Full House; The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Gould, Stephen Jay
Price: 75.00 USD
New York: Harmony Books, 1996. , 244 pages. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index. DJ is price clipped. Signed by author on fep. Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 - May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read authors of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Gould's most significant contribution to evolutionary biology was the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which he developed with Niles Eldredge in 1972. The theory proposes that most evolution is characterized by long periods of evolutionary stability, which is infrequently punctuated by swift periods of branching speciation. In evolutionary theory he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology. Derived from a Kirkus review: Now hear this: Evolution is not progressive. We (humans) are not the be-all and end-all of nature's plan. In this volume Gould elaborates on this theme. Among the examples he advances is one that should prove dear to baseball fans: Why are there no .400 hitters anymore? The answer requires looking not at batting but at how the game of baseball has varied over time. There has been a general improvement in play so that the normal curve of batting averages no longer has a tail trailing off to the right where the few .400 stars were to be found. Instead, we have hit a boundary reflecting the limits of human performance. Cultural inventions have enabled great leaps of technical ``progress'' in nanoseconds of time, reckoned by evolutionary standards. As a species, however, we remain an anomalous tail in the full house of life on earth. So we should accept our place with becoming humility. Gould fans will be charmed at the cogency and cleverness of his arguments. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Very good.