Category: Science

Stephen Jay Gould: An Appreciation

Stephen Jay Gould, the palaeontologist and science writer who died last year, wrote — brilliantly — on a bewildering series of subjects, but he is perhaps best known for his contribution to four: general evolutionary theory; the sociobiology debate; the relationship between science and religion; and the study (or critique of it) of intelligence testing.


Multiculturalism and Science

Multiculturalism has become mainstream. Across North America and Europe, school curricula are checked for accurate representation of non-Western and non-white cultures. Research examining the culturally conditioned character of all aspects of knowledge has not only gained a hearing in academic journals, but has sometimes been integrated into popular textbooks from kindergarten on up.


Hoax and Reality

IN 1996, THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL Social Text, self-described as “a daring and controversial leader in the field of cultural studies,” published an article by physicist Alan Sokal in which Sokal argued that in quantum gravity, “the foundational conceptual categories of prior science — among them, existence itself — become problematized and relativized.” What did Sokal mean by this? In Sokal’s own words, “This . . .