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Dr.  Stephen Jay Gould,  Harvard paleontologist and staunch defender
of natural evolution, died yesterday at his home in New York City.
Gould suffered for the past twenty years
                           with a rare form of cancer,
mesothelioma, which attacks the lungs and
                           is linked to asbestos
exposure.  In one bout with the disease,
                           he lost over 60 pounds and
came close to death, but recovered, in part
                           he later wrote, by
considering his "statistical chance of survival." 
                           Despite his
Atheism, he joked, "I could only say with the most fierce
'Not yet Lord, not yet.'  "
Dr.  Gould was a prolific author and
                           lecturer who championed the
teaching of evolution in public schools
                           and opposed attempts to
smuggle religion into classrooms under the
                           guise of "creationism."  He
was an outspoken advocate of the teachings
                           of Charles Darwin as an
accurate, scientific account concerning the
                           origin and development of
life on earth.  He once described creationism,
                           which usually reflects
a literalist interpretation of the Biblical
                           book of Genesis, as "a
local, indigenous, American bizarreness."
Some fellow academics accused Gould of
                           being a "popularizer" in the
tradition of the late astronomer Carl
                           Sagan.  But his popularity was
enormous thanks to a steady stream
                           of books and especially articles
published for over 300 consecutive
                           months in the magazine Natural
"He was the only person we didn't touch,
                           his writing didn't require
any editing," said Ellen Goldensohn, editor
                           of the magazine.  "Even
some other famous names I won't mention
                           need to be edited.  I once
remember a sentence that went on for
                           17 lines, but it was utterly
Gould's engaging personality made him a
                           beloved favorite, both on and
off the lecture circuit.  "He never
                           wrote down to his audience,' said
editor Edwin Barber of W.W. 
                           Norton & Co.  publishers.  "He always
respected his audience,
                           but he was able to translate science by using
Gilbert and Sullivan,
                           baseball, and any number of other things from
everyday life." 
                           Indeed, Gould was a staunch Yankees fan, and once
drew the analogy
                           between the disappearance of certain species to the
way .400 hitters
                           have become rarer on the baseball diamond.
Although he supported the broad outline of Darwinian evolution, he also
challenged the notion that species evolved slowly and steadily, over
time.  He and biologist Niles Eldredge proposed instead that life was
intertwined with catastrophic changes, everything from asteroid
impacts to profound fluctuations in climate, which stimulated
                           to develop instead in quick spurts.  He labeled this
                           equilibrium," and described the evolution of human life on
our planet
                           "a fortuitous cosmic afterthought."
Gould had just completed and published two books described as
"career-capping" by reviewers.  In "The Structure of Evolutionary
Theory," he outlined the development of evolutionary theory.  Another
work, "I Have Landed: The End of the Beginning in Natural History" was
a collection of columns published in Natural History magazine."  His
other works such as "The Panda's Thumb" and "The Mismeasure of Man"
were hailed for their accessible content, with the latter winning the
National Book Critics Award in 1982.  Gould also penned "Dinosaur in a
Haystack" and "Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of
Harvard Dean Jeremy R.  Knowles described Dr.  Gould as the "star in
Harvard's firmament."
"The world is a sadly duller and less informed place without
Stephan Jay Gould is survived by his mother, Eleanor, wife Rhonda
                           Shearer, two stepchildren and two sons from a previous

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