Re: virus: ESS's and Punc. Equil.

Eric Boyd (
Tue, 22 Jun 1999 13:25:03 -0400


Sodom <> writes:
I had thought that Steven Gould had something to do with these ideas. I personally can't stand the guy's speaking or writing style, so I avoid him, but I am pretty sure that he has considered punctuated equilibrium quite a bit, and may have coined it. I bet someone here will know exactly where it was coined though if it was not Gould.

I knew Gould was involved -- I'm after the date. Did Dawkins anticipate P.E.? Mostly, though, I'm interested in reading more about the relationship between the two.

A note about punctuated equilibrium - It sounds like the idea that a "stable set" exists at any moment to be untenable - only because of the logistics of billions upon billions of sets of DNA remaining without any positive change for any measurable amount of time seems unlikely. I have to look at this as an oversimplification - that if your set was small and you could watch, then it might look like punctuated equilibrium - also if you followed a single species it would look that way. The basic idea seems solid to me though.

Dawkins was talking about the meme-pool of the species (as you guessed). I too thought the idea was particulairly strong -- which is why I'd be very surprised to find that nothing more has been written on it. I would like to see a book length treatment.