Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 31 August 2012
Ed Wilson writes compellingly about the evolution of humans and their impact on other species. He is an authoritative scientist who has studied social insects especially ants around the globe. He has used a new term "Eusocial" to describe how such insects interact and his reasoning challenges some of Richard Dawkins assumptions about"The Selfish Gene" but agrees with him about the "creation myth". Wilson does not intend to be deliberately controversial but his cogent arguments about the future of humanity tackle many ethical problems and compare our evolution with that of the chimpanzees and other close relatives. He is keen to issue a warning about the worries and contentions of daily life and our motivation and innate tribalism. He is hoping that the future will involve more cooperation and warns of the stultifying effects of organised religion.

I still consider his much earlier book "The Diversity of Life" as my favourite but I can recommend "The Social Conquest of Earth" to anyone who wants to read a challenging and thought provoking book. It should appeal to scientists and non-scientists alike.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 November 2013
This is a brillient book, bringing together bio-socio-psychological insights into a new synthesis to understands humankind's evolutionary development and how we are intimately connected to the `natural world' and how we do `better together'- it leaves Dawkins over-simplistic `selfish gene' behind, indicating our potential to corect the damage we've done to the planet and ourselves
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 May 2012
Having read a number of books by Wilson, I continued to learn a lot from this one, such as his new critical views on inclusive-fitness theory and kin selection (chapter 18). Especially noteworthy are his discussions of eurosociality, phenotypic plasticity, gene-culture coevolution, group selection, and more. Impressive is his statement, made despite the advancements in knowledge discussed in the book, on "our miserable lack of self-understanding as a species" (p. 287).
However, leaving aside minor matters (such as off-the-cuff judgments against human space exploration, pp. 295-6), the book suffers from some serious flaws. The first one involves religion, which he regards as irreconcilable with science. But the real issue is whether science can prove or disprove the existence of a transcendental entity, not one of providing biological, psychological and evolutionary explanations of religious phenomena. As science has no way to take up the fundamental question of why there is "something" rather than "nothing," all attempts to prove or disprove "scientifically" the existence of a "God" are ill-advised. It would have been better if the author had left this issue to philosophic discourse, however inconclusive, rather than join those who claim for science what is beyond it.
The author also expects the validity of values to be supported or falsified by scientific findings. Thus, he criticizes Roman-Catholic views on artificial contraception in terms of their utility for family cohesion (pp. 252-3). However, while acceptance or rejection of values can in principle be explained scientifically, this has nothing to do with the moral validation of values, which is a matter for human judgment and essential for moral responsibility of human beings.
When the book moves into success and failure of tribes, it loses its groundings. The statement "an iron rule exists in genetic social evolution. It is that selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, while groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals" (p. 243) sounds great, but does not stand the test of history. Thus, to take one example of many, it is wrong to regard Great Britain during the industrial revolution as distinguished by domestic empathy, while it became the dominant global superpower. Rise and decline of societies depends on many factors, but domestic altruism is not a major one.
Finally, the author is much too sanguine about humanity and its future, He underrates radical evil, also within "tribes," and overrates the potentials of "honor," up to regarding it as the "final reserve of altruism that may yet save our race" (p. 251). Even worse, he ignores most of the dangers of self-termination of the human species stemming from being genetically and culturally unprepared to use for the better the increasing capabilities to shape the future provided by science and technology. This is all the more a pity as it would be important to benefit from the views of an outstanding thinking such as Wilson on what is the most critical issue facing the human species.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 September 2012
At first, Wilson seems very hard-headed and technical with his intricate analysis of how social life evolved. He's perhaps the world's greatest expert on social insects, so his comparison of sociality among the bugs and the humans gives a great combination of fine detail with broad perspective. Because Wilson looks at clanishness and meat eating as utterly necessary steps in the evolution of human communities, I thought he was going to defend tribalism as a necessary reality of life. But as he reviews human history and modern social trends, he sees a critical path toward inclusivity, creativity, and mutual care as the requirements for success, which will replace tribal-style culture and religion as known in the past.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 January 2015
Great peace of work, must read!

I believe we would continue our conquest of earth, by bringing science and religion together, to make Earth a final frontier in this Space
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 June 2014
The first half of the Book related to the social structure of insect societies the second half related to human's social behaviour. I am only interested in human behaviour.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 April 2014
Brilliant, I could not put it down.The information covereed the subject thoroughly, and helped me comprehend such an important issue.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 September 2012
Written to be approachable and understood as widely as possible. This is a humane and thoughtful attempt to synthesize the branches of research into our history as a species and provide the most likely explanation of how we came to be as we are.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 May 2012
A narrative explaining a lot of material about anthropology and social psychology.
Dr. E.O. Wilson gives the accent of Homo sapiens from origin to present day

This book is a very important new history of animal and human evolution. YES,
ants are mentioned!

Asking, why does advanced social life exist? Where do we come from? How about,
the forces of social evolution! What are we? Where are we going?

Greatly appreciated and recommended!

Dag Stomberg
St Andrews,Scotland
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 October 2014
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)