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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

E. O. Wilson and civilization


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Jim Harrison

Photo license: CC BY 2.5


E. O. Wilson (1929-now) is an American biologist best known for his contributions to sociobiology and environmental activism. Philosopher Momme von Sydow said,


"Wilson clearly laid down a radical biosociological research program, claiming that sociology should be reduced to biology. This idea has profoundly influenced sociobiology and its reception in the larger public." (From Darwinian Metaphysics Towards Understanding the Evolution of Evolutionary Mechanisms, 2012)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Wilson.


Civilization and culture


"Cultural change is the statistical product of the separate behavioral responses of large numbers of human beings who cope as best they can with social existence." (On Human Nature, 1978)


"Cultural evolution is Lamarckian and very fast, whereas biological evolution is Darwinian and usually very slow." (On Human Nature, 1978)




"My definition of a scientist is that you can complete the following sentence: 'He or she has shown that...'" (Quoted in Why Richard Dawkins is 'not a scientist' by Steve Connor)


"The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and only later works like a bookkeeper." (Letters to a Young Scientist, 2013)


"We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely." (Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, 1998)




"Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago." (Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, 1998)