Because we are human after all. Jason Collins at Evolving Economics, in response to my post about one economist’s misunderstanding of biology, asks a very good question:
On the flip side, did Dawkins or Gould (or their respective supporters) ever concede to the other side that they were wrong and substantially change their world view?
I agree with Razib about what happened:
My own attitude is that both Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould retreated from maximalist positions when it came to the gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium arguments of the 1970s substantively. But rhetorically they often seemed to downplay their modifications, and assert more that their own positions were a change of degree, while their antagonist in the argument would have to make a change of kind to align with the evidence. This sort of semantic gamesmanship is disappointing, though alas rather conventional. But since I’m not a thorough master of the oeuvre of both men I’d be curious what readers think.
Let’s consider two areas where Gould and Dawkins both backed off: punctuated equilibrium and levels of selection (it’s interesting that they disagreed on both issues, and I don’t think the two issues are necessarily related). So onto punk eek.
I loved reading this because it is to deep and hard. You require a strong biology background with a lot of history of the field to understand what is being discussed.
It’s like reading some Third Degree Mason discussing lore that only other higher ups are party to. I had fun.
I am so thankful for the Internet.