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The first section of Steven Jay Gould’s (1996) Life’s Grandeur is called ‘How shall we read and spot a trend?’. Gould’s subjects here are nothing less than the meaning of life on earth and the cherished human idea of ‘progress’. He begins by discussing people’s tendency to use both the word and the metaphor of ‘progress’ whenever they talk about ‘natural selection’ and ‘evolution’, even though formal evolutionary theory suggests no such thing. For Gould, this is a mistake because, as with pre-Copernican and pre-Darwinian ways of thinking, it tries to locate humanity at the centre of creation, constructing it as the crowning achievement of life on earth. The idea of ‘progress’ also assigns to evolution a sense of inevitability, as if the only reason for there being life in the first place was to produce human kind. So even though we may think humans are the embodiment of ‘progress’, we should not forget that Homo sapiens is ‘only a recent twiglet on an ancient and enormous genealogical bush’ (Gould 1996: 41).