Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward Wilson

I love reading history and this is quite a unique view of human history. This is a very readable book. Wilson expresses his ideas very clearly. There is a great review of Wilson and this book at the Guardian by Susanna Rustin.

Wilson has clearly upset a number of people, especially Richard Dawkins. If you want to see his review go to the prospect article. Personally, I hope that Wilson is right and Dawkins is wrong. I very much liked what Wilson wrote and it makes a lot of sense. The thing with Dawkins is that he cannot stand anyone disagreeing with him.

Unfortunately, scientists have a bad habit of ridiculing new ideas and then they make a 360 turn and blindly accept the new idea. Look at what happen with the guy who developed the idea of plate tectonics. Other scientist laugh at his ideas for years, then all of a sudden accepted them. Just because Dawkins says he has 140 scientists that agree with him means nothing. Science is not a popularity contest. (It is something else to see Dawkins talk about someone else being wantonly arrogant when Dawkins is the pure form of arrogance.)

There is an hour and half video on this book on YouTube. It is well worth it. I particularly liked the sections of the book on insects. I found this absolutely fascinating. There is a great program done by PBS called Lord of the Ants. This special PBS program is all about E. O. Wilson's perspective on the world. It is about an hour long and while worthwhile. He also was involved in the Encyclopedia of Life project.

There is a fairly good book review at the Wall Street Journal. There are three more reviews at Integral Options Cafe. Reviewers have a hard time about the fact that Wilson changed his mind about kin selection and has backed group selection.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Wilson. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.