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Salon.com
A scientist for the rest of us
Whether infuriating sociobiologists or enchanting readers, Stephen Jay Gould
liked messes and knew how to make hard thought look like fun.

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By Andrew Brown

May 24, 2002  |  Stephen Jay Gould, who died on Monday, belonged to no
particular scientific sect and founded none. Almost all his battles were fought
on his own. But the happy elegance of his style and the bewildering range of
his interests allowed him to recruit the sympathies of every benevolent,
well-read humanist to his various causes. No wonder he was hated so. He was the
scientist for the rest of us.

He gave as good as he got in his long feud with the "Darwinian
fundamentalists," as he called his opponents. This term, an inspired piece of
polemical mudslinging, showed that what his own invective lacked in quantity,
it made up in quality, since one of the defining characteristics of the
sociobiologists he was attacking was their rather Victorian atheism, and their
conviction that the worst sort of human being in the world was a fundamentalist
Christian.

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