Dawkins vs Gould

Review of Dawkins vs Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny

I had low expectations for this book because of its (typographically) cheesy cover design and clumsy typesetting. In the end it made me want to read his other books.

Sterelny uses the debate between Dawkins and Gould to walk through many important topics in evolutionary biology, mentioning lots of other scientists and philosophers on the way, and successfully switching between detailed examples and the big picture. His writing is so clear and concise that it somehow resonates with the in-your-face 12-point Times New Roman it’s set with. Even so, I would recommend it to those who have read Dawkins/Gould and are somewhat familiar with their ideas. The book ends with an amazing Suggested Reading section where Sterelny makes useful comments on every book he suggests.

In any case, Kim, if you’re reading this: change your publisher. Your book deserves better design.

And this is something I did (based on the original) reflecting where I stand on the debate:


  1. stanley smith

    I came across your blog a year ago and have been impressed by how energetically you combine technology, design and politics.

    I want to ask if you know a remarkable book “What Technology Wants” by Kevin Kelly. To me, he’s a new Marshall Mcluhan because he’s taught me a new way of seeing. He’s self-educated, worked on the Whole Earth Catalogue and co-founded Wired 8 years ago while at MIT.

    He believes leading edge of evolution is now technology instead of biology. He quotes Dawkins and Gould frequently and his text is ample and persuasive.

    I don’t know many other people to tell about it and thought to fling out something in your far-off direction.


    • Deniz Cem Önduygu (Author)

      Thank you Stanley, for your kind words and your comment. It’s really good to get feedback with these far-off posts. 🙂

      I know Kevin Kelly from his TED talk titled “How does technology evolve? Like we did” and his books are in my to-read list. I remember the ideas at his talk were very attractive to me and after your recommendation I’ll make sure I’ll read his books.

      I guess you know that I’m very much interested in cultural/technological/memetic evolution; if you haven’t seen it already, you may enjoy the extract from my MA thesis here: http://denizcemonduygu.com/thesis/
      (The original contribution part that I haven’t put there can be much more exciting if you’re particularly interested in technology; I hope I’ll be sharing it in late 2012, for protection reasons.)


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