Evolve! Message Board


Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Evolve! Message Board

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "adormecido"—a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Pode acordar o tópico publicando uma resposta.

Jul 28, 2006, 2:03 pm

Just to get things going, I thought I would ask;

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...

Jul 28, 2006, 5:11 pm

I'm still counting my Gould v. Dawkins. As for their opinions, I think they differ in that... (ducking the rotten tomatoes)... Dawkins is a reductionist, while Gould took an organismic view. Funny thing for me is that I find myself agreeing most with whomever I'm reading at the time, because they're both so persuasive! This would probably change if I knew more and could develop my own opinion... heh.

Jul 28, 2006, 9:02 pm

Am I the only one that thinks both were more fun to read early in their careers? Both have inspired me with great thoughts, but I have felt they could have published less and said the same amount.

Jul 29, 2006, 12:22 am

I agree with both of your statements. I always felt that SJG could be a little long-winded and used too many obscure references. I've only read a couple of RD's books, but I own most of them.

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.

Jul 29, 2006, 11:13 am

Eegads, that Dawkins vs. Gould book is expensive. This is why we need more printing on demand services. Why should ideas cost so much, just because they're out of print? In any event, that would probably be a great read. *adds to personal wish list*

Jul 31, 2006, 8:57 am

I see our member library has broke 10,000 books.

I have almost completed cataloging my collection. I still can't believe how easy it is.

Ago 1, 2006, 4:47 pm

16,507 unique, fabulous books!!!

Take that "WICAN"!!


Ago 1, 2006, 9:14 pm

Just got The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell. It looks fascinating. Anyone read it? (Touchstones couldn't find it.)

9bduguid Primeira Mensagem
Ago 2, 2006, 5:48 pm

There's a 5:1 ratio in favour of Dawkins over Gould in my library, so I guess that gives some idea of where my sympathies lie. I think they're chalk and cheese and would read each for different reasons - Gould for the anecdotes and Dawkins for the theory.

Ago 3, 2006, 8:41 am

I own more SJG, but that's because he has published more, with his "Natural History" essay collections.

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.

Set 8, 2006, 12:55 pm

Evolve has been silent for too long! So, I'll send out a question to stimulate chatter. What book about evolution have you read by a lessor known author that was fascinating? No Gould or Dawkins books allowed!

Set 9, 2006, 12:53 pm

you know, i've been a life-long admirer of and adherent to darwin's schema. i picked up by happenstance in a thrift store the book Darwin's Black Box by Michael J. Behe and found it to be an extremely thoughtful, erudite, evenhanded and cogent work that is NOT a screed against natural selection and darwin, but which raised issues that were new to me. i take no sides in the great Intelligent Design controversy but i'll say that Behe's work is a permanent part of my library, and i think it's worth careful consideration by any but "hair-on-fire" evolution proponents.

Editado: Set 9, 2006, 2:04 pm

I recommend the following titles not by Gould or Dawkins:

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

Set 9, 2006, 2:32 pm

I did the same, picking up Darwin's Black Box without knowing anything about it. A bit of the way in, though, I smelled something funny going on. I finished the book without looking further into it, eager to give Behe an uninterrupted chance to make his case. But then I wondered about it. He was positing a situation where further inquiry was somehow discouraged, and this raised my suspicions. "Well, this is Irreducably Complex, so, therefore, design". That didn't wash, because who's to say that tomorrow we might not find that it isn't. A call to "stop looking, and that's it", seemed just not right.

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.

Editado: Fev 1, 2008, 6:11 pm

The opinion in the Dover, PA case (Case 4:04-cv-02688-JEJ) involving ID makes excellent reading on this topic. It's available in PDF form at:


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.

Editado: Jan 1, 2007, 2:59 pm

I just got The Science of Evolution/The Myth of Creationism, by Ardea Skybreak. I've only read a couple of chapters so far, but I think it breaks down the subject matter very well. Seems like it might be a great resource for teachers and laymen. It's not watered down, but she's careful to explain evoution in a very clear manner.

Set 11, 2006, 11:34 am

I second the recommendation for Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller. His personal website is at http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/ and there is a lot of good information there, including some specific responses to Behe.

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.

Editado: Jul 20, 2007, 12:52 pm

Many thanx to atomicmutant and michael.fessler. Your suggestions were extremely useful and are powerful resources for further comparison and contrast of Behe's arguments in the context of peer review.

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...

Set 12, 2006, 1:18 pm

Last year I read The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance by Mayr. I thought it was excellent. It was a lot to get through, and I recommend reading one of the three parts and then taking a break. It's a great discussion of the history and philosophy of biology and the thinking that leads to today's modern evolutionary synthesis, a field of thought that Mayr helped to establish. I have recently picked up a few other of Mayr's titles that I look forward to reading.

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.

Set 13, 2006, 11:00 am

Interesting post, but you have to tell us the other two of your top three!

21Noisy Primeira Mensagem
Editado: Set 15, 2006, 1:33 pm

... and did you mean this or last century? Bit early to judge for this century, I'd have thought? ;-)

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.)

Set 15, 2006, 2:57 pm

The new anthology Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement does a good job of debunking the Intelligent Design movement's claims and tactics, and revealing the true motivations behind it, of teaching religion in schools and breaking down the constitutional separation of church and state.

Set 17, 2006, 1:56 pm

Simon Conway Morris's book Life's Solution is fascinating. As an atheistic-leaning agnostic I'd gone along with Dawkins that religion was incompatible with evolution. Conway Morris (a British Cambridge Professor of Evolutionary Biology) gives a brilliant Darwinian account which is still compatible with "purpose". He demonstrates how certain phenomena (eg eyes) have evolved separately again and again. And that human-like intelligence was almost bound to evolve. He didn't entirely persuade me but I now recognise that a Darwinian/Christian position is intellectually credible.

Set 17, 2006, 5:38 pm

Greetings! I am an aspiring/graduate student philosopher of education. Over the past year I have evolved (?!) into somebody who thinks that my field (and political theory more generally) needs a voice with a grounding in natural science, rather than the Kantian rationalism that has been my forte heretofore, or the throughgoing social-constructivism that is standard in schools of education and in postmodern philosophy.

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...

Set 18, 2006, 12:54 pm

Here's an interesting story, "Evolution Attack Goes Global," from Wired News:


Those interested in more background on the topic should see the works by Richard E. Leakey and Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey.

Set 21, 2006, 3:12 pm

I just got my copy of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen, which I heard about on NPR (see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6105541). It looks like a delightful read, and it weighs in at about 250 pages, making it a good companion to my other latest Darwin-related acquisition, From So Simple a Beginning, a big compilation of Darwin's major works edited by E. O. Wilson.

Set 21, 2006, 3:36 pm

Please let us know how you like The Reluctant Mr. Darwin. I enjoy reading Quammen, but I haven't read much about Darwin. I've also yet to read Monster of God, but I look forward to both. I do have a copy of The Voyage of the Beagle but haven't read it either.

Set 21, 2006, 9:47 pm

I'm also interested how The Reluctant Mr. Darwin reads. Quammen's Song of the Dodo is one of my all time favorite reads.

Set 23, 2006, 11:19 am

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen is a delightful read. It focuses on his life after the voyage of the Beagle (Quammen says, rightly, that the pre-Beagle period has been covered many times in detail). This book doesn't pretend to be a big biography of Darwin, but it will help those unfamiliar with his full life story understand him. And it doesn't pull any punches about the signifance of Darwin's big idea.

Set 23, 2006, 1:50 pm

Thanks BruceAir.

Editado: Out 29, 2006, 10:44 am

David Quammen, the author of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, will be on "Weekday," a local interview program on Seattle's NPR affiliate today. You can read the teaser at:


You can pick up the podcast here:


Out 5, 2006, 1:59 pm

Orborous said "I take no sides in the great Intelligent Design controversy"

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?

Out 29, 2006, 10:22 am

Ah, but if you start referring to the ID hypothesis as "the tooth-fairy" and "the magic wand", and start invoking "Christian Creationists", you're not being nice enough. No, really, they'll tell you you're being snarky, you're telling people to shut up and you're probably ideologically prevented from seeing the truth. Heck, I got all that and I didn't even invoke the FSM.

Editado: Jul 20, 2007, 12:57 pm

What oroboros thinks: Consciousness, in the form of the mind, is equally responsible for the concepts: "intelligent design", "creationism" and "evolution"; it in effect "makes them up" and then has all the fun of arguing about them. And, thereby, is civilization advanced, much like the friction inherent in asphalt paving gives purchase to automobile tires so that the vehicle merrily careers, by jerk and sputter, into the next county...the next millenium...the next...

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.

Jul 17, 2007, 7:38 pm

C-SPAN recently carried an appearance by the author of a new book about Dover trial, 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania by Matthew Chapman.

Editado: Jul 18, 2007, 10:45 am

Hi, hope you'll take a look at my new post -- "Is Darwinism bad science today?" I've published a book, Creation: Towards a Theory of All Things on amazon.com. I'm both an adherent of Darwinian common ancestry (a brilliant theory in 1859 and now proved by the convergence of the sciences) and an intelligent design theorist. Regards, John Umana (Washington, DC)

Jul 18, 2007, 3:55 pm

Intelligent design is not science.

Jul 19, 2007, 9:43 pm

Seconded. A religion, philosophy, or whatever, but creationism, no matter what name you give it is not a science because it is not falsifiable. A topic for another group perhaps?

Ago 13, 2007, 11:45 pm


Ago 14, 2007, 1:00 am

Ding! Thanks for playing. Do we have a consolation prize for the losing theory?

Ago 20, 2007, 1:35 am

>37 Glassglue: Re: 'Intelligent design is not science.'

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)?

Editado: Nov 15, 2007, 6:24 pm

I've just started Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design by Peter J. Bowler, an historian of science who seems to have focused on evolution.

It looks like a good read (published by Harvard University Press).

ISBN: 978-0-674-02615-5

Dez 18, 2007, 6:40 pm

Here's a another new book relevant to this topic: The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA by Gordy Slack.

You can listen to a podcast of an interview with the author on KQED here:


Dez 18, 2007, 7:17 pm

Monkey girl : evolution, education, religion, and the battle for America's soul.

Excellent book.

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.

Get it!

Jan 24, 2008, 11:47 am

Here's a related item: Ellery's Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer by Stephen D. Solomon (ISBN 9780472108374).

It's an interesting read, especially in light of the current campaign.

Editado: Fev 1, 2008, 9:31 am

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>.

Editado: Fev 1, 2008, 6:12 pm

It looks OK to me in Firefox (not pretty, mind you, but OK). But I'll see if I can fix it.

Fev 1, 2008, 6:23 pm

I have just finished three books by John Haught, a Jesuit who tries to reconcile Darwin and Religion. To his credit, he's very critical of Intelligent Design and Creationism. He's clearly well-read and thoughtful.

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

Fev 2, 2008, 7:18 am

#47: "It looks OK to me in Firefox"
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.

Fev 2, 2008, 8:47 am

I second Atomicmutant's thoughts on Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald Prothero. I'm nearly finished it and I'll be buying a couple copies, one for myself and one for a creationist friend. I'm looking forward to reading The Mind of the Market by Michael Shermer. I've read but don't own The Science of Good and Evil and I thought he did a good job on evolutionary psychology. As for Dawkins and Gould, it's 4-0 Dawkins on my shelves. I've read five by Dawkins and two from Gould. Obviously, Dawkins is harder on "God" and creationists than Gould.

Editado: Fev 2, 2008, 2:14 pm

On the subject of the OP, Gould owned vs Dawkins owned, I have 10 Gould but only one Dawkins. This very certainly does not indicate agreement with Gould and disagreement with Dawkins. My views on science, evolution, religion and other matters are much closer to Dawkins' than to Gould's.

ETA: forgot to say, I agree with others that Gould's early books were better.

Fev 4, 2008, 10:26 am

I have 3 Dawkins and 4 Gould - but one of the latter is on baseball; does that count ? Gould was definitely the more stylish and more rounded, but he is unfortunately dead; Dawkins is as good as - he has not had a new idea since "the blind watchmaker", and merely becomes more arrogant and trenchant as he ages. Simon Conway Morris is the man to read.

Editado: Fev 4, 2008, 2:30 pm

"Simon Conway Morris is the man to read."

Humans were inevitable and God tweaks genomes? No, I don't think I'll bother. I'll take either Gould or Dawkins over that.

Fev 5, 2008, 1:02 pm

I don't remember Morris mentioning God's intervention in the genome. What I do know he said was that nothing in evolution presupposes, let alone, proves the existence of God, but it is all "congruent" - there is no contradiction between God and evolution - so believe what you like.

Unlike Dawkins, whose belief in the non-existence of God is an "article of faith" for him and quite unscientific.

Fev 6, 2008, 9:37 am

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?

Editado: Fev 15, 2015, 9:11 am

Wow, this thread is ancient! I just finished The Sixth Extinction.

Highly recommended.

(and, I just noticed I'd previously posted similar on another thread - ooops!)