Massimo Pigliucci - Making Sense of Evolution

September 21, 2007

Massimo Pigliucci is professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is well known as an outspoken critic of creationism and advocate of the public understanding and appreciation of science. A recipient of the Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, he has been awarded three times the Oak Ridge National Laboratories Science Alliance Faculty Research Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. His research in science focuses on genotype-environment interactions, on natural selection, and on the constraints imposed on the latter by the genetic and developmental makeup of organisms. As a philosopher, he is interested in epistemological issues in the philosophy of science and in the conceptual examination of fundamental ideas underlying evolutionary theory. Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer and is the author of a number of books, including Phenotypic Integration, Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science; and Phenotypic Plasticity. His most recent book, co-authored with Jonathan Kaplan, is Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology.
In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Massimo Pigliucci discusses both the methods and the concepts of evolutionary biologists and what may be wrong with them. He explores ideas in the history of evolutionary theory, such as natural selection, evolvability, and the levels at which evolution by natural selection operates (gene, individual, superorganism, or species). He also discusses why he says scientists, especially evolutionary biologists, need to do more philosophy than they are now doing.

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