Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | July 23, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—July 24, 2009: The Median Isn’t the Message

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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Stephen Jay Gould  (1941 – 2002) was an American professor of zoology at Harvard University who made many scientific contributions to the fields of evolutionary biology and paleontology, but is best known for the theory of punctuated equilibrium.  This theory states that evolution occurs in spurts interspersed within long stretches of evolutionary stability.  He also was an author of popular science books and essays; these include The Mismeasure of Man, The Panda’s Thumb, Bully for Brontosaurus, and his regular column in Natural History magazine, ‘This View of Life’.   In 1982, he was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, and his recovery became the subject of an essay he published in Discover Magazine.

This week’s text is that essay, “The Median Isn’t the Message” (1985).  It is about the statement, “the median survival of patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma is eight months” and what that really means.

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event! You can find Gould’s text at these websites:

http://www.cornucopiahouse.org/Misc%20Documents/The%20median%20isn’t%20the%20message.doc

http://www.cancerguide.org/median_not_msg.html


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