ERIC Number: EJ1007200
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 0
Evolution and Our Inner Conflict
Wilson, Edward O.
Journal of General Education, v62 n1 p3-6 2013
Are human beings intrinsically good but corruptible by the forces of evil, or the reverse, innately sinful yet redeemable by the forces of good? Are people built to pledge their lives to a group, even to the risk of death, or the opposite, built to place one's self and one's families above all else? Scientific evidence, a good part of it accumulated into the past twenty years, suggests that humans are all of these things simultaneously. Within biology itself, the key to the mystery is the force that lifted prehuman social behavior to the human level. The leading candidate in the author's judgment is multilevel selection, by which hereditary social behavior improves the competitive ability not of just individuals within groups but among groups as a whole. Its consequences can be plainly seen in the caste systems of ants, termites, and other social insects. The reader should be warned that the revival of multilevel selection as the principal force of social evolution remains a hotly contested idea. Its opponents believe the principal force to be kin selection. He is convinced after years of research on the subject that multilevel selection, with a powerful role of group-to-group competition, has forged advanced social behavior--including that of humans.
Descriptors: World Views, Evidence, Holistic Approach, Entomology, Social Stratification, Biology, Social Behavior, Groups, Competition, Evolution, Religion, Ideology, Role of Religion, Altruism, Conflict
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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