Mencius_Moldbug

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Beware of Stephen J. Gould

It's always nice to see OB pick out a specific and indubitable item of bias, adjust for range and wind, click the mouse, and convert it into a pink spray of little bias giblets. A really nice post. More of the same, please.

However, the question this post leaves unanswered is: given that Gould's reputation was mud in his own field, how come we've all heard of him? Why did I grow up on The Panda's Thumb and Mismeasure of Man?

Let me put it more directly: who do you have to know if you want to be Stephen Jay Gould?

After all, Gould was a good writer, but his eloquence was hardly unique among his competitors. For everyone who achieves the fame of a Gould, surely there are ten or fifteen people who could but don't. When you realize that Gould was a quack, the question's urgency rather increases. Who makes this decision? Is it just random? Or is there some predictable pattern?

If the latter, has this pattern affected any field except for evolutionary biology? How does it relate, if at all, to Lysenkoism? Can the two be considered homologous, or are they merely analogous?