딸기가 보는 세상/아메리카vs아메리카

굴드의 죽음.

딸기21 2002. 5. 21. 20:24

아침에, 뉴욕타임스 프론트 페이지에 덜커덕(!) 실린 부음기사를 보고 깜짝 놀랐습니다.
 

세계 최고의 진화생물학자이자 인간복제 반대론자로 유명한 미국 하버드대의 스티븐 제이 굴드 교수가 20일 지병으로 숨졌다고 합니다. 지병인 선암종(腺癌腫)으로 뉴욕 맨해튼의 집에서 숨졌다네요. 이제 60세 밖에 안 됐는데...올초 저의 관심사가 잠시 '진화'에 가 있었을 때, 굴드 교수의 '풀하우스'를 열심히 읽었거든요. 



안타깝네요, 대중적인 면에서나 학문적 측면에서나, 그 명쾌한 논리와 신랄하면서도 자기반성적인 면모들이 아주 인상적이었는데 말입니다.('풀 하우스'에도 얼핏 그 얘기가 나오는데, 실은 굴드 교수는 암으로 오랫동안 투병해왔고, 이미 죽을 고비를 한번 넘긴 일이 있습니다. 그것과 관한 에세이를 한편 냈다고 하는데 읽지는 못했습니다)

20세기의 가장 영향력 있는 생물학자 중 한 사람으로서 진화생물학의 대중화에 크게 기여한 굴드 교수는 이른바 '좌파적 진화론'으로 널리 알려진 인물입니다. '찰스 다윈 이후 가장 유명한 생물학자'라 불릴 정도로 대중적 영향력이 강했던 굴드 교수는 진화생물학의 논점들을 사회적 이슈로 확대시킨 '논쟁가'로 더욱 유명하죠.


진화를 곧 '발전'으로 보는 직선적 생명관, 다윈이즘을 벗어나지 못한 서구식 가치체계를 끊임없이 비판해온 그는 '진화는 진보가 아니라 다양성의 증가일 뿐'이라는 독특한 진화의 패턴을 주장, '좌파적 진화론자'라는 평을 얻었습니다. 진화의 기본 개념을 바꾼 것과 함께, 고생물학의 연구성과들을 진화생물학에 접목시킨 것 또한 그의 업적으로 평가된다고 합니다.

뉴욕타임스는 "굴드 교수는 이미 5살 때 고생물학자로서의 경력을 시작했다"라는 깜찍한 코멘트를 넣었더군요(참고로 말하자면, 부음 기사를 뉴욕타임스만큼 잘 쓰는 신문은 없습니다. 아주 생생하면서도 슬프게--; 한 인물의 생애를 구성해 놓거든요). 5살 때 아버지와 함께 자연사박물관에 갔다가 공룡 화석을 보고 고생물학에 매료됐다고 스스로 밝힌 적이 있다는 군요.


굴드 교수는 67년 컬럼비아대에서 박사학위를 받은 뒤 하버드대로 옮겨 교수 생활을 시작했습니다. 이 곳에서 화석 연구를 하면서 진화가 특정한 방향성을 가지고 점진적으로 이뤄지는 것이 아님을 발견하고 진화의 새로운 패턴을 찾는데 몰두하게 됐죠. 굴드 교수는 72년에 "진화는 갑작스런 과정을 통해 생태계의 평형상태가 깨어지면서 나타나는 현상"이라는 가설을 제안, 주목을 받았습니다. 진화의 '혁명적 성격'을 강조한 그의 이론은 30여년이 지난 지금까지도 학계에서 논란거리가 되고 있습니다.

진화의 거시적 측면을 연구했던 그는 70년대 후반부터는 생명체의 조직이 수정란에서 분화되는 과정으로 주제를 전환합니다. 진화와 개체발생의 상관관계에 대한 그의 연구는 '에보-데보(evolution and development)라는 새로운 용어를 낳기도 했습니다. 또 하버드대 동료인 리처드 르원틴 교수와 함께 '스팬드럴(Spandril·아치의 빈 공간)' 이론을 주창, 생명체의 모든 부분이 진화의 '목적'에 부응하는 것은 아니라는 가설을 제안하기도 했죠. 르원틴은 널리 알려진대로, 굴드 교수와 함께 하버드대 진화생물학 교실의 쌍두마차인데 '우리 유전자 안에 없다' 라는 책으로 유명하죠.


굴드 교수는 '풀 하우스', '시간의 화살', '판다의 엄지' 등 많은 저서를 남겼는데 국내에도 편역서인 '클론 앤드 클론', '인간복제 무엇이 문제인가' 같은 여러 책들이 번역돼 있습니다. 동료 학자인 스탠 래추틴 교수는 "굴드는 생물학자들에게 유기체를 연구하는 새로운 길을 열어준 인물"이라고 평가했다고 합니다.

그러나 그가 대중적으로 알려진 것은 학문적 업적과 함께 문필가로 이름을 날리면서부터라고 해야겠죠. 대중적인 생물학저서들을 내놓고 미디어 기고활동을 벌이던 그는 1990년대 이후 인간복제에 반대하는 활동을 활발히 펼쳐 '스타 과학자'로 부상했습니다. 과학기술 낙관론 편에 선 리처드 도킨스와 대비되는 '논객'으로서 언제나 논란의 맨 앞에 서 있었죠. '이기적 유전자'의 저자인 도킨스 교수는 "인간 복제를 생각조차 하지 말라는 것은 너무 적대적인 사고 방식"이라 주장하는 반면, 과학비평가로서 굴드 교수는 "인간의 어리석음이 얼마나 큰지 결코 과소평가를 해서는 안 된다"는 쪽이었습니다.


어쨌든 복제 반대론자들의 논거는 상당부분 굴드 교수의 활동과 이론에 기대고 있었으며, 이 때문에 그는 미국 언론들이 가장 많이 인용하는 과학자 중 하나로 선정되기도 했습니다. 또 미국의 인기 만화 '심슨 가족'에 캐릭터로 등장할 만큼 대중적 인기를 누려왔습닏다.

과학만능주의를 끊임없이 경계해온 굴드 교수의 사망으로 복제반대론자들은 최고의 투사를 잃게 된 셈이군요. 진작에 굴드 교수를 복제해놓을 일이지...^^;


아래는 뉴욕타임스 기사.

May 20, 2002

Stephen Jay Gould, Biologist and Theorist on Evolution, Dies at 60
By CAROL KAESUK YOON


Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary theorist at Harvard University whose research, lectures and prolific output of essays helped to reinvigorate the field of paleontology, died today at his home in Manhattan. He was 60.

The cause was adenocarcinoma of the lung, according to his wife, Rhonda Roland Shearer.

One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century and perhaps the best known since Charles Darwin, Dr. Gould touched off numerous debates, forcing scientists to rethink sometimes entrenched ideas about evolutionary patterns and processes. He is credited with bringing a forsaken paleontological perspective to the evolutionary mainstream.

Dr. Gould achieved a fame unprecedented among modern evolutionary biologists. The closest thing to a household name in the field, he became part of mainstream iconography when he was depicted in cartoon form on "The Simpsons." Renovations of his SoHo loft in Manhattan were featured in a glowing article in Architectural Digest.

Famed for both brilliance and arrogance, Dr. Gould was the object of admiration and jealousy, both revered and reviled by colleagues.

Outside the academy, Dr. Gould was almost universally adored. In his column in Natural History magazine, he employed a voice that was a successful combination of learned Harvard professor and baseball-loving everyman. The Cal Ripken of essayists, he produced a meditation for each of 300 consecutive issues starting in 1974 and ending in 2001. Many were collected into best-selling books like "Bully for Brontosaurus."

Dr. Gould was born on Sept. 10, 1941 in Queens, the son of Leonard Gould, a court stenographer, and Eleanor Gould, an artist and entrepreneur. Dr. Gould took his first steps toward a career in paleontology as a 5-year-old when he visited the American Museum of Natural History with his father.

"I dreamed of becoming a scientist, in general, and a paleontologist, in particular, ever since the Tyrannosaurus skeleton awed and scared me," he once wrote. In an upbringing filled with fossils and the Yankees, he attended P.S. 26 and Jamaica High School. He then studied geology at Antioch College in Ohio.

In 1967 he received a doctorate in paleontology from Columbia University and went on to teach at Harvard where he would spend the rest of his career. But it was in graduate school that Dr. Gould and then fellow graduate student Dr. Niles Eldredge, now a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, began sowing the seeds for the most famous of the still-roiling debates that he is credited with helping to start.

Studying the fossil record, the two students could not find the gradual, continuous change in fossil forms they were taught was the stuff of evolution. Instead they found sudden appearances of new fossil forms (sudden, that is, on the achingly slow geological time scale) followed by long periods in which these organisms changed little.

Evolutionary biologists had always ascribed such difficulties to the famous incompleteness of the fossil record. But in 1972, the two proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium, a revolutionary suggestion that the sudden appearances and lack of change were, in fact, real. According to the theory, there are long periods of time, sometimes millions of years, during which species change little, if at all. Intermittently, new species arise and there is rapid evolutionary change on a geological time scale (still interminably slow on human time scales) resulting in the sudden appearance of new forms in the fossil record. This creates punctuations of rapid change against a backdrop of steady equilibrium, hence the name.

Thirty years later, scientists are still arguing over how often the fossil record shows a punctuated pattern and how such a pattern might arise. Many credit punctuated equilibrium with promoting the flowering of the field of macroevolution in which researchers study large-scale evolutionary changes often in a geological time frame.

In 1977, Dr. Gould's book, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" drew biologists' attention to the long-ignored relationship between how organisms develop - that is, how an adult gets built from the starting plans of an egg ?and how they evolve.

`'Gould has given biologists a new way to see the organisms they study," wrote Dr. Stan Rachootin, an evolutionary biologist at Mount Holyoke College. Many credit the book with helping to inspire the new field of evo-devo, or the study of evolution and development.

Dr. Gould and Dr. Richard Lewontin, also at Harvard, soon elaborated on the importance of how organisms are built, or their architecture, in a famous paper about a feature of buildings known as a spandrel. Spandrels, the spaces in the corners above an arch, exist as a necessary outcome of building with arches. In the same way, they argued, some features of organisms exist simply as the result of how an organism develops or is built. Thus researchers, they warned, should refrain from assuming every feature exists for some adaptive purpose.

In March, Dr. Gould saw publication of "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" which he described as his magnum opus and over which he toiled for decades. The book lays out his vision for synthesizing Darwin's original ideas and his major contributions to macroevolutionary theory.

"It is a heavyweight work," wrote Dr. Mark Ridley, evolutionary biologist at University of Oxford in England. And despite sometimes "almost pathological logorrhea" at 1,433 pages, "it is still a magnificent summary of a quarter-century of influential thinking and a major publishing event in evolutionary biology."

Dr. Gould was also dogged by vociferous, often high profile critics. Some charged that his theories, like punctuated equilibrium, were so malleable and difficult to pin down, that they were essentially untestable.

After once proclaiming that Dr. Gould had brought paleontology back to the high table of evolutionary theory, Dr. John Maynard Smith, evolutionary biologist at University of Sussex in England, wrote that other evolutionary biologists "tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with." Sometimes these criticisms descended into so-called "Gould-bashing" where the charges were as personal as intellectual. Punctuated equilibrium, for example, has been called "evolution by jerks."

Some who study smaller-scale evolution within species, called microevolutionists, reject his arguments that there are unique features to large-scale, or macroevolution. Instead they say that macroevolution is nothing more than microevolution played out over long periods. Dr. Gould also had heated battles with sociobiologists, researchers employing a particular method of studying animal behavior, and there are many there who reject his ideas as well.

Others criticized him for championing theories that challenge parts of the modern Darwinian framework, an act some see as aiding and abetting creationists. Yet Dr. Gould was a visible opponent of efforts to get evolution out of the classroom.

Most people knew Dr. Gould as an entertaining esssayist. Credited with saving the dying art form of the scientific essay, he often told tales of scientific insight by pulling together unrelated ideas or things. (He began one essay by conjoining Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin - an unlikely couple - noting his discovery that they were born on the same day.) A champion of the underdog (except in his support of the Yankees), he favored theories and scientists that had been forgotten or whose reputations were in disrepair.

Dr. Gould also popularized evolutionary ideas at Harvard, sometimes finding his lecture halls filled to standing room only. But while his tales of adventure typically took place in the library, colleagues said that Dr. Gould, whose specialty was Cerion land snails in the Bahamas, was also impressive in the field.

Noting that in graduate school Dr. Gould dodged bullets and drug runners to collect specimens of Cerion, a group comprised of both living and fossil species, Dr. Sally Walker, who studies Cerion at University of Georgia, once said, "That guy can drive down the left side of the road," which is required in the Bahamas, "then jump out the door and find Cerion when we can't even see it." Then, she recalled, this multilingual, internationally respected Renaissance man, student of classical music and astronomy and countless other eclectia, might joyously break out into Gilbert and Sullivan song.

Dr. Gould is survived by his wife, his mother, his two sons from a previous marriage, Jesse Gould of Cambridge and Ethan Gould of Boston, his stepson Jade Allen of Gainesville, Fla., his stepdaughter London Allen of Manhattan and his former wife Deborah Lee of Cambridge.

Dr. Gould had an earlier battle with cancer in 1982. Diagnosed with abdominal mesothelioma, he reacted by dragging himself to Harvard's medical library as soon as he could walk. In a well known essay entitled, "The Median is not the Message," he described discovering that the median survival time after diagnosis was a mere eight months. Rather than giving up hope, he wrote that he used his knowledge of statistics to translate an apparent death sentence into the hopeful realization that half those diagnosed survived longer than eight months, perhaps much longer, giving him the strength to fight on.

"When my skein runs out I hope to face the end calmly and in my own way," he wrote. However, "death is the ultimate enemy ?and I find nothing reproachable in those who rage mightily against the dying of the light." He survived the illness through experimental treatment.

Dr. Gould received innumerable awards and honors, including a MacArthur "genius" grant the first year they were awarded. He served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard and the Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University.

Whether eloquently and forcefully championing new or forgotten ideas or dismantling what he saw as misconceptions, Dr. Gould, who died in a bed in his library among his beloved books, spent a career trying to shed light on an impossibly wide variety of subjects.

He once wrote, "I love the wry motto of the Paleontological Society (meant both literally and figuratively, for hammers are the main tool of our trade): Frango ut patefaciam ?I break in order to reveal."