New York Times: Talk With Stephen Jay Gould
- Salon Magazine Interview with Stephen Jay Gould
- Stanford Daily: Gould Shares His Thoughts on Science
- New York Times: Questions for Stephen Jay Gould
- Mother Jones Interview with Stephen Jay Gould
- Evolution Interview with Stephen Jay Gould
- Life Beyond Earth Interview Archive
Articles about the Author
- The Stanford Presidential Lectures
- The Chronicle: Revising the Book of Life
- Skeptic: Punctuated Equilibrium at Twenty
- Talk.Origins: What is Punctuated Equilibria?
- Speciational Evolution or Punctuated Equilibria
- The Theoretical Value of Punctuated Equilibrium
- The World of Richard Dawkins: The Gould Files
- New York Times: Breaking Tradition With Darwin
- At the Science Museum with Stephen Jay Gould
- Who's the Fittest Evolutionary Thinker of Them All?
- Linking "The Selfish Gene" And "The Thinking Reed"
- The Survival of the Fittest: Stephen Jay Gould in London
- Supernatural Selection: Gould on Science and Religion
- Free Inquiry: When Religion Steps on Science's Turf
- Slate: Homo DeceptusNever trust Stephen Jay Gould
- The New Yorker: The Accidental Creationist
- New York Magazine: Look Who's Stalking
- Guardian Unlimited: The Time Lord
Select Essays by Stephen Jay Gould
- Not Necessarily a Wing Natural History
- Nonoverlapping Magisteria Natural History
- Hooking Leviathan by Its Past Natural History
- Evolution as Fact and Theory Discover Magazine
- The Evolution of Life On Earth Scientific American
- Creationism: Genesis vs. Geology Atlantic Monthly
- Let's Leave Darwin Out of It The New York Times
- The Pattern of Life's History The Third Culture
- The Piltdown Conspiracy Natural History
- Darwin's Untimely Burial Natural History
- Nonmoral Nature Natural History
- I Have Landed Natural History
Also see: Encarta Online New York Times Danny Yee's Reviews Yahoo! News Albany Magazine
- Self-help For a Hedgehog Stuck On a Molehill: by Stephen Jay Gould
- Human Chauvinism: Review of Stephen Jay Gould's Full House: by Richard Dawkins
- Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge: A Review of Darwin on Trial: by Stephen Jay Gould
- Gould on God: Can Religion and Science be Happily Reconciled?: by H. Allen Orr
- The Holes in Gould's Membrane Between Science and Religion: by Ursula Goodenough
- Cambrian Conflict: Crucible an Assault on Gould's Burgess Shale Interpretation: by Peter Bowler
- A Review of Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life: by Richard Dawkins
- Darwinian Fundamentalism: Review of Darwin's Dangerous Idea: by Stephen Jay Gould
- "Darwinian Fundamentalism": An Exchange: by Daniel C. Dennett
- Evolution: The Pleasures of Pluralism: by Stephen Jay Gould
- Evolutionary Psychology: An Exchange: by Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould
- Evolutionists Red in Tooth and Claw: A Review of The Darwin Wars: by David L. Hull
- Activism, Scientists and Sociobiology: Review of Defenders of the Truth: by David L. Hull
- The Metaphor and the Rock: Reviews Gould's collected works: by Frank J. Sulloway
- Book of the Times: Asking Big Questions On Science and Meaning: by Stephen Jay Gould
- The Religious Views of Stephen Gould and Charles Darwin: by Martin Gardner
- Curveball: A Review of Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve: by Stephen Jay Gould
- The Intelligence Test: Stephen Jay Gould and the Nature of Evolution: by Robert Wright
Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do).
( Stephen J. Gould, The Lying Stones of Marrakech, New York: Harmony Books, 2000, pp. 104-105. )
New York Times Book Reviews
- Ontogeny and Phylogeny and Ever Since Darwin (1977)
"Ontogeny and Phylogeny is a rich book, but it does not give up its rewards without a struggle. The book, as Gould notes, is written primarily for biologists. The documentation is voluminous, the arguments are precise and thorough, technical language is used freely, and technical issues are met head-on." "Ever Since Darwin is the best sort of popularization. Gould never mystifies science; he shows both its power and its weaknesses."
- The Panda's Thumb (1980)
"The Panda's Thumb as a whole serves to refine and bring up to date our understanding of evolutionary theory. Not only does it make forcefully evident where Jean Baptiste Lamarck, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Charles Darwin himself were wrong without in the least detracting from their respective accomplishments it also explains specifically how evolution is now thought to work. There are few better antidotes to [evolutionary] misunderstanding than a reading of The Panda's Thumb."
- The Mismeasure of Man (1981)
"[T]he real interest of The Mismeasure of Man doesn't really lie in the battle it wages against the intelligence measurers and the unfortunate ends to which they have applied their results. Plenty of recent books have done that, and they have tended to be tedious, either because they make the battle seem one-sided or because the battle really is one-sided. The interest of Stephen Jay Gould's latest book really lies in watching the author's intelligence at play."
- Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983)
"Exploring the richness of living forms, Mr. Gould, and we, are constantly struck by the absurd ingenuity by which fundamentally inappropriate parts are pressed into new roles, like toes that become hooves, or smell receptors that become the outer layer of the brain."
- The Flamingo's Smile (1985)
"Mr. Gould himself is a rare and wonderful animal a member of the endangered species known as the ruby-throated polymath. The Flamingo's Smile is as much fun as a Bahamian vacation (with or without snail research), yet it is also a densely informative and challenging book. These are not the sort of nature essays to be read late at night in the last woozy minutes before sleep. You'll want the full use of your brain." real audio clip
- An Urchin in the Storm: Essays about Books and Ideas (1987)
"Though the pieces in An Urchin in the Storm are technically book reviews, Mr. Gould tends to use the subject at hand as a jumping-off point for more general discussions, and as he notes in his introduction, the essays consequently share 'a particular view of nature and human life: the perspective of an evolutionist committed to understanding the curious pathways of history as irreducible, but rationally accessible.'"
- Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (1987)
"Time's Arrow may not attract as wide a readership as Mr. Gould's essay collections it contains less of the whimsy and moralizing that leaven the latter."
- Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1989) Pulitzer Prize Finalist
"[Gould] is exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence. I think more than a few readers will find themselves skipping over the anatomical details, but no matter the outline of the adventure is straightforward and clear."
- Bully for Brontosaurus (1991) » Read an excerpt from the book.
"After reading Bully for Brontosaurus, the latest volume of Stephen Jay Gould's provocative and delightfully discursive essays on natural history, one is tempted to imitate his idiosyncratic style. Not only does [Gould] always find something worth saying, he finds some of the most original ways of saying it."
- Eight Little Piggies (1993)
"Reading Mr. Gould is rather like being the favorite relative of some eerily precocious yet utterly charming child who insists on showing you his secret collection of treasures."
- Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin (1996)
"This volume may ultimately be less substantial than his previous books, but a potboiler from Mr. Gould is still worth 10 books by most other science writers. His central contention is that trends, in any area, should never be considered in isolation, but only as aspects of an overall range of variation (the ''full house'' of the title). Put like that, his theme may sound dauntingly abstract. But it is animated by his illustrations, and especially by his elegant analysis of progress in the history of life."
- Dinosaur in a Haystack (1996) » Read an excerpt from the book.
"I could not make myself care about hermit crabs in spite of the author's cajolings that they made for 'a wonderful story to which you simply cannot be indifferent.' I was. But whether delighted or bored, I deepened my acquaintance with that singular literary character, Stephen Jay Gould."
- Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown (1997)
"Stephen J. Gould's slim and attractive meditation, Questioning the Millennium, is a trip to the beach. Mr. Gould focuses his wit and style on matters of definition and calculation of the millennium and on their enduring fascination." » Read an excerpt from the book.
- Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms (1998) » Read an excerpt from the book.
"In [Stephen Jay Gould's new] essay collection he wields his formidable intellect, combined with an `insatiably greedy and infinitely curious’ nature, to explore the myriad ways by which mankindthe quintessential `oddball rarity’ of evolutionstruggles `to understand the whys and wherefores, and to integrate this knowledge with the meaning of its own existence.’ Gould's incomparable style, by turns colloquial, humorous, ironic and insightful, allows readers to revel in his unabashed and contagious enthusiasm."
- The Lying Stones of Marrakech (2000) » Read an excerpt from the book.
"In tandem with the closing of the millennium, Gould is planning to bring down the curtain on his nearly thirty-year stint as a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine. This, then, is the next-to-last essay collection from one of the most acclaimed and widely read scientists of our time."
- The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002) » Read an excerpt from the book.
"In the history of life, new species often appear suddenly and then persist with little change until they go extinct. The sudden origin of species may reflect the incompleteness of the fossil record, but Gould suggests the pattern is real evolution is fast while new species originate, and then slows down. He may be right, and his vast new book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, includes a chapter on this matter that is as long as most books "
Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.
( Stephen J. Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1994, p. 254. )
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