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Adventures in evolution The Structure of Evolutionary Theory Stephen Jay Gould 1464 pages Harvard I Have Landed Splashes and Reflections in Natural History Stephen Jay Gould 401pp Cape There are many reasons to regret the death of Stephen Jay Gould one of the weightiest is that he never had time to finish his last book at its proper length Even close to death he had twice the energy range and ambition of most writers and the result is a last testament which is about twice as long as it should have been At 1400 pages and weighing rather more than twice as much as the laptop on which Im writing this The Structure of Evolutionary Theory is obviously a book that has too many words But you have to dig into it to discover the real disadvantage which is that most of the words have far too many syllables This isnt because they are technical Some of the passages here deal with issues of real technical complexity and philosophical difficulty and those are admirably clear It is in the more general sections that the Latinate orotundities settle in great snowdrifts around the argument so that the struggling reader is overwhelmed by a warm longing to lie down and rest and never rise again Yet struggle through the snowdrifts fortify yourself with brandy if you must and you will be rewarded For the grand design of the book is impressive and its ambitions worthwhile and close to achievement What Gould has set out to write is an account of the evolution of evolutionary theory to look at all the really interesting questions that have arisen since the Origin of Species and to settle the question of how much of the modern science that bears his name Darwin would recognise today So there are chapters on the early alternatives to Darwinism sections on the emergence of modern anti-Gouldian orthodoxy within evolutionary theory one book within a
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