Ian_Nowland

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Beware of Stephen J. Gould

Barkley,

Where would you put Gould on this scale:

(1) Someone who tries and succeeds in freeing their scientific work from their political biases. (2) Someone who tries but fails. (3) Someone who doesn't try. (4) Someone who not only doesn't try, but instead actively embraces their political biases and chooses their science appropriately with a goal of "improving society". (Obviously this approach only has value in fields such as some social sciences at the current time where absolutely disproving things is difficult).

It seems clear to me that Eliezer, Tooby, Smith, and Paul Gross all think Gould was (4), as do I. Further I find someone like this morally reprehensible, and I guess Eliezer from his strong language in this post does also. Now, putting aside whether Gould may have had one or two good ideas in his career, it seems to me from some of your comments here ("the peculiar evolution of his views", "oversimplifications or even obfuscations and confusions") that you actually don't disagree either. Yet you have no problem with this and actually seem to quite admire him on balance. Is this a fair comment? Why do you think there is this gap between yours and Eliezer's opinions?