Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview – nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.
– Stephen Jay Gould
born in New York City, New York, The United States, September 10, 1941
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 York.
Most of Gould’s empirical research was on land snails. Gould helped develop the theory of punctuated equilibrium, in which evolutionary stability is marked by instances of rapid change. He contributed to evolutionary developmental biology. In evolutionary theory, he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology. He campaigned against creationism and proposed that science and religion should be considered two compatible, complementary fields, or “magisteria,” whose authority does not overlap.
Many of Gould’s essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin and The Panda’s Thumb, while his popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man, Wonderful Life and Full House.