Bully for Brontosaurus. Steven Jay Gould.

Bully for Brontosaurus

Steven Jay Gould. Norton: 1991.

A collection of essays for the popular/ist scientist. One reason for his success as a popular writer is that he is a great storyteller. He can also truly explain complex ideas in an accessible manner. However, his success has created a noticeable ego, his Harvard professorship a certain supercilliousness, and his absolute faith in his ideas a little too-zealous evangelism.

His essays, however, which usually stay on the topic of the history of science, can be quite interesting (though occasionally not). He is always sure to bring out the moral of the story (and rest assured they always do have a moral – a sort of Aesop for undergrads.) The moral is usually: never belive in something too much because the inexorable progress of science may eventually disprove it. Yet, Gould is no more able to follow this advice than the rest of us. He does, however, readily admit to mistakes he has made in the past (better than most of the rest of us, perhaps?)