Moderator: Flannel Jesus
Flannel Jesus wrote:Sorry, I should have specified that I'd like to focus on free materials. It sounds like a really interesting book though.
Flannel Jesus wrote:I think I primer on evolution is a great idea.
I hope you don't take offense to this, but I'm not sure Gould is the one to read for that. I know he's seen as a bit of a popularizer for evolution, which is no small matter and deserves recognition, but he's apparently known for misrepresenting evolutionary theory as well, pretty drastically.
You did link to some Dawkins in there, and though I've not read his stuff on evolution myself, I've heard a lot of great and interesting things about it.
But yes, I do think that the knowledge base page could use a good primer on evolution. I'd like to find a better one than that (no offense, it truly has nothing to do with you, I had just happened to read that Gould article a few months ago and remembered it).
Flannel Jesus wrote:There's a link in that post.
Flannel Jesus wrote:It gives specifics in the link, turtle. Don't just read the first paragraph and give up buddy. It's not that long of an article. Just read it.
phyllo wrote:I don't think that a knowledge base is a good idea unless it's just a sticky thread where people can post interesting/useful links. Anything more will establish a dogma and limit discussion.
But as Maynard Smith points out, more is at stake. Gould "is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory" -- or as Ernst Mayr says of Gould and his small group of allies -- they "quite conspicuously misrepresent the views of [biology's] leading spokesmen." Indeed, although Gould characterizes his critics as "anonymous" and "a tiny coterie," nearly every major evolutionary biologist of our era has weighed in in a vain attempt to correct the tangle of confusions that the higher profile Gould has inundated the intellectual world with. The point is not that Gould is the object of some criticism -- so properly are we all -- it is that his reputation as a credible and balanced authority about evolutionary biology is non-existent among those who are in a professional position to know.
For biologists, the central problem is that Gould's own exposition of evolutionary biology is so radically and extravagantly at variance with both the actual consensus state of the field and the plain meaning of the primary literature that there is no easy way to communicate the magnitude of the discrepancy in a way that could be believed by those who have not experienced the evidence for themselves.
anon wrote:You can do what you want, FJ, but your approach is puzzling to me. Gould was one of the leading exponents of evolutionary theory, and he was well known, for instance in The Mismeasure of Man (an excellent read), for separating good science from its hijacking by people with stupid social agendas. His views conflicted with the views of other scientists, which says nothing about which are correct. Dawkins talks some shit, and says things that are plainly anti-scientific, such as “it’s all in the genes”. But he’s also an excellent scientist, who should be read by scientifically literate people, and you’ll notice that Gould’s site includes many papers expressing a variety of opinions, many of which he openly disagreed with. The links are set up in groups, which provide an excellent introduction to various themes and a way to explore different approaches to those themes. I don’t know if Gould chose those links himself or not (he’s dead). I’ve spent some time exploring the “units of selection” grouping, for instance, and found what I learned there to be both introductory yet highly intelligent (and varied).
If you’re interested in a non-controversial introduction to science, you should just find yourself an actual textbook and figure out how to post it online without breaking any laws. *yawn*
I did read what you quoted above, but even those topics can be treated as a series of facts. I now know that's not what you intended but if I read that other post it's focus comes off focused the way I took it.Flannel Jesus wrote:Right, I think that's kind of what I meant when I said "More than that, though, I think that the Philosophy of Science and the History of Science are pretty relevant things to be moderately knowledgeable about" The 'that' that I was referring to when I said 'more than that' was the facts part of it. I agree completely that understanding how science works should be prioritized over understanding specific scientific facts. Certainly.
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