Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins’

The Sunday review: The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O Wilson

28/10/2012, 08:00:57 AM

by Anthony Painter

A few months ago an almighty row broke out in the world of evolutionary biology. Unsurprisingly, on one side was Richard Dawkins. On the other was Edward O Wilson who had co-written a piece in the journal, Nature, rejecting a view of evolution advocated by Richard Dawkins. He followed it up with a book: The Social Conquest of Earth. The row broke out on the pages of Prospect. With characteristic reserve, Dawkins concluded (borrowing from Dorothy Parker): “this is not a book to be tossed lightly aside. It should be thrown with great force.”

Edward O Wilson responded with two curt paragraphs. Dawkins had pointed to objections to the Nature piece from over 100 evolutionary biologists. Wilson replied: “If science depended on rhetoric and polls, we would still be burning objects with phlogiston and navigating with geocentric maps.”

This was full-on war; mud-wrestling rather than clinical dissection. Over at the Huffington Post, David Sloan Wilson (no relation to Edward O.), reprimanded them both. Their debate was almost half a century out of date. Not only that, but Dawkins was “unbecoming.” And you thought politics was bad.


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