The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme", also known as the "Spandrels paper", is a paper by evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, originally published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in 1979. The paper criticizes the adaptationist school of thought that was prevalent in evolutionary biology at the time using two metaphors: that of the spandrels in St Mark's Basilica, a cathedral in Venice, Italy, and that of the fictional character "Pangloss" in Voltaire's novella Candide. The paper was the first to use the architectural term "spandrel" in a biological context.

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