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Darwin’s Duomo and Gould’s Pinnacle

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A review of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

We live in the Age of Science. Scientism is our worldview, our mythic story about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. As such, scientists are our preeminent storytellers, the mythmakers of our epoch. (continue reading…)

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The Evolution Wars

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A review of three books: Ullica Segerstråle’s Defenders of the Truth, Robin Marantz Henig’s The Monk in the Garden, and Jeffrey K. McKee’s The Riddled Chain.

Creationism, in some form, will probably be with us as long as biblical fundamentalists continue their misguided efforts to squeeze the square peg of religion into the round hole of science. But the debate over whether evolution happened was (continue reading…)

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Bicycles, Baseball, Bacteria & Bach

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A review of Stephen Jay Gould’s Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin.

For the past 15 summers I have either competed in or directed the 3,000-mile, nonstop, transcontinental bicycle Race Across America; for the first decade the transcontinental record plummeted from 12 days 3 hours to 7 days 23 hours, but for the past five years it hasn’t budged even though half the field now routinely breaks earlier records. Why? Some of the pioneers, not surprisingly, believe that they were simply better; current riders claim weather conditions and other variables. I now know that both sides are wrong, thanks to the work of paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and trend setter (and observer) Stephen Jay Gould, whose new book, Full House, explains how systems change over time — from the history of life to the history of sports. (continue reading…)

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