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Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History
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Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History (Reflections in Natural History #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,874 ratings  ·  64 reviews
More than any other modern scientist, Stephen Jay Gould has opened up to millions the wonders of evolutionary biology. His genius as an essayist lies in his unmatched ability to use his knowledge of the world, including popular culture, to illuminate the realm of science.
Paperback, 285 pages
Published July 17th 1992 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 1977)
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Note: I wrote this review sometime before Gould's death.

How does one write about a book of essays? Ever Since Darwin is a collection of essays drawn from Natural History magazine for which Gould wrote a monthly column entitled "This View of Life." While not especially easy reading, all the essays provide an intellectual delight that make them well worth the effort. A common thread running through all is the wonder and amazement Gould has for the extraordinary variation and adaptability of natu
What can I say? Pretty fascinating in parts, it seems dated and alive at the same time. I'm familiar with some of the basics, which probably prevented me from being enthralled, but he is definitely a very good essayist with a broad liberal viewpoint, which I appreciated. I definitely want to read more of his books, I should have read them long ago.

Some personal highlights:

Was strange when he mentioned that plate tectonics was a fairly new theory, within the last 10 years of his writing, in '75 a
Clare Bell
Stephen J. Gould was a treasure of a science writer, who left us far too early, in 2003. Ever since I stumbled across his column in Natural History Magazine, I've been an avid Gould reader. This is his first collection of the Natural History columns, and, although not as brilliant as his later works, contains the promise that emerged in The Panda's Thumb, The Flamingo's Smile, and others. Even so, by itself, it is amazing. Gould's work has definitely shaped my view of evolution and biology. Many ...more
شريف عرفة
قرأت الطبعة العربية للكتاب من إصدار مشروع كلمة.
الكتاب يجمع مقالات متفرقة عن التطور.. الجميل فيه أنه يضيف معلومات تضفي تساؤلات جديدة حول آلية التطور.. فهناك مثلا حفريات لأنواع تظهر دون ترتيب تطوري منطقي و ظواهر بيولوجية لا تتبع النسق التطوري يحاول المؤلف تفسيرها.. المشكلة الوحيدة في الكتاب هي أنه كتب في السبعينات, مما يعني ان بعض تساؤلاته ربما أجيب عنها لاحقا في ظل التسارع الرهيب لعجلة البحث العلمي.

لا تقرأ الكتاب باعتباره كتابا عن التطور, بل باعتباره كتابا يقدم لك ثقافة علمية بيولوجية بطريقة شيقة
Todd Stark
This was Gould's first published collection of his magazine columns, for essays written between 1973–1977 and it illustrates why he was justly considered a masterful essayist. He is telling us a lot about biology but he is doing it in a way that also tells us a lot about how science is done. In his memorable examples and vivid descriptions he reveals the central role of imagination in science, along with the historical and cultural shaping of our imagination. Gould's own philosophical biases are ...more
Ken Bishop
Stephen Jay Gould is my favorite writer in any branch of science. He writes beautifully (loves words) and can explain anthropology to the layperson. Gould is one of the best people to correctly explain Darwin. The majority of writers who try to explain evolution, don't have a clue what they are talking about. If you are interested in this topic read all of his books. Sadly he is no longer with us, but his books live on.
Una colección de ensayos muy interesante. Destaco las secciones I (Darwiniana) y VI (Tamaño y forma...).

Es un poco reiterativo en partes (entendible por ser los ensayos publicados por separado con anterioridad), pero es muy revelador en cuanto a que muestra los "biases" que pueden tener los investigadores que en vez de formar ideas a partir de la observación y ponerlas a prueba, tienen una idea preformada y buscan una lectura parcial de los datos para justificar sus creencias (por ejemplo el "da
John Miller
a lot... makes science very enjoyable and readable without dumbing it down one bit, but just by eliminating jargon. puts science in its social context, and ties it in with other fields of life and learning. also compares general phenomenon in evolution as a system to other types of systems.. .. .Must read one of his books!
Amanda Devine
I love Gould! It's fun to read essays from almost 40 years ago... in some ways they're behind the times (they didn't know about the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs, and plate tectonics were a new theory back then) but they still contain so much interesting information, written so nicely.
Gould demonstrates how scientist should argue logically ; But, not only based on the "scientific" facts in front of him, but also equally utilising understanding of the complex relationship with politics, philosophy and history. Most importantly, he never forget that nature is immensely diverse and hence not ever fully comprehensible by science.
"아직도 멀었다" 는 자연 사학자가 할 수 있는 가장 강력하고도 적절한 선언이다. 생물의 문제에 대해 깔끔하고 결정적이며 보편적인 해답을 구하고자 하는 사람은 자연이 아닌 다른 곳을 찾아야 한다. 참으로 큰 문제들은 풍요로운 자연 앞에서 무릎을 꿇는다. 변화는 일방향적이거
Unlike many of those who discuss the subject today, Stephen Jay Gould had a very positive and non-defensive approach to discussing evolution. “Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History” is Gould’s first book and is a collection of essays which Gould wrote between 1974 and 1977 for “Natural History Magazine”. These are organized into 8 sections which cover everything from the basics of Darwin’s theory through applications of that theory to the evolution of humans, through the history of l ...more
Stephen Jay Gould was a Paleontologist and scientific "philosopher"/thinker from Queens (!!!!) who taught at Harvard and also worked for the American Museum of Natural History. This book is a collection of his monthly essays/writings for "Natural History Magazine" through the 1970's. In it, Mr Gould outlines the social history of the Natural Sciences from Darwin up to the present (1979). When I say, "Social History" I am referring to the Scientists themselves. Stephen Jay Gould is a tireless cha ...more
Abe Something
I learned quite a bit reading this book. Given some of the info is outdated, some of it theoretical, and some of it is of little value to me - the beauty of this collection is the voice. Stephen Jay Gould is the Carl Sagan of Natural History. Do people call him that? They should if they aren't. I was familiar with Gould on account my taking some Anthropology 101's in undergrad about 10 years ago. I had always kept him on my list of "accessible, fun academics I'd like to spend some more time read ...more
All of Stephen Jay Gould's admirable traits as a splendid scientist, fine historian of science and gifted writer are prominently on display in this elegant collection of essays; the first of many he published from his celebrated essay column "This View Of Life", which was published for over twenty five years in Natural History, the popular journal of the American Museum of Natural History. Gould brilliantly illustrates the explanatory power of Darwin's theory of evolution via natural selection, ...more
Gould's collection of essays is a must-read for both aspiring scientists and the public at large who wish to deepen their understanding of evolution and dispel pernicious misconceptions that have plagued the field since its inception in 1859 with Darwin's publication of On the Origin of Species.

Each essay discusses an aspect of biology or evolution in the social context, or, how society (and often leading scholars in the field) have incorrectly perceived the concepts laid out in Darwin's work.
Written in the 70's, "Ever Since Darwin" is very dated, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking to broaden their understanding of evolution. However, it does provide a great insight into the mind of one of the most vocal proponents in the field - the late Stephen Gould. The most interesting is Gould's discussion of the spread of misinformation about evolution in the media. Gould talks about being angry when Punctuated Equilibrium (Gould's hypothesis that evolution happens in quick spurts o ...more
Solid introduction to Gould's perspective on evolution and other issues in modern science. The essays were written in the late 1970s, but they still feel current-- I especially enjoyed his meditations on the Irish Elk, the role of size in evolutionary development, and the shakeup caused by the discovery of plate tectonics in the late 1960s. Towards the end of the book he gets a little hung up on his politics-- as an enlightened highly liberal humanist, he has little time or sympathy for scientis ...more
Kevin Carlo Artiaga
This book has rather been cruelly separated from me by a friend who had vowed to read it as quickly as possible and has then proceeded to ignore it for half a year. The science in it is just a bit outdated (plate tectonics was still a new thing at that time! hah!), but that in itself is interesting as it shows how biology has grown through the years.

I like the fact that it explores both the subject of the science of biology as well as the scientists who on whose shoulders we are currently stand
Adrian Colesberry
The greatest modern voice for the neo-Darwinian synthesis. He and a colleague, whose name I forget, re-purposed Kipling's term "just-so stories" to describe evolutionarily plausible but unprovable explanations for things. An amazing critical thinker, Gould realized that if you didn't establish some way of critiquing evolutionary explanations, they would become the equivalent of folk explanations, overpredicting to the point that they could never be disproven. Once evolutionary explanations becam ...more
David S. T.
When it comes to popular writings on Evolution, the two names I most often hear are Dawkins and Gould. While I've read several books from Dawkins, this is my first one from Gould. This one is in the essay format which it seems is the norm for Gould's books. Overall the essays vary in quality but for the most part they're good, although some are a little dated (which happens with any science books published 35-40 years ago). My favorite ones were the first section over Darwin and a section which ...more
Ernest Barker
Stephen Jay Gould is one of my favorite science writers. He did not disappoint me with this book. In a series of essays he explains discoveries and controversies since Darwin. His writing style makes for interesting and easy reading. Anyone wanting a better understanding of evolution should read this book.
Alex Rubenstein
This was a fantastic survey of Darwin's theory of "descent with modification". I learned many fascinating tidbits, from the perhaps serendipitous occurrence of Darwin securing a spot on the Beagle's voyage--and not as the ships naturalist--to why he never explicitly used the term 'evolution' in his theory, as well as other important clarifications to supplement his theory in the prevailing biosocial ideas of the mid-19th century. Gould writes with impeccable wit and has a great objective sense t ...more
Not only succinctly explains some fundamental tenets of various natural sciences but also points towards how those ideas move society. Nice, nuanced insights into the relationships between science and ideologies.
Alicia Fox
I enjoyed this interesting set of essays, despite a few being a tad outdated.
Darwin ve Sonrası kitabını çok uzun yıllar önce almış ve okumaya da başlamıştım ama nedenini bilmediğim bir şekilde yarıda bırakmışım. Tekrar okumaya bu sene karar verdim ve pes etmeden okudum. Kitap biraz eski kaldığı için bazı bilgileri okurken insan internetten merak edip doğruluğuna bakabiliyor. Genel hatları ile konuşmak gerekirse Darwin ve düşünceleri ile ilgili bir kitap arıyorsanız başlangıç kitabı olarak genel konular üzerinden hızlı bir şekilde geçebilirsiniz.
Reviewed on December 29, 2
This is my second reading of this book, only this time around I only read the epilogue, introduction and the last two chapters. I was looking at Gould's critique of sociobiology. Gould, although one of my intellectual heroes, likes to ride the middle ground and not completely upset either side of the debate.
This book is great, but I gave it three stars due to the biology-geekiness of most of the chapters.
I clearly see Gould's skill to write popular science. I read these essays almost forty years after they were written and, although some of the science is a little outdated and the same issues are not under public debate any more, they communicate the ideas behind them really well while presenting interesting examples. On top of this, they are exactly the right length not to exhaust the reader.
May 24, 2014 Art marked it as to-read
- recommended by goodreads
Peter Ochs
The first of his I read. Have been hooked ever since.
This book is a bit dated and some of the essays drag on a bit more than I would deem necessary, but it approaches evolutionary theory from many different angles and definitely got me thinking. I would recommend it to any of you interested in learning more about how evolutionary theory applies directly to many facets of the natural world. It's nice, too, because it is easy to skip over or skim through articles of lesser interest to you without taking away from the enjoyment or understanding of th ...more
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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
More about Stephen Jay Gould...

Other Books in the Series

Reflections in Natural History (10 books)
  • The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
  • Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History
  • The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History
  • Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History
  • Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History
  • Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History
  • Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms: Essays on Natural History
  • The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History
  • I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History The Mismeasure of Man The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History

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“Geology gave us the immensity of time and taught us how little of it our own species has occupied.” 2 likes
“Creative thought in science is exactly this - not a mechanical collection on of facts and intuition, bias, and insight from other fields. Science, at its best, interposes human judgement and ingenuity upon all proceedings. It is, after all (although we sometimes forget it), practiced by humans.” 0 likes
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