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Do you own more books by Stephen Jay Gould or Richard Dawkins? Also, how do you feel they differ in their opinions, and whom do you agree with most?
I will need to catalog more before I answer.
Please, talk about whatever you like...
There is a rare-hard to find book that discusses this subject: Dawkins vs. Gould : Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny .
I don't own it, but it's on my wish list.
I have almost completed cataloging my collection. I still can't believe how easy it is.
I relate more towards Dawkins theories in terms of level and pressures of selection, the roles science and biology play, and personal beliefs.
I'm not sure if everyone here has heard or not, but Richard Dawkins has a new book coming out soon, The God Delusion.
I am sure it will be good and straight to the point. I appreciate him sticking to his guns, and being an athiest, I agree with him. However, I hope his latest works do not set off people who "believe" in evolution and also hold various levels of religous belief.
I have several friends who fall in this category and I try not to be TOO disrespectful when the subject comes up.
There, I said that, and look forward to his next volume.
Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution by Douglas J. Futuyma
The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner
The Survival of Charles Darwin by Ronald W. Clark (Clark also wrote an excellent biography of Einstein, Einstein: The Life and Times)
Evolution by Edward J. Larson
Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature by Francis Crick
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley
Darwin's Ghost by Steve Jones
The Touchstone of Life by Werner R. Loewenstein
The Flight of the Iguana by David Quammen
The Best of Darwin by James D. Watson
From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books by E.O. Wilson
Further reading led me to several subsequent experiments that have, in fact, proved his theses wrong. He's never been peer-reviewed, and that's another red flag for me. You don't present a theory first in a mass market book.
In any event, you should read Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller, another molecular biologist, who completely lays bare Behe's ideas in compelling style.
The opinion focuses on the issue at hand--whether the Dover, PA school boad violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. But the judge's opinion offers a lucid review of opposition to Darwinian theory and patiently and clearly demolishes the underpinnings of ID. For example, the judge provides a history of the ID movement beginning on page 24.
If you have a chance to listen to or watch some of the audiovisual material on his site, it's well worth it -- he is a master teacher and extremely engaging.
Disclaimer: I was an undergraduate student of Ken's back in the early '90s, and have been in touch with him occasionally since.
An observation: Behe's interpretation/thesis development AND the devastating rebuttals by Miller et al. are equally products of what? The Brain. In a very real sense, all human endeavor is life via the brain trying to figure itself out! And when this is seen/felt like a blindside flying tackle, interesting meta-states can result...
Mayr is one of the few people who I will take the time to listen to when he discusses the "philosophy of science/biology". I would rather listen to people who have actually worked as biologists/scientists, to get their opinions on the fields they helped create, rather than "professional philosophers" who will not go beyond their strict logical paradigms to find "truth" in a field that is not their own.
Although many people disagree with Mayr's conclusions these days and enjoy blasting a dead man, I believe he is one of the top three people who have had the most influence in biology in this century.
Interesting post, but you have to tell us the other two of your top three!
Going back to the original question, Dawkins far outweighs Gould in my collection. Wonderful Life was one of the first popular science books I ever read, and about half-way through I started thinking: "Hold on - this doesn't make sense." I'm afraid the puncuated equilibrium bit has clouded my view of Gould, and I side with Sterelny in his evaluation in Dawkins vs. Gould. Reading Simon Conway Morris's The Crucible of Creation blows Gould's interpretation of the Burgess Shale to smithereens.
Finally, another recommendation. Steve Jones' Almost a Whale is a fascinating re-write of Origin. (I second the Genome recommendation.)
I wrote a paper, which I'm going to be delivering at a philosophy of ed conference in about a month, analyzing the Kitzmiller decision. (Somewhat obtusely--because being obtuse is what academics do!--I argue that the judge in the case properly applied the principles of deliberative democracy to this particular policy debate. But anyway...)
Based on the recommendations here, I just dropped Intelligent Thought and the Shermer book into my virtual shopping cart...
Those interested in more background on the topic should see the works by Richard E. Leakey and Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey.
Okay cards on the table I'm a Darwin man over the tooth-fairy everyday. This controversy only exists in the rhetoric of the Christian Creationists who want to get their god into state schools in the US by a mechanistic argument which is summarised as "teach the controversy" in scientific circles there are plenty of ongoing debates about exactly how evolution works but no controversy about evolution versus the magic wand.
I don't think my hair is on fire - I just think anyone who has read around the subject and has looked at the ID "case" , including the US judiciary, can see the "emperors new clothes" that is ID.
Can we recommend a few books for Orborous to have a look at let us know what she/he thinks?
If this observation strikes you as strange, small wonder. It is an exceedly rare, even vanishingly rare, commentary on what's going on with human beings. If you resonate pleasantly to this, click http://www.jancox.com for more in this vein.
I certainly agree, but... we can do better than this, guys!
Falsifiability is a good start. How about the burden of paleontological evidence? How about convergence from other fields such as geology and cosmology? What about anthropocentrism?
Maybe a discussion about the difference in rigor between a scientific theory and a CSI-type legal theory (which is really opinion, or speculation, or hypotheses)?
It looks like a good read (published by Harvard University Press).
You can listen to a podcast of an interview with the author on KQED here:
OH! And I just finished
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, by Donald Prothero (What does a bright red touchstone mean, other than the fact that it doesn't work, grrr?
And it's fantastic, a great presentation of the very latest evolutionary research, with a bunch of history, and clear and devastating creationist refutation thrown in for good measure.
It's an interesting read, especially in light of the current campaign.
Your long link at #15 messes up the thread formatting (LT's fault rather than yours I suppose). Is this just a Firefox problem? Anyway, it would be nice if you edit it, you know, <a href=what you have>snappy name</a>.
But I'm not persuaded by his post-Darwin theology, or his criticism of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Daniel Dennet.
For the record, here are the books:
God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution
Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution
Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution
OK, except for much too wide, I find it makes it difficult to read, and it would be really awkward with a narrow monitor.
Thanks for fixing.
ETA: forgot to say, I agree with others that Gould's early books were better.
Humans were inevitable and God tweaks genomes? No, I don't think I'll bother. I'll take either Gould or Dawkins over that.
Unlike Dawkins, whose belief in the non-existence of God is an "article of faith" for him and quite unscientific.
I can't point to where he supports guided evolution, so maybe I misjudge him. As an honest scientist, he says there's no contradiction between God and religion, rather than try to make up evidence that God was involved, as some might. Given that God isn't needed, why bother with God at all?