Talking about theories with David Dobbs on Skeptically Speaking

“What is a legitimate theory? How do you know a legitimate theory when you see one? How do you generate a legitimate theory?”

During our April 1 interview on Skeptically Speaking, David Dobbs pinpointed these as the heart of his 2005 book “Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral.” It tells the gripping human story of Alexander Agassiz, growing up in his father’s shadow and dedicating himself to an evidence-based quest to disprove Darwin’s coral reef theory.  I often teach undergrad classes that ask similar questions. Next time, I might just send my students to read his book instead. It is a fascinating account of several scientific giants and those around them trying to sort of what science is. You can read the great serialized excerpts he has been posting on his blog at and find my interview with him at Skeptically Speaking.


Leave a Reply