The Clash Between Gould and Watson
In book Double Helix, by James Watson and the essay “Male Nipples And Clitoral Ripples” by Stephen Jay Gould, both authors discuss how their discoveries on science impacted the world. For example, James Watson offers his own personal account of the discovery of the DNA structure and how it came to existence. Whereas, Gould uses scientific research to analyze the theory of evolution and the impact it had on the structure of human body parts. Similarly, both Watson and Gould are convincing and effective in their own unique ways. Although Watson’s story is controversial and more straightforward, Gould engages his audience with emotion by providing them with his insightful opinions on complex scientific theories.
Gould’s compelling writing style forces his reader’s to create their own interpretations and perspectives about his claims. Watson’s begins his story by providing brief descriptions of his colleagues that he worked with during the discovery of the DNA molecule. He specially focuses his attention to describing Rosalind Franklin. Watson describes her as, “She did not emphasize her feminine qualities. Her features were, no attractive, and it was quite easy to imagine her the product of an unsatisfied mother. While at the age of thirty-one her dresses showed all the imagination of blue-stocking adolescents. Clearly Rosy had to go or be put in her place”.
Watson’s portrayal of Rosy are straightforward and judgmental. The use of the words “unattractive” and “unsatisfied” displays Watson’s disrespect and hatred towards woman scientists. In addition, his characterization of Rosy develops his story as not interesting and rude to his audience. Watson’s description of her “blue stocking adolescents” illustrates that he is insensitive and unsympathetic about other people’s feelings. The phrase “put in her place” indicates that Watson is acting like a bully over Rosy. It almost as if Rosy is helpless and she cannot defend herself. Instead of giving Rosy the credit for the X-rays photographs she deserves, he decides to criticize her with negative comments which creates a sense of unfairness to his audience. All Watson wants is to have all the fame, and does not to credit others for the work they had accomplished. This reveals Watson as a selfish and greedy individual that just has a desire to win awards. Therefore, readers will feel more sympathetic for Rosy, while it makes Watson’s story become more controversial and less engaging for readers to read. Conversely, in the essay “Male Nipples And Clitoral Ripples” Gould is able to engage his readers by presenting them with scientific research of evolution. His goal of the essay is to disprove Darwin’s point that every structure produced must have a purpose or a function. Gould gathers examples from different scientists such as Dwight D, Freud, and Kinsey to strengthen his argument. Towards the end of his essay, Gould concludes his scientific findings by stating, “The fault lies in a severely restrictive and often false functionalist view of life….that many structures have no direct adaptational why. We must first establish how before asking why at all”.
Gould’s complex sentence structure throughout his essay keeps the reader engaged and thinking at all times. By using the phrases, “false functionalist” and “adaptation why”, Gould is trying to point out that each human part does not need to have a function. Thus, the whole concept is just a false assumption, and it is only based on gene development and adaption. He also provides examples of panda’s foot, male nipples, and the woman’s clitoris in his essay to further disprove the functionalist claims. Gould states that these body parts are just structural and have little to no function to them. His complicated writing style is so powerful because he is able to hide his main claims without stating them directly. Gould is able to analyze other people’s research and come with his unique opinions which attracts readers to stay curious and have an open mind. In addition, Gould’s ability to keep the reader confused with questions is what makes his essay so effective and appealing to his audience. Furthermore, Gould also references statistics to strengthen his argument. Gould cites a data report from Kinsey and states that “a frequency of orgasm with intercourse at 30 percent and often attained only with stimulation of the clitoris by hand”.
From the data, Gould concludes that woman’s clitoris is only structural, and only the male penis has a function in intercourse. The data number “30 percent” helps Gould distinguish patterns about evolution and makes his points more believable to readers. By citing statistics, it allows the audience to follow his argument more clearly in a logical manner. Gould’s use of data provides readers with a better understanding and insight about his complex text. Utilizing data to support scientific theories, this convinces his audience to agree more with Gould’s argument than Darwin’s ideas on evolution. By providing statistical evidence, it adds more factual weight to Gould’s argument, and this is an element that Watson lacks in his book. Both Gould and Watson use different ways and strategies to discuss how science impacts the world. Watson’s points and story is not as interesting and his descriptions of characters are kind of dull for readers to read. Meanwhile, Gould puts more pride and enthusiasm in his works.
Gould is able to use statistics, complex structure, and word choice to grasp a reader’s attention from the start of his essay. Gould cites sources from multiple scientists which makes his argument even stronger. In addition to this, Watson taking Rosy’s pictures and using it as his own evidence shows that he is not as credible as Gould. In addition, in the different reviews Watson received, most of them criticize him for his actions and decisions. For example, in the “Reviews of Reviews” by Gunter S. Stent, at the end of Watson’s book, he points out that “Watson’s story presents the dilemma of a good husband who steals the medicine needed to save the life of his gravelly wife. Watson had managed to provide a diagnostic test story, in the genre of the tale of Penniless Heinz and the Mean Druggist”.
Stent’s illustrates this comparison to Heinz’s story to reveal Watson’s lack of moral principles in making the right decisions. By discrediting and being impolite to Rosy, it created many terrible reviews that ruined Watson’s reputation as a scientist and author. This portrays Watson as a self-centered person, who just cares about his own benefit. This makes his audience view him as almost a thief, stealing people’s findings without giving them the credit they deserve. Watson’s judgmental self makes his readers feel less emotionally connected to his story, which also makes his points less convincing. On the contrary, Gould inputs some metaphors to further engage his readers and develop his credibility. At the end of the essay he references a zoological metaphor, by saying “the fox has many tricks and the hedgehog only one, but that is the best of all”.
Gould is using comparison between the “fox” and the “hedgehog” to make the point that only one body part has a function, and the rest do not necessarily need to have a purpose. His decision to end the essay in this way, leaves the readers with a long lasting thought. Gould inserting powerful metaphors in his writing reveals that he is an imaginative writer and has a creative mind.
By using a variety of comparisons, it helps by drawing the reader’s attention and keeps the audience interested at times. Gould’s style of writing is very different than Watson’s techniques. Gould style is much more effective than Watson because of his ability to keep the reader focused and eager to read on constantly. Watson’s writing is more straightforward and simple, while Gould’s essay is filled with complex metaphors and sentences making him more convincing to the audience. Furthermore, Watson’s lack of credibility and constant criticism of characters creates a story that is less believable and true to readers. Whereas, Gould reference of many famous scientists and research convinces his audience that his theory is truly correct. Leaving, Darwin’s points of evolution as just a false assumption that will never be true. Therefore, Gould develops himself as a reliable author who is able to create a strong reasonable and logical argument to his audience.
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In book Double Helix, by James Watson and the essay “Male Nipples And Clitoral Ripples” by Stephen Jay Gould, both authors discuss how their discoveries on science impacted the world. […]