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The Social Conquest of Earth
by Edward O. Wilson


Overview - Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first (Discover magazine).  Read more...

 
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More About The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson
 
 
 
Overview
Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth s biosphere."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780871404138
  • ISBN-10: 0871404133
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publish Date: April 2012
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 9.41 x 6.49 x 1.21 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.42 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Science > Life Sciences - Evolution
Books > Social Science > Anthropology - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Answering the questions of human evolution

With his probing curiosity, his dazzling research, his elegant prose and his deep commitment to bio­diversity, Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist (The Ants) and novelist (The Anthill) Edward O. Wilson has spent his life searching for the evolutionary paths by which humans developed and passed along the social behaviors that best promote the survival of our species. His eloquent, magisterial and compelling new book offers a kind of summing-up of his magnificent career.

In The Social Conquest of Earth, Wilson asks three simple questions: “Where do we come from?”; “What are we?”; and “Where are we going?” Answering these questions, however, is not so simple, and he brings together disciplines ranging from molecular genetics to archaeology to social psychology in his quest to address these persistent queries.

Drawing upon detailed mathematical models and meticulous biological research, including his own work with the social insects—ants, wasps, termites—Wilson concludes that multilevel group selection, rather than inclusive fitness and kin selection, offers a fuller and more accurate explanation of the origins and development of human social behavior. He demonstrates persuasively how the conflict between individual selection (the competition for survival among members of the same group) and group selection (which shapes instincts that tend to make individuals altruistic toward one another) has led to our very human struggle between good and evil. The worst in our nature coexists with the best; to scrub it out, even if such were possible, would make us less than human.

While not everyone will agree with Wilson’s provocative and challenging conclusions, everyone who engages with his ideas will discover sparkling gems of wisdom uncovered by the man who is our Darwin and our Thoreau.

 
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