I caught a PBS presentation last night by the name of “Of Ants and Men” It is a documentary on E.O. Wilson and covers his life as a scientist and his personal history. All I can say is I am blown away by the accomplishments of this man, and the show was spectacular. I highly urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to do so at your earliest opportunity.
It is so good, I was watching a baseball game last night with playoff possibilities, and thought I’d go back and forth between commercials and keep up with the game. I still have no idea who won the game and don’t even care. It is that good.
Mr. Wilson is the father of sociobiology and popularized the term biodiversity. He took a lot of heat for sociobiology as it ran counter to popular thinking of the day, but I believe over time his sociobiology has been vindicated. It appears to me to have been almost as profound and as important as the work of Darwin himself.
Sociobiology is the assumption that our social aspects evolved as we did, which to me isn’t that far off base. The heat he took was from other scientists who believe that our social aspects are genetic in nature. I fail to see the problem here, as I feel that in the bigger picture, both are correct. Social behavior had to evolve with us, or we would not be what we are today. Genetics are of course a grounded standard for the way we may be wired. Finally culture or environment, and our life experiences, polish up the who and what we may have become. I see it all as one large system incorporating all of these conditions. Hell I am no scientist, I am not university trained in any particualr field, I am just a guy who has been paying attention through life, watching, learning, and trying in my own way to make sense of my surroundings. It all made good sense to me.
They also covered group selection, kin selection, tribal groups, among other things, and every single point to me was spot on.
Now Mr. Wilson, it could be said from a few things I have read, may be a little soft on religion, but I think I can forgive him that considering his massive achievements. Anyone who has a ken to understand evolution, social evolution, see a lot of fantastic science, and finally, sort of, get to know a guy anyone would desire as a friend, has got to see this show.
“Of Ants and Men.” Look for it.