Stephen jay gould essay collection

Overall, his arguments lack the force and clarity of other titans of popular biology writing, like Dawkins or Pinker. Though Gould doesn't recognize the religious nature of the concept of universal natural laws, he does recognize this concept as the assumed foundation upon which modern science operates.

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The description continues: "By integrating nature as an element of their unique individuality, individuals make another reality appear, one which is not a social reality, but rather their own reality.

It is the process of making the world one's own.

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Transcript highlights below. Religion and myth spring out of social necessity and are, thus, utilitarian in nature, Poetic wonder is evoked by the encounter of the unique indiviudal with external and internal nature. In such a situation, conflict was inevitable. If certain social divisions can be traced back to the origins of civilizations, the compartmentalization of knowledge is a modern phenomenon--as mentioned above, at the time modern science arose, religious concepts were integral to its birth. But its openness, its basis in the unique individual and its relational quality make it an ideal basis for an ever-changing, expanding, exploratory and experimental source of meaning and values, a true terrain for an ongoing search, always satisfying, but never satisfied. Put bluntly, religion has repeatedly proven itself to be as worthless in the search for spiritual meaning and ethical values as it is in inquiries about the ways that the natural world functions. On the other hand, when individuals take the creation of meaning into their own hands, its contigent and relational nature becomes evident. Gould's essay collections it contains less of the whimsy and moralizing that leaven the latter. Even starting from this foundation, modern science has undermined the necessity for god.

Once it gets transformed into a closed system, the poetry and the wonder wither. As such, the search was an ongoing process that was able to free ethics from the set rules of morality.

He devotes an entire essay to William Jennings Bryan, who attacked the teaching of evolution in schools in the Scopes trial in Gould tends to use the subject at hand as a jumping-off point for more general discussions, and as he notes in his introduction, the essays consequently share 'a particular view of nature and human life: the perspective of an evolutionist committed to understanding the curious pathways of history as irreducible, but rationally accessible.

stephen jay gould essays

Social meaning, in the form of religion or, in modern times, ideology, demands absolute acceptance. The book is full of historical tidbits like this, such as why keyboards are laid out with QWERTY on top, or why glowworms are evenly spaced on the ceiling of a grotto.

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While Gould has always been able to impress with the depth and breadth of his scientific knowledge, this collection contains more personal insight, humor, and humility than some of his previous work. How could it be otherwise when it originated as a tool of the ruling class for suppressing free exploration. The interest of Stephen Jay Gould's latest book really lies in watching the author's intelligence at play. Once it gets transformed into a closed system, the poetry and the wonder wither. Thus, modern science, by undermining the foundations of religion, has brought its own foundations into question. Gould should have been able to see that in places where religious thought continues to be strong, a nuanced approach to meaning and an open exploration of ethical questions get suppressed along with the free exploration of the natural world. Religion and myth spring out of social necessity and are, thus, utilitarian in nature, Poetic wonder is evoked by the encounter of the unique indiviudal with external and internal nature. Monthly donation. What I want to examine right now are the false premises by which Gould's liberal tolerance led him to uphold an institution that has long since proved itself to be a tool ofdomination, oppression and forced ignorance as a source of spiritual and ethical guidance. Where religion is having a resurgence in Europe, it is generally tied to a resurgence of racism, sexism.

Here we see the non-utilitarian nature of this relationship. If we continue to use to speak of "spirituality" or "spiritual meaning' in any positive sense,it is necessary to create clear, new meanings for these terms that wrench them from their religious significance with its assumption of a separate spiritual realm.

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It is the process of making the world one's own. It doesn't rest upon belief, upon faith, but rather on exploration, experimentation and questioning. Constantly hidden behind the former, the latter reality cannot appear when the realistic criteria inherent in every society are in place, but only as a sense of wonder that is more or less poetic. For example, one essay, "The Chain of Reason versus the Chain of Thumbs" deals with animal magnetism, a craze in the late s. In fact, the association of religion with a search for spiritual meaning is a phenomenon of the modern era. Thus, it originated as a tool for justifying domination, exploitation and oppression, and for keeping the exploited classes in ignorance. Thus, religion was not itself a spiritual search, but was rather the answer to be found at the end of one's spiritual search. Religion and myth spring out of social necessity and are, thus, utilitarian in nature, Poetic wonder is evoked by the encounter of the unique indiviudal with external and internal nature. The description continues: "By integrating nature as an element of their unique individuality, individuals make another reality appear, one which is not a social reality, but rather their own reality.

He doesn't show any sign of recognizing the historical nature of this division.

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Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould