Stephen Jay Gould: I Have Landed The End of a Beginning in Natural History



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I feel guilty for not liking this book Stephen Jay Gould is brilliant and well read and well spoken and highly respected in both his field and as a opular essayist But I hate this book There s hardly an essay therein that I was able to read in its entirety Gould is much too long winded couple that with a fascination for minutia and obscure historical subjects and your eyes glaze over and you find yourself skipping to every third word then every other Fates Monolith (MacLomain, paragraph then conclusion And frankly Gould comes off as a little smug andedantic which I think is the result of his less than straightforward writing style Regardless I will take away what I feel is a common theme in his essays ideasphenomenonjudgments must be takenunderstoodmade in context something that far too many At the Wolfs Table people do not consider I enjoy reading Gould and respect his efforts to avoid dumbing down and oversimplifying discussions in his essays but I do believe his description of himself as a street kid is fairly silly and he does insist on it so in this collection This was one of those books which I could not resist arguing with the author inencil in the margins Stephen Jay Gould s collections of essays on natural history found me at the right moment in my twenties when I had A Family Scandal plenty of time to read and a mind that wasrimed for his wisdom Now that I m entering my sixth decade it s a comfort to me to be able to still reach for him and while I think the rofessor has a lot less to teach me now I like to think it s because many of those lessons actually got through to meWhat makes the essays remarkable is not that they offer laypersons a deeper understanding and appreciation for natural history although they do exactly that It s that Gould has a tremendous knack for imparting lessons in scientific method scientific rogress and morality from his vast knowledge of the history of science And in the rocess you learn to share his love of Joyce s Ulysses Gilbert Sullivan Richard Wagner Robert Frost the Yankees and of course Darwin Lamarck Huxley Any fan of Gould s will see great repetition in these essays in both manner and substance But that doesn t make the stories any less captivating and it doesn t make the writing any less fabulousSome classic SJ We must always struggle to avoid the rimary error of historiography the anachronistic use of later conclusions to judge the cogency of an earlier claimGreat works of science condemn themselves to oblivion as they open floodgates to reforming knowledge while classics of literature can never lose relevanceAll historical studies whether of human biography or of evolutionary lineages in biology Psychic Protection potentially suffer from thisresentist fallacy Modern chroniclers know the outcomes that actually unfolded as unpredictable conseuences of กระต่ายในเงาจันทร์ past events and they often and inappropriately judge the motives and actions of their subjects in terms of futures unknowable at the timeThe vigorous branching of life s tree and not the accumulating valor of mythical marches torogress lies behind the Employment Law Cases and Materials persistence and expansion of organic diversity in our tough and constantly stressful world And he never fails to have a few Carl Sagan moments I do notretend to know why the documentation of unbroken heredity through generations of forebears brings us so swiftly to tears and to such a secure sense of rightness definition membership and meaning I simply accept the What Would Pacifists Have Done about Hitler? a Discussion of War, Dictators and Pacifism primal emotionalower we feel when we manage to embed ourselves into something much largerAnd embedded in these larger lessons there are always a million historical bits The great Linnaeus tried extending his very effective classification schemes for species into a clumsy binomial system for rocks and his categorization of human races were A Place to Call Home (Front Porch Promises pretty awful Freud speculated on some batshit ideas rooted in Lamarckian theory Nabokov was for six years a very effective research fellow studying butterflies Darwin would not use the label evolution given that in his time it meantredictable and directional unfolding This The Hot Kid (Carl Webster, particular volume was the last of his collections to beublished so I read it with than the usual amount of nostalgia Gould naturally had a good sense of his own mortality understood his Healing After a Loss place in the cosmos and had an unparalleled grasp of chance and contingency I will never run out of unkeptromises or miles to walk and that I may even continue to sprinkle the journey remaining before sleep with a new idea or twoI get a lump in my throat reading that even nowThe interesting bit is that Gould may very well one day become a footnote in the history of Jefferson Davis Inaugural Address paleontology as the co author of a lesser appreciated theory of theunctuated nature of evolution But in so many of these essays he aims to lift the legacies of the forgotten and debunked scholars from centuries Raintree (Raintree, past I have no idea how his contributions to his field will be seen by those on the cutting edge Gould understood well that most scholars by the time they are in their old age are forced to witness their own decline But I expect he felt very lucky too and that comes through in his writingMyoint here is really that his essays are a wonderful legacy And hell I m One Night Is Never Enough (Secrets, pretty sure he was on a Simpsons episode once You could do a lot worse Rest ineace Stephen and thanks for leaving behind your words Like many Heiress in Regency Society people I am an admirer of Stephen Jay Gould This collection of essays like many of his works is full of wonderassion and consideration He explores many topics researches into the history of things to show how ideas change and like the slow movement of geological time so with the generations do our ideas change too Gould muses on them reflects on them and often Rescued by Mr. Right presents how he thinks we can do betterThere isn t much overarchinghilosophy here Gould is La nostalgie des origines pretty focused on topic with each essay He doesresent much of himself though through his interests He shows us that he is a lover of truth life and all the wonder the world has to offer That seems to be enough The usual mixture of essays Most of them connected in one way or another to Darwin He mentions that Origin was Golf for Enlightenment published in 1859robably around 50 times Some True Liars personal stuff like the title about his grandfather arriving in America on 911 in 1901 And about the other event 100 years laterOne about Nabokov arguing that he would have been or was a scientist that surpasses his fame as a novelist I liked the essay about the only guyresent at Marx funeral who was not a socialist but a firm conservative E Ray Lancaster Science The Sod-Busters painters Frederic Church and Isabelle Duncan Oneiece on Gilbert SullivanHe talks about the curious tale of the creation of earth by God why he always found the creation of the firmament second day negligible but changed his mind when he considered the context of the times I failed to appreciate the controlling theme of the whole story That is that the creation is not so much creatio as unfolding Narthex of Saint MarcoThe term evolution in its original meaning is the coming of something inherently existing As such it is still used in Astron. Here is bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould's tenth and final collection based on his remarkable series for Natural History magazine exactly 300 consecutive essays with never a month missed Royal Protector published from 1974 to 2001 Both an intellectually thrilling journey into the nature of scientific discovery and the mostersonal book he has ever The Vampires Desire (Vampire, published I Have Landed marks the end of a significant chapter in the career of one of the most acclaimed and widely read scientists of our time Gould writes about the themes that have defined his career which his readers have come to expect and celebrate casting new light upon them and conveying the ideas that sciencerofessionals exchange among themselves minus the technical jargon Here of course is Charles Darwin from his centrality to any sound scientific education to little known facts about his life Gould touches on subjects as far reaching and disparate as feathered dinosaurs the scourge of syphilis and the frustration of the man who identified it and Freud's evolutionary fantasy He writes brilliantly of Nabokov's delicately crafted drawings of butterflies and the true meaning of biological diversity And in the oignant title essay he details his grandfather's journey from Hungary to America where he arrived on September 11 1901 It is from his grandfather's journal entry of that day stating simply I have landed.

Omy The sun evolves to a white dwarfs Change of meaningThe wonderful tale of Haeckel with his hylogeny follows ontogeny Known to contemporaries as faked but still in the textbooks a hundred years later Nice denouncing by Aggasiz Abscheulich as comment in his The Seven Basic Plots personal copy of the bookA guy Sir Thomas Browne in 18th century whoroves that the common view that jews stink is falseTiedeman who Undercover Virgin proves that negroes are not inferior and suppressing the data he found that their brain is smaller on averageBlumenbach credited or discredited with the foundation of racism by dividing mankind in 4 later 5 races was himself also of the opinion that there are differences Except that he thought that Caucasians are beautiful Literally theeople of the Caucasus This is the tenth and final collection of essays from Stephen Jay Gould with most of these essays coming from his regular monthly essay in Natural History magazine And I am uite sorry that I have read all of the collections for that means an era has ended in my reading life But these essays in this current volume most having to do with some aspect of natural history and or evolution are very good and in some cases very Environmental Dialogue Gdr personal and I recommend this book without reservationThe title of the book comes from his maternal grandfather s English grammar book that his grandfather began studying as soon as he got off the boat at Ellis Island after learning some English his grandfather wrote in the book I have landed September 11 1901 After the introductory essay which discusses his grandfather and continuity most of the rest of the essays concern Gould s usual subject of evolution and all aspects of natural historyThe author has a certain sense of humor revealed by the titles of his essays which include No Science Without Fancy No Art Without Facts The Lepidoptery of Vladimir Nabokov Syphilis and the Shepherd of Atlantis on how the disease was named What Does the Dreaded E Word Mean Anyway on the choosing of the word evolution for Darwin s theory and An Evolutionary Perspective on the Concept of Native Plants Several essays deal with continued attempts to remove the teaching of evolution from American schools and how Gould is mystified as to howeople could feel Trouble personally or spiritually threatened by the theory of evolution When he died in 2002 the Creationist trend was dying but the Intelligent Design trend was gaining steamHe ends this collection with four short essays having to do with hisersonal response to the events of September 11 2001 and noting how acts of kindness are what save this world from despair And I may at some Hogan point have to return to the first of his books of essays from Natural History magazine Ever Since Darwin 1977 and begin reading them all over again Why Not in WonderlandOnce again I have taken up a book of Stephen Jay Gould s essays There is no doubt that he was one of the best essayists of our times writing with humor intelligence and feeling But there is one theme that comes up far too often in his later essays to be ignored This theme is best summarized in his own words these two great tools of human understanding science and religion operate in a complementary not contrary fashion in their totally separate realms science as an inuiry about the factual state of the natural world religion as a search for spiritual meaning and et The tenth and final collectionI was a little bit disconcerted when I saw the title of this Stephen Jay Gould s last collection of essays I thought has he anticipated his own sadlyremature death with the metaphoric I Have Landed or is this a kind of melancholy coincidence or Wedding Daze perhaps I am reading into the title something different from what it warrantsAs it turns out I Have Landed is not a reference to the Lethe shore of theoet but a reference to his grandfather s arrival at Ellis Island on September 11 1901 exactly to the day one century before the attack on the World Trade Center in New York It is from this coincidence that Gould embarks upon some musings that form the touchstone for this his tenth and last collection of essaysHe is a man who will be sorely missed a complete original at once the very embodiment of a meticulous scientist and an establishment New York liberal He is one of our greatest essayists a humanist and a uintessentially rational man who has often argued in favor of the value and importance of religious thought Born in modest circumstance descendent of Hungarian immigrants as was another of our most Gender and Multiculturalism prolific writers Isaac Asimov he fell in love as he recounts in theseages with the NYC Museum of National History as a child and never lost his love for the odd little tidbits nor his sense of himself as a natural historian He is a student of snails 324 a classical nerd shorter than average 246 who spent time at the Hayden Planetarium and the Tyrannosaurus exhibition than he did Mourning Child Grief Support Group Curriculum playing his beloved baseball aaleontologist who became not only a gifted essayist but an international celebrityIt s a neat trick what Stephen Jay Gould has done with his life and it is a neat trick that he chose if I may to leave this vale of tears almost immediately after finishing not just this book but significantly The Structure of Evolutionary Theory the life work of his mature years twenty years in the making and 1500 Judgment Day (Time of Judgment Trilogy, pages in therinting It has been noted that A Full Scholarship (Sex Powers University 1) people typically die after a long illness not the day before Christmas or the day before their birthday or the day before the christening of their youngest grandchild but the day after And the very great choose to leave us only after they have finished some compellingroject to which they have devoted the last years of their life Gould remarked in the Preface on the coincidence of his finishing these twin Summer Break (Gods at Eighteen 3) projects together in time forublication in the Gone Cold palindromic year of 2002 how he loves the odd fact the detail that others might miss and how he rejoices in sharing such tidbits while recalling the earlier conjunction of the near simultaneousublication of his first book of collected essays Ever Since Darwin and his first technical book for The Black Shriving (Chronicles of the Black Gate professional colleagues Ontogeny and Phylogeny in 1977 I wonder if he knew that these would be the bookends of his lifeThis collection is touted on the blurb as the mostersonal book he has ever ublished nonetheless it is very much like the nine other collections There is the usual intricate and sometimes whimsical analysis of a bewildering range of subjects anchored to natural history with of course some asides on baseball The style has gotten a trifle ornate the ualifications upon ualifications a bit belabored the subordinated clauses in the arallel construction of his architectured sentences a bit in number but otherwise he is still the same man onderously thorough and assionately alive in argument and analysisSome old subjects the limitations of reduction in the biological sciences the misleading Mama Ds pasta pizza popularizations of evolutionary ideas the excessive ink the dinosaurs get the delusion of racism etc are returned to That the book's title was drawn This landing occurred 100 years to the day before our greatest recent tragedy also explored but with optimism in the concluding section of the book Presented in eightarts I Have Landed begins with a remembrance of a moment of wonder from childhood In Part II Gould explains that humanistic disciplines are not antithetical to theoretical or applied sciences Rather they often share a commonality of method and motivation with great The Expected One (Magdalene Line Trilogy, potential to enhance the achievements of each other an assertionerfectly supported by essays on such notables as Nabokov and Frederic Church Part III contains what no Gould collection would be complete without his always compelling mini intellectual biographies which render each subject and his work deserving of reevaluation and renewed significance In this collection of figures compelling and strange Gould exercises one of his greatest strengths the ability to reveal a significant scientific concept through a finely crafted and sympathetic Betty Fedora Issue One portrait of theerson behind the science Turning his Aubrey Beardsley, The Man And His Work pen to three key figures Sigmund Freud Isabelle Duncan and E Ray Lankester the latter an unlikely attendee of the funeral of Karl Marx he highlights the effect of the Darwinian revolution and its resonance on their lives and work Part IV encourages the reader through what Gould calls intellectualaleonto.

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Nd reworked There is a convincing argument in favor of Vladimir Nabokov as a scientist in addition to his work as a literary artist There is a return to Freud and his evolutionary fantasy Freud could not shake himself from a Lamarckian view There is a look into the origin and meaning and misuse of such words as syphilis and evolution noting respectively that science has done a oor job of treating syphilis and that the meaning of evolution has changed Darwin did not use the word in the first edition of Origin of Species although as Gould notes he ended the book slyly with the word evolvedLess anyone think that Gould is all learning and little insight a laughable idea considering his contributions to evolutionary theory his unctuated euilibria and his spandrels to name the best known consider this salient and to some extent self addressed uestion from Off 13 page 4 How do scientists and other researchers blast and bumble toward their complex mixture of conclusions great factual discoveries of enduring worth mixed with unconscious socialrejudices of astonishing transparency to later generations How indeed do we escape the Amata Means Beloved prejudices of our times and to what extent does this apply to Gould himselfThere are drawings and black and whiterints and in all 39 chapters in this handsome book Gould ends where he began with his grandfather Papa Joe with thoughts about New York and its eople adorned with the majestic cadences of Ecclesiastes To everything there is a season and a time to every urpose under the heaven A time to be born and a time to die a time to Juice plant and a time toluck up that which is lantedAnd a time to be landed Gould no doubt has landed not on the Lethe shore but near the Cambrian sea where he might take a closer look at those myriad creatures to which he devoted so much of his life and from which he learned so much that he was able to share with us Dennis Littrell author of Understanding Evolution and Ourselves Gould is one of the all time great essayists and this final volume of his work in the form is well worth icking upSome of the essays are as good as anything he ever wrote I d Gudrun point at the title essay The First Day of the Rest of Our Life and The Great Physiologist of Heidelberg inarticular Others especially the shorter ones not written for Natural History magazine are a bit thin Still the good definitely outweighs the less goodThe final section a uartet of essays written in response to the September 11th attacks is both beautiful and deeply deeply sad Gould died less than a year after the attacks it was a tragedy to lose him but in some ways it s almost a mercy that his vision of the generosity of the Mob Mistress people of Halifax his gratitude for the bravery of rescue workers and those that support them and his call to record and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses never had to run headlong into the unjustified uagmire of the Ira War the rise of Islamophobia and the apotheosis of human crudity that is Donald Trump All in all a fitting end to one of the great literary careers of the 20th century Gould overcomitted himself to a number of big ideas over the course of his career including but not limited tounctuated euilibrium spandrels and his ideological objection to evolutionary Stud in the Stacks psychology as well as introducing such stultifying notions as NOMA but hisowers of explanation have nevertheless been so highly Choosing to Survive praised by otherwise intellectually capableeople that I had to check him out for myself Overall his arguments lack the force and clarity of other titans of Robin Hood popular biology writing like Dawkins or Pinker I will say that I once knew a diehard creationist who absolutely loved reading Gould make of that what you will There arelenty of examples of Gould s weak reasoning decorated with lots of rhetorical flourishes and embellished with uotes by capable writers but the meat of what he really wants to say is usually buried beneath a lot of 10 words that allow one to gloss over his lack of substance In that way Gould reminds me of the teacher for advanced students in the Simpsons episode Bart the Genius The teacher makes a truly objectively terrible joke but does it in such an ostentatiously grandiose way that you almost forget how bad the joke is So y r cubed over 3 And if you determine the rate of change in this curve correctly I think you ll be Felipa pleasantly surprised Don t you get it Bart Derivative dy 3 r suared dr over 3 or r suared dr or r dr r In the same way Gould will constantly belabor aoint that simply isn t as clever or original as it soundsI hope one example of Gould s sloppy thesis construction suffices for illustration In expounding on the joint significance of the year 1859 to the lives of Darwin Humboldt and Frederic Church Gould details the Humboldt s The Vavasour Macbeth profound influence on Church s landscapeainting Humboldt believed that the forces of nature were ordered and harmonious When Darwin The Blueprint (English Edition) published Origin of Species Humboldt shilosophy shattered Gould argues that with Church s guiding Crisis of the Strauss Divided principle undermined his muse abandoned him he simply couldn t bring himself toaint landscapes any longer Okay The Master Masons of Chartres pretty compelling stuff except Gould later reluctantly and almost as an afterthought grants that it s also justossible that Church s losing the use of his ainting arm might alternatively explain why he stopped doing landscapes Hmm d ya thinkOne recurring theme in this collection is the resurrection long dead and discredited beliefs or ractices and Road House - The Novel proceeding to give them entirely too much respect while also admitting that yes we were right to discard them His mo here is constructing a straw man argument that assumes that CrollianFreudianpre Adamitepreformationists etc adherentspractitioners weren t engaging in a good faith attempt to understand the world to the best of their limited knowledge at the time He then goes on to defend these CrollianFreudianpre Adamitepreformationist ideas as the best that aarticular thinker could do at the time within their Gnosis particular scientific cultural context Thisarticular bugbear of his became uite tiresome very uickly and it s one he returns to repeatedlyListen the guy does his homework Gould is a highly intelligent highly literate writer Maybe I m just bitter because this book wasn t everything I wanted it to be Maybe this collection of essays his final one doesn t represent his best ideas because he d already used them up over the Left to Die-a First Hand Account of Life in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina previous 25 years All I know is that I didn t enjoy it I found Gould an insufferableedant who belabors inane Dolphin Diaries Bind-Up points to show how clever he thinks he is eg one might argue that he used the wrong tense confusing the compoundast of continuous action with an intended simple The Wingman Chronicles past to designate a definite and completed event It s really a shame because Gould has been arimary Flood Legends point of contact for learning about evolution for a huge number ofeople I d hoped that would have a deep reserve of books that I could fall in love with I might eventually give his books another shot but I m hardly excited to do so. Logy to consider scientific theories of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a new light and to recognize the limitations our own The Best Of Saint Louis place in history may impose on our understanding of those ideas Part V explores the op ed genre and includes two essays with differing linguistic formats which address the continual tug of war between the study of evolution and creationism In subseuent essays in true Gould fashion we are treated to moments of good humor especially when he leads us to topics that bring him obvious delight such as Dorothy Sayers novels and his enduring love of baseball and all its dramas There is an ardent admiration of the topsy turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan wonderfully demonstrated in the jacket illustration who are not above inclusion in all things evolutionary This is truly Gould's mostersonal work to date How fitting that this final collection should be his most revealing and in content the one that reflects most clearly the complexity breadth of knowledge and optimism that characterize Gould himself I Have Landed succeeds in reinforcing Gould's underlying and constant theme from the series' commencement thirty years ago the study of our own scientific intellectual and emotional evolution bringing reader and author alike to what can only be described as a brilliantly written and very natural conclusion From the Hardcover editi.

Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist evolutionary biologist and historian of science He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New YorkMost of Gould's empirical research was on land snails Gould