Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

English language

Published May 15, 1991

ISBN:
978-0-393-02961-1
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Bully for Brontosaurus (1991) is the fifth volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The essays were culled from his monthly column "This View of Life" in Natural History magazine, to which Gould contributed for 27 years. The book deals, in typically discursive fashion, with themes familiar to Gould's writing: evolution and its teaching, science biography, and probabilities.

The title essay, "Bully for Brontosaurus", discusses the theory and history of taxonomy by examining the debate over whether Brontosaurus should be labelled Apatosaurus. In "Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding", Gould dissects and decisively rejects Antonin Scalia's dissent in the United States Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard that overturned the last creationist statute in the country. Gould claimed his favourite essay to be "In a Jumbled Drawer" which discusses the debate between Nathaniel Shaler and William James over whether the improbability of our having evolved necessitates divine intervention (Gould, …

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