Stephen Jay Gould:
FULL HOUSE (Random House, 1996)

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Gould shatters stereotypes about evolution. First and foremost he does not believe that there is any inherent "progress" towards bigger complexity in evolution. Life evolves largely by accident. We are unlikely accidents, not the fruit of progress.
He opposes a biased interpretation of the fossil record. For example, he repeatedly emphasizes that bacteria still represent the dominant form of life on this planet. He prefers to focus on variety and diversity, not "complexity". Reality is variety. He objects to choosing one feature as representing a trend. If one considers the whole diversity of life, there is no trend towards progress or higher complexity. Simple forms still predominate in most environments.
The book must be very interesting. Sadly, it requires familiarity with an American sport (baseball) which is very exotic to say the least (less than 1 out of 30 human beings on this planet know its obscure rules). Maybe Gould is more familiar with the fossil record than with his own species...

Gould's classic remains EVER SINCE DARWIN (Deutsch, 1978), a book that did a much better job of explaining his revolutionary ideas.

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