Bill Moyers interviews E. O. Wilson

From the Bill Moyers Journal at PBS:

Profile_pic1“Every kid has a bug period…I never grew out of mine.”

Edward Osborne Wilson grew up off the gulf coast of Alabama and Florida, becoming fascinated at a very early age by the diversity of the natural world surrounding him. After blinding himself in one eye while fishing at the age of 7, Wilson explains that he no longer was very good at bird-watching, so decided to “turn towards the little things in life,” namely ants.

At 13, he discovered the first U.S. colony of fire ants near the docks of Mobile, Alabama, well on his way to becoming one of the country’s foremost myrmecologists (ant biologists), discovering the ways intricate chemical signals affect colony behavior. While a professor at Harvard, Wilson used his insect expertise as the basis for larger study into animal and human behavior, releasing in 1975, SOCIOBIOLOGY: THE NEW SYNTHESIS, advancing Darwin’s study of evolution into the realm of behavior:

“In a Darwinian sense, the organism does not live for itself. Its primary function is not even to reproduce other organisms; it reproduces genes, and it serves as their temporary carrier.”

Though highly praised and extremely popular, SOCIOBIOLOGY proved equally controversial, primarily due to its last chapter, which extended analysis of the animal kingdom to human behavior and culture.

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