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Bully for brontosaurus : reflections in natural history

by Stephen Jay Gould

  Print book  |  1st ed

Excellent collection of essays, as usual   (2012-01-01)


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by vleighton

This is one of Gould's many collections of essays originally written for the magazine "Natural History." I find the essays in "Bully" particularly good for helping the general reader see why many creationist ideas just don't work as good science.


For example, one essay reviews the Book of Genesis as a loose metaphor. Some people believe that while a literal reading of Genesis is false, Genesis might be true in its overall outline. Gould shows that even in outline, Genesis is contradicted by the geological record. Another essay recounts the scablands of the Pacific Northwest, and how they were created by an enormous flood. Gould then shows that the Young Earth Creationist belief in the Noah's Flood as a worldwide deluge is nevertheless contradicted strongly by many lines of evidence.


The volume starts out with two essays that show how humans love neat creation stories, even when they are false. In mid-volume, Gould shows that William Jennings Bryan was not a complete crackpot, nor was Kropotkin. Gould loves to show that the official, socially accepted history is not as accurate as one might think.


Many other topics are covered in the roughly 20 essays, all written in Gould's superb prose style. It is a good read for anyone interested in natural history but unenthusiastic about laboring through a scientific tome. But it is especially good for those looking to investigate creationism.

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