Wilson 2012

Title The Social Conquest of Earth
Author Wilson, Edward O.
Published 2012
ISBN 0871404133
ISBN13 9780871404138
Bookshelves beyond-nature evolution evolution-society philosophy religion reviewed science
Goodreads ID 12918295
Rating 4
Review A very interesting read, to be recommended to anyone interested in the interaction of culture, sociality and biology. Homo sapiens is an intensely social animal, and this can only be explained by group selection based on a number of preselected traits of the predecessors, according to Wilson. Culture is the layered on top of this, in its turn affecting evolution and therefore also the genetics of humans, making us unique.

Wilson contends that the previously accepted theory of kin selection cannot explain the evolution of sociality in general. In the case of Homo sapiens and its predecessors, multi-level selection involving group selection must be invoked. In my mind the author makes his case convincingly.

The book could have used a tougher editor. It contains some redundant reiteration of arguments and positions. The writing is good and to the point. References are relegated to a section at the back, relieving the text from footnotes and numbered references.