Selfish or Social? Who Has Winner Genes?
by The Charter
1 year ago
Today, May 22, is International Biological Diversity Day! And, when one thinks biological diversity, one thinks E. O. Wilson. He is, after all, not only one of the most famous and respected scientists in the world and the father of sociobiology, but also the brains behind the worlds largest reference work on biodiversity.
Like Karen Armstrong, E.O. Wilson was awarded a TED Prize. His wish? “I wish that we will work together to help create the key tool that we need to inspire preservation of Earth’s biodiversity."
The result was the ever-growing, ever-fascinating online Encyclopedia of Life. What is EOL? - Information and pictures of all species known to science.
The Encyclopedia of Life has grown In 2011, a redesigned and vastly expanded version of the site launched. The site includes 1,061,094 dynamic species pages with verified scientific data, links to related biodiversity literature, distribution maps, images, and more. EOL works with over 170 international content partners and with countless individual scientists to safeguard the rich spectrum of life on the planet. Users can upload images to the EOL group on Flickr and contribute, tag, and comment on EOL data.
But leading a drive to catalog, and help preserve, every form of life hasn't stopped E.O. Wilson from writing books that create a scientific stir. His most recent publication, The Social Conquest of Earth, has renewed a debate over just how evolution works -- through kin, social, individual or group selection. Wilson has stepped out into the fray with eusociality -- the idea that our success as a species has a lot to do with the evolution traits that benefit the social group, not just the individual or the family. Popular science has heralded his theory as the tale of an "altruistic" gene rather than the "selfish" gene of Richard Dawkins and others.
Of course, to reduce Wilson's work to pop code words does it an injustice -- so explore for yourself. What's the origin of compassion? Tell us on Facebook.