You're straining at a camel here. And quoting out of context. I would encourage people 
to read the first link, which is a detailed obituary of Gould. It shows the opposite 
of what you contend: he challenged the mainstream, but his ideas are now part of the 
New Synthesis. Here's another quote from the same article: "[The Structure of 
Evolutionary Theory]  is a heavyweight work," wrote Dr. Mark Ridley, evolutionary 
biologist at University of Oxford in England. And despite sometimes "almost 
pathological logorrhea" at 1,433 pages, "it is still a magnificent summary of a 
quarter-century of influential thinking and a major publishing event in evolutionary 

Note that the critical remarks are dated.

Williams is the guy who coined the term "god gene" and is indeed a senior, but dated, 
figure in evolution, and his criticism of Gould is also dated, and somewhat dismissive 
because I believe he's envious of Gould, and he also doesn't like Gould's idea of NOMA 
(neither does Dawkins, incidentally, nor E. O. Wilson, all of whom are "evangelizing 
atheists" whereas Gould insisted that the only intellectually honest philosophy was 
agnosticism). Dawkins has far surpassed him in reputation. The place to go for 
information on the politics of the science is the discussion groups on talkorigins, 
not just by doing random google searches :-/

Miller is also another enemy of Williams, incidentally. Dawkins, too. I've read 2 of 
Dawkins' books and have 2 more to read, and I like the way he explains the principles 
of evolution, but I don't agree with his philosophical approach.  He wrote what I 
consider to be a really weaselly "reader review" of Miller's book on, 
signing it, "R. Dawkins", as if he were merely some anonymous reader. It was the 
equivalent of scientific graffiti, imo.

That's one thing to keep in mind, too, and it's something that complicates science: 
the politics involved is intense, just as it is in any other human endeavour. That's 
one reason to keep in mind that it's not an alternative to religion (regardles of what 
Williams, Wilson and Dawkins say), but just a tool set for understanding how the 
physical world works. And it's always subject to change. Just like John's opinions ;-)

I'll give you another example or two. Isaac Asimov (who was also an atheist, not 
merely an agnostic, incidentally -- I actually corresponded personally with him in the 
early 70s about creationism, but he was public about this stance, too) was well-known, 
of course, for being a SF writer and for being a popularizer of science. He wrote 
literally hundreds of books (even commentaries on Shakespeare* and the Bible, believe 
it or not), and had a Ph.D. in biochemistry, iirc. But he never practised biochemistry 
and was not taken seriously as an academic, any more than *I* might be taken 
seriously, despite what I might or might not know. There's a place for dilettantes as 
go-betweens (they make good science journalists, for one
thing, and I'm sorry more science journalists aren't actually educated in science) but 
they're not academics, and that goes for Asimov, too. Gould and Sagan both suffered a 
bit from this, too, except that both actually *practised* science and were not mere 
dilettantes. Here in Canada, David Suzuki is somewhere in between. He used to practise 
genetics but I think he's been a full-time green activisit for several decades now. 
Our own David Schindler (no relation) at the U. of A. is a better example -- he's a 
practising ecologist and knows whereof he speaks. I'm sure you've heard him on the 
radio (Mark; no one else here gets Canadian radio, I wouldn't think, unless Bonnie's 
still around).

*which my daughter has on "permanent loan" from me. I was just over there yesterday 
with Cathy, picking up our grand-daughter for the night, and noticed it in their 

Incidentally, the closest we have to LDS scientists, who are believing active members, 
and know something about evolution, and have written on the topic, would be, besides 
the profs at BYU I've already mentioned, David H. Bailey, who has written a fair bit 
on science and the Gospel, Brian Rhees (a biology prof), Richley Crapo (an 
anthropologist at Utah State), Philip Low (soil scientist at Purdue), Bart Kowallis 
(geology prof at BYU), the late Henry Eyring (father of the current apostle, and 
brother in law of SWK, who was very diplomatic in public, but in correspondence with 
the commissioner of Church education, when Man: His Origin and Destiny came out, he 
tore it to shreds in very straightforward language; Eyring was at
one point president of the National Academy of Science in the US), Wilford Gardner 
(another soil scientist, UC Berkeley), Raymond Ethington (who converted to the Gospel 
as a grad student and teaches palaeontology at U of Missouri and is editor of the 
journal Journal of Palaeontology) and one or two others. These come to mind, so are 
just a sprinkling of the ones I can think of offhand. I know about half of them 
"cyber-personally" as well as I know JWR, say. (specifically, Bailey, Rhees, and 
Crapo, and have also corresponded with Whiting).

Mark Gregson wrote:

> > Actually, contrary to popular misconception he didn't originate the idea, he 
>merely popularized it. It's now considered fairly mainstream, and part of the "New 
> I knew he didn't come up with the initial idea when I wrote my previous post but I 
>got lazy.
> However, I am correct in stating that Gould is not considered mainstream amongst 
>evolutionists, and in particular, punctuated equilibrium is not widely accepted in 
>evolutionist circles.
> This extract shows criticism of Gould's theories by other evolutionists:
> "After once proclaiming that Dr. Gould had brought paleontology back to the high 
>table of evolutionary theory, Dr. John Maynard Smith, an evolutionary biologist at 
>University of Sussex in England, wrote that other evolutionary biologists "tend to 
>see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with." 
>Sometimes these criticisms descend into so-called "Gould-bashing" where the charges 
>are as personal as intellectual. Punctuated equilibrium, for example, has been called 
>"evolution by jerks." "
> This extract calls Gould a gadfly amongst evolutionists:
> "I don't want to emphasize either the explicit or implicit dissents from Darwinism, 
>however, because the most revealing remark about Darwinism in The Third Culture comes 
>from a Darwinist of unimpeachable authority, George Williams. Williams is much less 
>visible to the public than Dawkins or Gould, but he is more authoritative in the 
>profession than either. Along with John Maynard Smith and William Hamilton, he is at 
>the summit of the inner circle of evolutionary biology, in a realm where Gould is 
>regarded as a gadfly and Dawkins is something of a junior partner. Williams and 
>Hamilton earned their preminent status by pioneering the gene-centered Darwinism that 
>Dawkins popularized with such success in The Selfish Gene."
> =========  Mark Gregson  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  =========
> --
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick 
himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; 
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of 
any organization with which the author may be associated.

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