ProSocial David Sloan Wilson

No comment yet, since I haven’t read it. Hope to get to it.


Yeah interesting guy, I’ve listened him speak before, but don’t know much about him. After this interview, I wish I knew a few like him. Now that I’m pretty well finished with Buddha Science, I just might have to cue up that book next. Thanks for the tip.
Ironically, at 36:33 he points out that Buddha’s Four Noble Truths outline the reality of evolution. I like the way he framed it.

David Sloan Wilson - An Evolutionary Approach to a Meaningful Life

Apr 25, 2021 - The Weekend University

Get early access to our latest psychology lectures: Get a copy of Atlas Hugged: David Sloan Wilson is one of the world’s foremost evolutionary thinkers and a gifted communicator about evolution to the general public. He is a SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University in New York.

In addition to his teaching and research work, David is President of Prosocial World – an organisation which aims to catalyze positive cultural change to consciously evolve who we are, how we connect with each other, and how we interact with the planet.

He is passionate about making evolutionary science more accessible to a wider audience, and in 2019, he was invited to speak with the Dalai Lama about his work. David is the author of several books on evolutionary theory, including: “This View of Life”, “Evolution for Everyone”, “Darwin’s Cathedral”, “Does Altruism Exist?”, and the co-author of “Prosocial”, along with Paul Atkins and Steven Hayes.

In this conversation, we discuss some of the key insights and themes from David’s first novel: Atlas Hugged. …

1 Like

I’ve been listening to David S. Wilson’s book “Evolution For Everyone” awesome book. Must read for anyone wanting to understand what evolution is actually about, (as opposed to the simplistic headlines we all love discussing).

Evolution for Everyone

By David Sloan Wilson, book 2007


With stories that entertain as much as they inform, renowned evolutionist David Sloan Wilson outlines the basic principles of evolution and shows how, when properly understood, they can illuminate the length and breadth of creation, from the origin of life to the nature of religion.
What is the biological reason for gossip? For laughter? For the creation of art? Why do dogs have curly tails? What can microbes tell us about morality?

These and many other questions are tackled by Wilson in this witty and groundbreaking new book. Now everyone can move beyond the sterile debates about creationism and intelligent design to share Darwin’s panoramic view of animal and human life, seamlessly connected to each other.

Evolution, as Wilson explains, is not just about dinosaurs and human origins, but about why all species behave as they do—from beetles that devour their own young, to bees that function as a collective brain, to dogs that are smarter in some respects than our closest ape relatives. And basic evolutionary principles are also the foundation for humanity’s capacity for symbolic thought, culture, and morality. …

I’m on my second pass and there are so many layers his words expose, I have the feeling it’ll take a few more reads to get all I can out of it (keep promising myself to keep a little notebook and make notes, but then life happens. :woozy_face: Just started chapter 24: Vital Arts, after a chapter headed: The First Laugh. You know, Apes laugh? Trivial, so what, ya think? Nope, it’s a key to understanding the slow evolutionary development of human communication and society cohesion.

Stuff we would never consider, such as, relating insect societies with soldiers trance during marching and cadence - then onto dance and neural networks and we virtually unstoppable humans. Wonderful stuff, …

David Wilson is a thoroughly informed scientist, gifted with the skill to simply, yet masterfully, explain layers of knowledge.

Guaranteed to open up new vistas of possibilities and understanding for anyone who reads it. (From novice to scientific professional.) A genuinely mind-expanding intellectual experience.

1 Like

Old thread but yes multilevel selection is real.

There is bit of information that is key to understand what it means to be human. Humans don’t have tools because they have large brains, they have large brains because tools allowed for the diversion of energy away from the gut to evolve a large brain. We are the cultural ape.

Cultural evolution proceeds at an amazing pace, over the course of 20,000 years stone tools are about to become actual artificial intelligence. That course was unavoidable when the first ape picked up a stone and broke bones with it. I turns out that human intelligence has always been “artificial”. It largely isn’t a product of the individual but the culture the individual inhabits. You don’t get any Einsteins in a tribal society.

The problem of recognizing multilevel selection arose when progressives wanted to distance themselves from genetic determinism after WWII for obvious reasons. They went so far as to distance themselves from cultural evolution. There is a group selection process at work and that runs counter to the ideals of humanism. But does it? There is nothing that says cultural evolution has to be tied to ethnicity. People in free societies are able to pick aspects of culture as they please. Even in some not so free societies the benefits of cultural assimilation are obvious. Most glaringly currently in how the Chinese after adopting Western style capitalism turned loose amazing economic development. The same process allowed the Japanese to conquer most of Asia. You could argue that adopting that aspect of Western culture wasn’t a good choice but that isn’t the way evolution works. Evolution has no purpose only humans have purpose.

1 Like