Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In this wide-ranging book, Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard scientist (The Ants), addresses the large question of 'why advanced social life exists at all, and has occurred so rarely in the history of life.' Wilson, the world's leading expert on ants, compares the evolutionary similarities between the social insects '2 percent of the one million known species of insects' and humans. Much of this material has been recycled from Wilson's previous work. He triggers more interest when he argues that biologists have been seriously mistaken about the way evolution operates. Instead of the current paradigm stressing the importance of individual and kin selection (as kin carry many of the individual's genes), Wilson believes that human evolution is driven by individual and non kinship-based group selection (prehumans living in groups cared for their young and divided labor; groups competed against each other on one level of selection, and within a group, individuals competed to reproduce). Wilson believes that complex patterns of social behavior are the result of selection at both group and individual levels, but he doesn't go into enough depth (which would include mathematical analysis) to be completely persuasive. He does, however, explore the factors leading to the development of morality, religion, and the creative arts in human society. 90 illus. Agent: John Williams, Kneerim & Williams Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career.
About the Author
Regarded as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists, Edward O. Wilson grew up in south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, where he spent his boyhood exploring the region's forests and swamps, collecting snakes, butterflies, and ants — the latter to become his lifelong specialty. The author of more than twenty books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Ants and The Naturalist, as well as his first novel Anthill, Wilson, a professor at Harvard, makes his home in Lexington, Massachusetts.