Thesis ID: CBB001567624

The Public Life of Scientific Orthodoxy: Stephen Jay Gould, Evolutionary Biology and American Creationism, 1965--2002 (2014)


Sheldon, Myrna Lynn Perez (Author)

Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty
Harvard University
Browne, E. Janet
Jewett, Andrew
Richardson, Sarah
Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty
Jewett, Andrew
Richardson, Sarah

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Browne, Janet; Committee Members: Jewett, Andrew, Richardson, Sarah, Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty.
Physical Details: 240 pp.
Language: English

This 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.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 75/10(E), Apr 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1558183835.

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Authors & Contributors
Sheldon, Myrna Perez
Sepkoski, David Christopher
Lynch, Michael Patrick
Prindle, David F.
Andréolle, Donna Spalding
Johnson, Jennifer
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Biology
Social Studies of Science
Mendel Newsletter
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Prometheus Books
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Washington
University of Pittsburgh
Baylor University
Duke University
Science and religion
Science and politics
Evolutionary developmental biology
Controversies and disputes
Gould, Stephen Jay
Sepkoski, John
Sokal, Robert R.
Darwin, Charles Robert
Dawkins, Richard
Lewontin, Richard C.
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
20th century, early
United States
St. Petersburg (Russia)
Great Britain
Federation of American Scientists
American Museum of Natural History, New York
University of Nebraska
American Scientific Affiliation

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