Home > Uncategorized > Where does good come from? – The Boston Globe

Where does good come from? – The Boston Globe

The distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson was… paraphrasing Arthur Schopenhauer to explain his current standing in his field. “All new ideas go through three phases,” Wilson said, with some happy mischief in his voice. “They’re first ridiculed or ignored. Then they meet outrage. Then they are said to have been obvious all along”…  He has… been pressing a disruptive scientific idea, one he reckons is currently in phase two of the Schopenhauer progression: outrage…

Wilson’s recent about-face on kin selection has stunned the scientific world in part because Wilson was personally responsible for the almost universal embrace of the idea in the first place…

The alternative theory holds that the origins of altruism and teamwork have nothing to do with kinship or the degree of relatedness between individuals. The key, Wilson said, is the group: Under certain circumstances, groups of cooperators can out-compete groups of non-cooperators, thereby ensuring that their genes — including the ones that predispose them to cooperation — are handed down to future generations. This so-called group selection, Wilson insists, is what forms the evolutionary basis for a variety of advanced social behaviors linked to altruism, teamwork, and tribalism — a position that other scientists have taken over the years, but which historically has been considered, in Wilson’s own word, “heresy.”

via Where does good come from? – The Boston Globe.

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