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Sociobiologist E.O. Wilson dies


Edward O. Wilson Associated Press, file

Sociobiologist E.O. Wilson dies

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author and evolutionist known as the father of sociobiology died on Sunday at the age of 92. Edward O. Wilson developed a controversial theory of evolutionary altruism based on his extensive study of the behaviors of ants and other social animals such as termites and monkeys. He theorized about how natural selection could develop a sense of morality in a species based on his observations that individual animals will die for the community.

What is Wilson’s legacy? Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for his books On Human Nature (1978) and The Ants (1990). In an NPR interview on his work The Creation, he said, “I grew up Southern Baptist. And I deserve a certain amount of legitimacy, even though I’ve drifted, shall we say, away.” He believed “the best thing would be to eliminate religions, though not human spiritual yearning.”

Dig deeper: Read Richard Weikart’s 2012 article about how naturalistic ideas undermine morality.

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