popularizers and the respect they garner (Gould, e.g.)

From: hibbert@netcom.com
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 20:29:26 MDT

QueeneMUSE@aol.com wrote:
> The book I am speaking of is called "The Mismeasure of Man'. [...]

spike66@ibm.net said:
> Gould has an axe to grind in that book. [...]
> Popularizers of science are seldom highly regarded in their own
> fields. [Richard Feynman excepted of course.]

Gould himself is highly regarded in his field, as is Dawkins, though both
are also good popularizers. In the local extropian reading group, we have
read several books by and about each. They represent distinct camps in
biology and evolution, and are each considered a spokesman and inventive
thinker for their camp. They have a fair amount of respect for each other
for their respective accomplishments, even though they disagree deeply
about what's important about evolution. The fact that they both write
books for the public seems not to be held against them in their community.

I find myself in agreement with Dawkins nearly all the time, and it took me
a while to see the value in what Gould has to say, and to recognize the
respect he garners from his peers. I still disagree with Gould, but I no
longer consider him merely a popularizer. If you do, then I think you
don't understood sufficiently one of the big current controversies among
professional biologists specializing in evolution. It's well worth
reading Gould himself or "The Third Culture" by Brockman.


 Chris Hibbert 
 650 941 8224

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