I had thought that Steven Gould had something to do with these ideas. I personally can't stand the guy's speaking or writing style, so I avoid him, but I am pretty sure that he has considered punctuated equilibrium quite a bit, and may have coined it. I bet someone here will know exactly where it was coined though if it was not Gould.
A note about punctuated equilibrium - It sounds like the idea that a "stable set" exists at any moment to be untenable - only because of the logistics of billions upon billions of sets of DNA remaining without any positive change for any measurable amount of time seems unlikely. I have to look at this as an oversimplification - that if your set was small and you could watch, then it might look like punctuated equilibrium - also if you followed a single species it would look that way. The basic idea seems solid to me though.
Eric Boyd wrote:
> Hi virians,
> I have a quick question regarding my recent reading of The Selfish
> Gene (Richard Dawkins, 1976). In chapter 5, on page 93, Dawkins
> "The gene pool will become an /evolutationary stable set/ of genes,
> defined as a gene pool which cannot be invaded by any new gene. Most
> new genes which arise, either by mutation or reassortment or
> immigration, are quickly penalized by natural selection: the
> evolutationary stable set is restored. Occasionally a new gene does
> succeed in invading the set: it succeeds in spreading through the gene
> pool. There is a transitional period of instability, terminating in a
> new evolutationary stable set -- a little bit of evolution has
> occured. [...] Progressive evolution may be not so much a steady
> upward climb as a series of discrete steps from stable plateau to
> stable plateau."
> So my question is -- when did Puncuated Equilibrium enter the meme
> pool? And has anybody else written on the relationship between
> evolutationary stable strategies and puncuated equilibrium?