Talk:Dawkins vs. Gould

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Synopsis[edit]

Nice to see the synopsis has been expanded. I was going to get around to this but I haven't been reading the book for ages and will have to start again. However, even with a pretty liberal view on synopsis length I think this is a bit long and will have to be trimmed down quite a bit. For a relatively short book I think about a quarter of this length is plenty. (I find it frustrating trying to summarize books with so little space myself; you have to cut almost everything out, especially with long books. I wish there was a wiki that had or included synopses of works as/in its scope.) Richard001 (talk) 07:23, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Cheers. Some short books are easy to synopse, as indeed are some long books. The key issue, and difficulty, lies in the complexity and/or information density of a given work. The main problem I had with synopsing this is that the size of the book belies its significance for anyone reading up on not just Dawkins vs Gould, but evolutionary theory in general. This book is truly information-dense. It is impossible to read the book and not come away without a grasp of some key aspects of evolutionary theory, let alone a raft of high quality resources for further reading.
The book is simply a gem. If you could only afford to buy and carry one little book on the Dawkins and Gouldian perspectives, and evolutionary theory in general, you could hardly do better than this one. I say this as someone who has a few books on the subject, and hundreds of articles in and from thousands of journals. So it isn't a case of me being sold on my first introduction to the subject - but boy it would have made my own studies easier if I'd encountered it over a decade ago. I gave a friend a copy of this book. She showed it to an 90 year old friend of hers, and he perused it, immediately snaffled it, and I'm told was thoroughly inspired by it.
After finally completing the synopsis, I thought to have a go at paring it back, but doing that, and doing a good job, is a lot of work. So I figured I'd leave that to another time, or another/other editor/s. The other thing I noted of course was that the Gould section is now quite a bit longer than the Dawkins section. But in developing and then reading through the Gould section, I noted that the section pays a fair bit of attention to the actual Dawkins vs Gould debates. So as with the paring back, I left it at that for the time being, because synopsing futher would not be just a matter of cutting out text here and there. It would take some commitment to see it through to a satisfactory outcome. That is, I wouldn't want to start such an exercise unless I was sure that if several hours were needed, over whatever days, I could guarantee to see it through. Otherwise one ends up with a caricature that is worse than the original effort.
When I reviewed the synopsis and considered how I'd tackle a paring back exercise, what did occur to me is to synopse down further those paragraphs dealing with the same issue. I think that's do-able, and I'd probably start out from that direction. My main point here I guess would be that some effort might be required. Wotnow (talk) 01:37, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

This synopsis is psychotic and nobody is going to read it. Also: how did you read "hundreds of articles in and from thousands of journals". Did every journal publish 1/5'th of an article?

142.58.133.184 (talk) 23:11, 21 March 2013 (UTC)