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These two parties need names, and I propose to call them Gouldians and Dawkinsians. This won't please anyone involved. They will point out that the parties in question are vague and disorganised; that they don't have leaders and that even if they did have leaders the men who got most respect as scientists in each party would be Maynard Smith and Lewontin, not Dawkins and Gould. All this is true. But the fact remains that the parties do exist, and that Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins are not only their most visible proponents but also essential to defining them. Each man has in his rhetoric given enormous hostages to fortune. Both have written things which seem to their opponents to be unforgivable oversimplifications or flights of windy rhetoric. To the extent that everyone interested in these questions is either a Gouldian or a Dawkinsian, the litmus test to decide which party they belong to is not to ask them whether it is Gould or Dawkins who most truly captures the scope and spirit of Darwinism but the opposite - which writer has done more damage to popular understandings of Darwinism. It would be difficult to find any working biologist who found this question unanswerable.

Other names for these parties have been proposed. It might seem simpler to call the Dawkinsians sociobiologists but that would imply a continuity of doctrine which is not really there. Their actual factual beliefs about human nature of the sociobiologists have changed and been considerably refined since Wilson's book came out as have some of the actual factual beliefs of their opponents. To call the Dawkinsians Darwinian fundamentalists, as Gould does, is an inspired piece of polemical mudslinging, but neither fair nor accurate. For one thing, the dismal view of human nature which the early sociobiologists promoted could stand quite independently of Darwin, and be reached by people who knew nothing of him, such as Machiavelli. For another, Gould claims Darwin himself as a sympathiser with his own Catholic view of evolutionary processes.

On the other side, Dawkinsian philosophers like Helena Cronin and Dan Dennett do tend to describe those who agree with them as "Darwinian" (you can hear the capital letter when they speak) and only in passing to concede that their opponents are Darwinian too, at least in the sense of not being Creationist. Both sides, in fact, claim to be the true heirs of Darwin, and put up good arguments to this effect. But their quarrels range far more widely than mere historical legitimacy. They encompass not only arguments about scientific fact - these are in some ways the least important - but disagreements about the role and purpose of science, and personal animosities too. These elements mix unpredictably. There are friendships across parties and there have been quarrels within them. But despite their fuzziness, the contending parties do clearly exist. Like the original sociobiologists, their opponents form a well-defined group, held together by bonds of friendship and mutual esteem as much as by ideological agreement. The key opponents of adaptationism were Richard Lewontin, Stephen Jay Gould, and Steven Rose, disparate figures from differing areas of biology. Gould was a palaeontologist, Lewontin a biologist, and Rose, an Englishman now professor of biology at the Open University, started off as a neuroscientist who was drawn into the field by the controversies over how much of IQ is inherited.



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