Stephen Jay Gould Notes

From my presentation:

Key Gould Concepts

1) Method

Historical approach to subject

Historical approach to literature

“Definitions must be embedded in theories”

Scientific Method: Prediction, falsification, refinement

2) Punctuated Equilibrium

Paleobiotic perspective on evolution

‘salutational’ change – jumps

a special homeostasis, then ‘different rules’

3) Darwinian individuality

Heredity (individuality, sexuality as major innovation)

Isomorphic variation (but: Linnean pulls of fashion, sexuality)



**Note: the punctuated equilibrium of individuality

** Individuality in the bacterial world

4) The character of a species/darwinian individual

accretion of benign or mildly deleterious traits

‘spandrel’ traits

‘expatiation’ – a benign or mildly deleterious trait imparts benefit under different rules

e.g. extra long flap of skin as protective pouch for young

e.g. bone mutations allowing for prowess in mating challenges


One Response to Stephen Jay Gould Notes

  1. eah13 says:

    Interesting article on the organization of DNA, its strategy for packing tightly (using fractals). The preservation of nonrelevant, neutral, benign codes that can latently contain the material for drastic mutation is central here. How could a system preserve nonrelevant code, substrate for potential mutations in the future? In my Network Brain post, there could be a built in isotropic variation of code, and preservation and accumulation of these variations over time (each machine could undergo ‘mitosis’ and then ‘serve’ two neurons, etc.).

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