E. O. Wilson : biography
Edward Osborne "E. O." Wilson (born June 10, 1929) is an American biologist, researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is considered to be the world’s leading authority.http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/24/battle-of-the-professors
Wilson is known for his scientific career, his role as "the father of sociobiology", his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.
Wilson was the Joseph Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. – Comprehensive list of Degrees, Awards and Positions He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and a New York Times bestseller for The Social Conquest of Earthhttp://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2012-05-06/hardcover-nonfiction/list.html and Letters to a Young Scientist.http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2013-05-05/hardcover-nonfiction/list.html
Criticism of human sociobiology
Wilson experienced significant criticism for his sociobiological views from several different communities. The scientific response included several of Wilson’s colleagues at Harvard, such as Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, who were strongly opposed to his ideas regarding sociobiology. Marshall Sahlins’s work The Use and Abuse of Biology was a direct criticism of Wilson’s theories.
Politically, Wilson’s sociobiological ideas have offended some Marxists who favored the idea that human behavior was culturally based. Sociobiology re-ignited the nature-versus-nurture debate, and Wilson’s scientific perspective on human nature led to public debate. He was accused of "racism, misogyny, and eugenics." In one incident, his lecture was attacked by the International Committee Against Racism, a front group of the Progressive Labor Party, where one member poured a pitcher of water on Wilson’s head and chanted "Wilson, you’re all wet" at an AAAS conference in November 1978. Wilson later spoke of the incident as a source of pride: "I believe…I was the only scientist in modern times to be physically attacked for an idea."
“I believe Gould was a charlatan,” Wilson told The Atlantic. “I believe that he was … seeking reputation and credibility as a scientist and writer, and he did it consistently by distorting what other scientists were saying and devising arguments based upon that distortion.”
Religious objections included those of Paul E. Rothrock, who said: "… sociobiology has the potential of becoming a religion of scientific materialism." Paul E. Rothrock and Mary Ellen Rothrock
- From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin’s Four Great Books, edited with introductions by Edward O. Wilson (2010 W.W. Norton)
Theories and beliefs
Epic of evolution
"The evolutionary epic," Wilson wrote in his book On Human Nature, "is probably the best myth we will ever have." Wilson’s intended usage of the word "myth" does not denote falsehood – rather, a grand narrative that provides people with placement in time—a meaningful placement that celebrates extraordinary moments of shared heritage. Wilson was not the first to use the term, but his fame prompted its usage as the morphed phrase epic of evolution.
Wilson explained the need for the epic of evolution:Edward O. Wilson, Foreword of Everybody’s Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution By Loyal D. Rue, SUNY Press, 1999, page ix and x,ISBN 0-7914-4392-2,
The worth of the epic, he said, is that "[t]he true evolutionary epic retold as poetry, is as intrinsically ennobling as any religious epic."