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Stephen Jay Gould

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Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 - May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist and popular science author, born in New York. He was born to a Jewish family, but did not belong to any organised religion.

In 1972 Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed a revised theory of punctuated equilibrium, based largely on the work of Ernst Mayr. Though the theory is an important part of evolutionary biology, Gould was accused by many fellow biologists, particularly Richard Dawkins, of overstating the importance of the theory.

Gould wrote many books popularising evolution and paleontology, and fought against pseudoscience and creationism.

Gould and Dawkins were the major players in the "Darwin wars", a long-running disagreement about the details of sociobiology, adaptationism and whether evolution took place more on the level of genes or organisms.

Stephen Jay Gould also believed that science and religion were compatible and he put forward the idea of Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) as the solution to the supposed conflict between science and religion. Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) states that science and religion are compatible and each magistrate(or layer) occupies a separate realm of human understanding.

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