The Public Life of Scientific Orthodoxy: Stephen Jay Gould, Evolutionary Biology and American Creationism, 1965-2002
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CitationSheldon, Myrna Lynn Perez. 2014. The Public Life of Scientific Orthodoxy: Stephen Jay Gould, Evolutionary Biology and American Creationism, 1965-2002. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation uses the public career of Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould to examine the place of evolution in American culture from 1960 to 2002. Gould was a professional paleontologist and public science writer who rose to fame through his participation in a series of American controversies over biology and society. Prior to the 1980s, Gould publicly disagreed with other biologists over the relationship between liberalism and scientific research. As a New Left activist, Gould advocated caution over public pronouncements on evolutionary explanations of race and sex. His opponents believed that science could provide objective standards for understanding human difference. This thesis shows how the resurgence of creationism in the context of the New Right brought a new community into dialogue with these generally left-oriented academics. Evolutionary scientists and writers solidified a new evolutionary orthodoxy in their attempt to close ranks against the political, social and intellectual threat of creationism. Gould's intellectual and political struggles with the rise of this Darwinian orthodoxy demonstrate the impact that the American public had on the terms of debate within professional evolutionary biology. By studying the impact of public religious controversy on scientific knowledge production, this dissertation brings a fresh perspective to histories of both American evolutionary science and American cultural formation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274332
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