Thursday, April 26, 2012

E.O Wilson - Evolution selects on both group and individual level

E.O Wilson, the grand old biologist, has a new book out - The Social conquest of earth.
While I'm waiting for the mail man to bring me the book, I've listened to a few presentations online.
Wilson just did a Seminar of long term thinking - talk for the Long now foundation. If you are interested in evolution, you should listen to it.
One of his main points is that evolution in fact selects at both group and individual level - not just at the individual level, which has been the orthodoxy for many years.

In his recap of the talk, Steward Brand writes:
Wilson’s alternative he calls “multi-level selection,” where individual selection and group selection proceed together (with kin selection a continuing bit player). In our eusocial species, that mix of traits makes us “permanently unstable, permanently conflicted” between selfish impulses and cooperative impulses. We negotiate these conflicts endlessly within ourselves and with each other. Wilson sees inherent adaptive value in that constant negotiation."

Another good introduction to Wilsons book is this interview with Charlie Rose. At 19 minutes, it's amazingly comprehensive.

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