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February 15 , 2011

Life's Grandeur

The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin


In his characteristically iconoclastic and original way, Stephen Jay Gould argues that progress and increasing complexity are not inevitable features of the evolution of life on Earth. Further, if we wish to see grandeur in life, we must discard our selfish and anthropocentric view of evolution and learn to see it as Darwin did, as the random but unfathomably rich source of 'endless forms most beautiful and wonderful'. Any rational view of nature tells us that we are a simple branch on an immense bush; and that life on Earth is remarkable not for where it is leading, but for the fullness and constancy of its variety, ingenuity and diversity.

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