Gould and Lewontin's Essay 'The Spandrels of San Marco'

Gould and Lewontin's Essay 'The Spandrels of San Marco'

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Contemporary science has assimilated the bigotry views that it hoped to fend off. The scientific community, their ideas and perceptions, account for the accepted scientific beliefs rather than the perpetual, and actual scientific theories. Gould and Lewontin's essay "The Spandrels of San Marco" is about an adaptationist programme and how it has taken over evolutionary belief in England and the United States during the past forty years. The people believe in the power of natural selection as a key mechanism of evolution. The writers don’t see eye to eye with this thought and are trying to reassert a competing theory that organisms must be seen as integrated wholes. Gould and Lewontin show their explanations for a pluralistic perspective of the evolutionary theory through diction, quotations, and examples; they are able to persuade readers with their views.
Through specific diction, Gould and Lewontin create a distinction between their views and the adaptationist programme. The adaptationist programme is "truly [a] Panglossian Paradigm” (Gould and Lewontin, 344). This gives a negative connotation to these evolutionary scholars and it places them on an opposing side of evolution; natural selection versus the pluralistic. The authors make them out to be enemies by questioning these modern evolutionary scholars' reliance on adaptations. This negative meaning makes readers see that the problems with adaptation is its idea of perfection, each trait of adaptation is used to explain every action an organism carries out. Gould and Lewontin are able to both attack and defend their views when they say that "each trait plays its part and must be as it is." (Gould and Lewontin, 344). They do this by making fun of the idea that each trait is ma...


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..., they clearly mean the action of natural selection applied to particular cases, rather than the fact of transmutation itself)? (Gould and Lewontin 347)
This is one of their most important examples as it shows there is always a shift right back to natural selection failing to ever consider any other alternatives.
In retrospect, Gould and Lewontin want to spread their ideas not to cause social conflict or scientific debate; they welcome the richness that a pluralistic path so affiliated to Darwin’s spirit, can provide. The authors do a good job at swaying the readers of their understanding of the pluralistic viewpoint of the evolutionary theory through diction, quotations, and examples. Due to their opinion that organism are unified wholes; the pluralistic outlook could put organisms, with all their unruly yet apprehensible complexity, back into evolutionary theory.

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