E. O. Wilson
|E. O. Wilson|
Wilson in February 2003
|Born||Edward Osborne Wilson
June 10, 1929
Birmingham, Alabama, United States
|Alma mater||University of Alabama
|Thesis||A Monographic Revision of the Ant Genus Lasius (1955)|
|Doctoral advisor||Frank M. Carpenter|
|Doctoral students||Daniel Simberloff
Donald J. Farish
|Known for||Popularizing sociobiology
Epic of Evolution
|Influences||William Morton Wheeler|
Edward Osborne Wilson (born June 10, 1929) is an American biologist, researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity, island biogeography), theorist (consilience, biophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is considered to be the world's leading expert.
Wilson is known for his scientific career, his role as "the father of sociobiology" and "the father of biodiversity", his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. Among his greatest contributions to ecological theory is the theory of island biogeography, which he developed in collaboration with the mathematical ecologist Robert MacArthur, and which is seen as the foundation of the development of conservation area design, as well as the unified neutral theory of biodiversity of Stephen Hubbell.
Wilson is (2014) the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, a lecturer at Duke University, and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and a New York Times bestseller for The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, and The Meaning of Human Existence.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education
- 3 Career
- 4 Retirement
- 5 Work
- 6 Spiritual and political beliefs
- 7 Awards and honors
- 8 Main works
- 9 Edited works
- 10 Footnotes
- 11 External links
Wilson was born in Birmingham, Alabama. According to his autobiography Naturalist, he grew up mostly around Washington, D.C. and in the countryside around Mobile, Alabama. From an early age, he was interested in natural history. His parents, Edward and Inez Wilson, divorced when he was seven. The young naturalist grew up in several cities and towns, moving around with his father and his stepmother.
In the same year that his parents divorced, Wilson blinded himself in one eye in a fishing accident. He suffered for hours, but he continued fishing. He did not complain because he was anxious to stay outdoors. He never went in for medical treatment. Several months later, his right pupil clouded over with a cataract. He was admitted to Pensacola Hospital to have the lens removed. Wilson writes, in his autobiography, that the "surgery was a terrifying [19th] century ordeal". Wilson was left with full sight in his left eye, with a vision of 20/10. The 20/10 vision prompted him to focus on "little things": "I noticed butterflies and ants more than other kids did, and took an interest in them automatically."
At nine, Wilson undertook his first expeditions at the Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. He began to collect insects and he gained a passion for butterflies. He would capture them using nets made with brooms, coat hangers, and cheesecloth bags. Going on these expeditions led to Wilson's fascination with ants. He describes in his autobiography how one day he pulled the bark of a rotting tree away and discovered citronella ants underneath. The worker ants he found were "short, fat, brilliant yellow, and emitted a strong lemony odor". Wilson said the event left a "vivid and lasting impression on [him]". He also earned the Eagle Scout award and served as Nature Director of his Boy Scout summer camp. At the age of 18, intent on becoming an entomologist, he began by collecting flies, but the shortage of insect pins caused by World War II caused him to switch to ants, which could be stored in vials. With the encouragement of Marion R. Smith, a myrmecologist from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wilson began a survey of all the ants of Alabama. This study led him to report the first colony of fire ants in the US, near the port of Mobile.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2015)|
Concerned that he might not be able to afford to go to a university, Wilson attempted to enlist in the United States Army. He planned to earn U.S. government financial support for his education, but failed the Army medical examination due to his impaired eyesight. Wilson was able to afford to enroll in the University of Alabama after all.[when?] There, he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology in 1950. He later[when?] transferred to Harvard University. Appointed to the Harvard's Society of Fellows, he could travel on overseas expeditions, collecting ant species of Cuba and Mexico and travel the South Pacific, including Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia and Sri Lanka. In 1955, he received his Ph.D. and married Irene Kelley.
From 1956 until 1996 he was part of the faculty of Harvard. He began as an ant taxonomist and worked on understanding their evolution, how they developed into new species by escaping environmental disadvantages and moving into new habitats. He developed a theory of the "taxon cycle".
He collaborated with the mathematician William Bossert, and discovered the chemical nature of ant communication, via pheromones. In the 1960's he collaborated with mathematician and ecologist Robert MacArthur. Together, they tested the theory of species equilibrium on a tiny island in the Florida Keys. He eradicated all insect species and observed the re-population by new species. The book The Theory of Island Biogeography became a standard ecology text.
In 1971, he published the book The Insect Societies. about the biology of social insects like ants, bees, wasps and termites. In 1973, Wilson was appointed 'Curator of Insects' at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1975, he published the book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis applying his theories of insect behavior to vertebrates, and in the last chapter, humans. He speculated that evolved and inherited tendencies were responsible for hierarchical social organisation among humans. In 1978 he published On Human Nature, which dealt with the role of biology in the evolution of human culture which won a Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction.
In 1981 after collaborating with Charles Lumsden, he published Genes, Mind and Culture, a theory of gene-culture coevolution. In 1990 he published The Ants,with Bert Hölldobler, his second Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction.
In 1996, Wilson officially retired from Harvard University, where he continues to hold the positions of Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology. Since 2014, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation has been an independent foundation at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Wilson became a special lecturer at Duke University as part of the agreement.
He has published 13 books in the millenium: The Future of Life, 2002, Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus, 2003, From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, 2005, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, September 2006, Nature Revealed: Selected Writings 1949–2006, The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies, 2009, Anthill: A Novel April 2010, Kingdom of Ants: Jose Celestino Mutis and the Dawn of Natural History in the New World, 2010, The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct, 2011, The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012,
He published 3 books in 2014 alone: Letters to a Young Scientist, A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park, and The Meaning of Human Existence .
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, 1975
Wilson used sociobiology and evolutionary principles to explain the behavior of social insects and then to understand the social behavior of other animals, including humans, thus established sociobiology as a new scientific field. He argued that all animal behavior, including that of humans, is the product of heredity, environmental stimuli, and past experiences, and that free will is an illusion. He has referred to the biological basis of behaviour as the "genetic leash.":127–128 The sociobiological view is that all animal social behavior is governed by epigenetic rules worked out by the laws of evolution. This theory and research proved to be seminal, controversial, and influential.:210ff
Wilson has argued that the unit of selection is a gene, the basic element of heredity. The target of selection is normally the individual who carries an ensemble of genes of certain kinds." With regard to the use of kin selection in explaining the behavior of eusocial insects, the "new view that I'm proposing is that it was group selection all along, an idea first roughly formulated by Darwin."
The controversy of sociobiological research lies in how it applies to humans. The theory established a scientific argument for rejecting the common doctrine of tabula rasa, which holds that human beings are born without any innate mental content and that culture functions to increase human knowledge and aid in survival and success.In the final chapter of the book Sociobiology and in the full text of his Pulitzer Prize-winning On Human Nature, Wilson argues, that the human mind is shaped as much by genetic inheritance as it is by culture if not more. There are limits on just how much influence social and environmental factors can have in altering human behavior.
Substantial criticism was launched. Several of Wilson's colleagues at Harvard,[page needed] such as Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, were strongly opposed to his ideas regarding sociobiology. Gould, Lewontin, and others from the Sociobiology Study Group from the Boston area wrote "Against 'Sociobiology'" in an open letter criticizing Wilson's "deterministic view of human society and human action". Although attributed to members of the Sociobiology Study Group, it seems that Lewontin was the main author. In a 2011 interview, Wilson said, "I believe Gould was a charlatan. I believe that he was ... seeking reputation and credibility as a scientist and writer, and he did it consistently by distorting what other scientists were saying and devising arguments based upon that distortion."
There was political opposition. Sociobiology re-ignited the nature and nurture debate. Wilson was accused of racism, misogyny, and eugenics. In one incident in November 1978, his lecture was attacked by the International Committee Against Racism, a front group of the Marxist Progressive Labor Party, where one member poured a pitcher of water on Wilson's head and chanted "Wilson, you're all wet" at an AAAS conference . Wilson later spoke of the incident as a source of pride: "I believe...I was the only scientist in modern times to be physically attacked for an idea."
Objections from evangelical Christians included those of Paul E. Rothrock in 1987: "... sociobiology has the potential of becoming a religion of scientific materialism." Philosopher Mary Midgley encountered Sociobiology in the process of writing Beast and Man(1996) and significantly rewrote the book to offer a critique of Wilson's views. Midgley praised the book for the study of animal behavior, clarity, scholarship, and encyclopedic scope, but extensively critiqued Wilson for conceptual confusion, scientism, and anthropomorphism of genetics.
Michael McGoodwin paraphrased and quoted Wilson (pp. 16 and 222) on sociobiology:[self-published source?] "Sociobiology is defined as the scientific or systematic study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior, in all kinds of organisms including man, and incorporating knowledge from ethology, ecology, and genetics, in order to derive general principles concerning the biological properties of entire societies. "If humankind evolved by Darwinian natural selection, [then] genetic chance and environmental necessity, not God, made the species." "The brain [and the mind] exists because it promotes the survival and multiplication of the genes that direct its assembly." The two apparent dilemmas we face therefore are: (1) We lack any goal external to our biological nature (for even religions evolve to enhance the persistence and influence of their practitioners). Will the transcendental goals of societies dissolve, and will our post-ideological societies regress steadily toward self-indulgence? (2) Morality evolved as instinct. "Which of the censors and motivators should be obeyed and which ones might better be curtailed or sublimated?" Although much human diversity in behavior is culturally influenced, some has been shown to be genetic – rapid acquisition of language, human unpredictability, hypertrophy (extreme growth of pre-existing social structures), altruism and religions. "Religious practices that consistently enhance survival and procreation of the practitioners will propagate the physiological controls that favor the acquisition of the practices during single lifetimes." Unthinking submission to the communal will promotes the fitness of the members of the tribe. Even submission to secular religions and cults involve willing subordination of the individual to the group. Religious practices confer biological advantages."[self-published source?]
On Human Nature, 1978
Wilson wrote in his 1978 book On Human Nature, "The evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have." Wilson's use of the word "myth" provides people with meaningful placement in time celebrating shared heritage. Wilson's fame prompted use of the morphed phrase epic of evolution. In 1999, he explained its need:
Human beings must have an epic, a sublime account of how the world was created and how humanity became part of it... Religious epics satisfy another primal need. They confirm we are part of something greater than ourselves... The way to achieve our epic that unites human spirituality, instead of cleave it, is to compose it from the best empirical knowledge that science and history can provide.
He said that "[t]he true evolutionary epic retold as poetry, is as intrinsically ennobling as any religious epic." He pointed to several scientists who had contributed to building this epic, particularly Robert Ardrey who "continues as the lyric poet of human evolution, capturing the Homeric quality of the subject that so many scientists by and large feel, but are unable to put into words."[full citation needed]
Naturalistic and liberal religious writers have picked up on the term epic of evolution and used it in a number of texts or used other terms to refer to the idea: Universe Story (Brian Swimme, John F. Haught), Great Story (Connie Barlow, Michael Dowd), Everybody's Story (Loyal Rue), New Story (Thomas Berry, Al Gore, Brian Swimme) and Cosmic Evolution (Eric Chaisson). Cosmologist Brian Swimme said in a 1997 interview: "I think that what E. O. Wilson is trying to suggest is that to be fully human, a person has to see that life has a heroic dimension... I think for the scientist, and for other people, it's a question of, "Is the universe valuable? Is it sacred? Is it holy? Or is the human agenda all that matters?" I just don't think we're that stupid to continue in a way that continues to destroy. I'm hopeful that the Epic of Evolution will be yet another strategy in our culture that will lead our consciousness out of a very tight, human-centered materialism."
The Ants, 1990
Wilson, along with Bert Hölldobler, carried out a systematic study of ants and ant behavior, culminating in the 1990 encyclopedic work The Ants. Because much self-sacrificing behavior on the part of individual ants can be explained on the basis of their genetic interests in the survival of the sisters, with whom they share 75% of their genes (though the actual case is some species' queens mate with multiple males and therefore some workers in a colony would only be 25% related), Wilson argued for a sociobiological explanation for all social behavior on the model of the behavior of the social insects. In his more recent work,[which?] he has sought to defend his views against the criticism of younger scientists such as Deborah Gordon, whose results challenge the idea that ant behavior is as rigidly predictable as Wilson's explanations make it.
Wilson has said in reference to ants "Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species". He meant that while ants and other eusocial species appear to live in communist-like societies, they only do so because they are forced to do so from their basic biology, as they lack reproductive independence: worker ants, being sterile, need their ant-queen in order to survive as a colony and a species, and individual ants cannot reproduce without a queen and are thus forced to live in centralised societies. Humans, however, do possess reproductive independence so they can give birth to offspring without the need of a "queen", and in fact humans enjoy their maximum level of Darwinian fitness only when they look after themselves and their offspring, while finding innovative ways to use the societies they live in for their own benefit.
In his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Wilson discussed methods that have been used to unite the sciences, and might be able to unite the sciences with the humanities. Wilson used the term "consilience" to describe the synthesis of knowledge from different specialized fields of human endeavor. He defined human nature as a collection of epigenetic rules, the genetic patterns of mental development. He argued that culture and rituals are products, not parts, of human nature. He said art is not part of human nature, but our appreciation of art is. He suggested that concepts such as art appreciation, fear of snakes, or the incest taboo (Westermarck effect) could be studied by scientific methods of the natural sciences and be part of interdisciplinary research. Previously,[when?] these phenomena were only part of psychological, sociological, or anthropological studies.
Spiritual and political beliefs
Wilson coined the phrase scientific humanism as "the only worldview compatible with science's growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature".[full citation needed] Wilson argued that it is best suited to improve the human condition. In 2003, he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.
God and religion
On the question of God, Wilson has described his position as provisional deism and explicitly denied the label of "atheist", preferring "agnostic". He has explained his faith as a trajectory away from traditional beliefs: "I drifted away from the church, not definitively agnostic or atheistic, just Baptist & Christian no more." Wilson argues that the belief in God and rituals of religion are products of evolution. He argues that they should not be rejected or dismissed, but further investigated by science to better understand their significance to human nature. In his book The Creation, Wilson suggests that scientists ought to "offer the hand of friendship" to religious leaders and build an alliance with them, stating that "Science and religion are two of the most potent forces on Earth and they should come together to save the creation."
Wilson made a an appeal to the religious community on the lecture circuit at Midland College, Texas, for example, and that "the appeal received a 'massive reply'", that a covenant had been written and that a "partnership will work to a substantial degree as time goes on".
Wilson has said that if he could start his life over he would work in microbial ecology, when discussing the reinvigoration of his original fields of study since the 1960s. He studied the mass extinctions of the 20th century and their relationship to modern society, and in 1998 argued for an ecological approach:
Now when you cut a forest, an ancient forest in particular, you are not just removing a lot of big trees and a few birds fluttering around in the canopy. You are drastically imperiling a vast array of species within a few square miles of you. The number of these species may go to tens of thousands. ... Many of them are still unknown to science, and science has not yet discovered the key role undoubtedly played in the maintenance of that ecosystem, as in the case of fungi, microorganisms, and many of the insects.
Wilson has been part of the international conservation movement, as a consultant to Columbia University's Earth Institute, as a director of the American Museum of Natural History, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund.
Understanding the scale of the extinction crisis has led him to advocate for forest protection, including the Forests Now Declaration, which calls for new markets-based mechanisms to protect tropical forests. In 2014, Wilson called for setting aside 50% of the earth's surface for other species to thrive in as the only possible strategy to solve the extinction crisis.
Awards and honors
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2015)|
Wilson's scientific and conservation honors include:
- Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1969
- U.S. National Medal of Science, 1976
- Leidy Award, 1979, from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
- Pulitzer Prize for On Human Nature, 1979
- Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, 1984
- ECI Prize, International Ecology Institute, terrestrial ecology, 1987
- Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, 1988
- Crafoord Prize, 1990, a prize awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- Pulitzer Prize for The Ants (with Bert Hölldobler), 1991
- International Prize for Biology, 1993
- Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science, 1994
- The National Audubon Society's Audubon Medal, 1995
- Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential People in America, 1995
- Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences of the American Philosophical Society, 1998.
- American Humanist Association's 1999 Humanist of the Year
- Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, 2000
- Nierenberg Prize, 2001
- Distinguished Eagle Scout Award 2004
- Dauphin Island Sea Lab christened its newest research vessel the R/V E.O. Wilson in 2005.
- Linnean Tercentenary Silver Medal, 2006
- Addison Emery Verrill Medal from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 2007
- TED Prize 2007 given yearly to honor a maximum of three individuals who have shown that they can, in some way, positively impact life on this planet.
- XIX Premi Internacional Catalunya 2007
- Member of the World Knowledge Dialogue Honorary Board, and Scientist in Residence for the 2008 symposium organized in Crans-Montana (Switzerland).
- Distinguished Lecturer, University of Iowa, 2008–2009
- E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center on Nokuse Plantation in Walton County, Florida 2009 video
- Explorers Club Medal, 2009
- 2010 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category
- Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, 2010
- 2010 Heartland Prize for fiction for his first novel Anthill: A Novel
- EarthSky Science Communicator of the Year, 2010
- Character displacement, 1956, coauthored with William Brown Jr.; paper honored in 1986 as a Science Citation Classic, i.e., as one of the most frequently cited scientific papers of all time.
- The Theory of Island Biogeography, 1967, Princeton University Press (2001 reprint), ISBN 0-691-08836-5, with Robert H. MacArthur
- The Insect Societies, 1971, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-45490-1
- Sociobiology: The New Synthesis 1975, Harvard University Press, (Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition, 2000 ISBN 0-674-00089-7)
- On Human Nature, 1979, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-01638-6, winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
- Genes, Mind and Culture: The coevolutionary process, 1981, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-34475-8
- Promethean Fire: reflections on the origin of mind, 1983, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-71445-8
- Biophilia, 1984, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-07441-6
- Success and Dominance in Ecosystems: The Case of the Social Insects, 1990, Inter-Research, ISSN 0932-2205
- The Ants, 1990, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-04075-9, Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, with Bert Hölldobler
- The Diversity of Life, 1992, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-21298-3, The Diversity of Life: Special Edition, ISBN 0-674-21299-1
- The Biophilia Hypothesis, 1993, Shearwater Books, ISBN 1-55963-148-1, with Stephen R. Kellert
- Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, 1994, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-48525-4, with Bert Hölldobler
- Naturalist, 1994, Shearwater Books, ISBN 1-55963-288-7
- In Search of Nature, 1996, Shearwater Books, ISBN 1-55963-215-1, with Laura Simonds Southworth
- Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, 1998, Knopf, ISBN 0-679-45077-7
- The Future of Life, 2002, Knopf, ISBN 0-679-45078-5
- Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus, 2003, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00293-8
- From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books. 2005, W. W. Norton.
- The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, September 2006, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-06217-5
- Nature Revealed: Selected Writings 1949–2006, ISBN 0-8018-8329-6
- The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies, 2009, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-06704-0, with Bert Hölldobler
- Anthill: A Novel, April 2010, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-07119-1
- Kingdom of Ants: Jose Celestino Mutis and the Dawn of Natural History in the New World, 2010, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, with José María Gómez Durán
- The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct, 2011, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-33868-3, with Bert Hölldobler
- The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012, Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, ISBN 0871403633
- Letters to a Young Scientist, 2014, Liveright, ISBN 0871403854
- A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park, 2014, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 1476747415
- The Meaning of Human Existence, 2014, Liveright, ISBN 0871401002
- From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, edited with introductions by Edward O. Wilson (2010 W.W. Norton)
- Lenfield, Spencer. "Ants through the Ages". Harvard Magazine.
Wheeler’s work strongly influenced the teenage Wilson, who recalls, “When I was 16 and decided I wanted to become a myrmecologist, I memorized his book.”
- Thorpe, Vanessa (June 24, 2012). "Richard Dawkins in furious row with EO Wilson over theory of evolution". The Guardian (London).
- "Lord of the Ants documentary". VICE. 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Becker, Michael (2009-04-09). "MSU presents Presidential Medal to famed scientist Edward O. Wilson". MSU News. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
- Novacek, Michael J. (2001). "Lifetime achievement: E.O. Wilson". CNN.com. Archived from the original on 2006-10-14. Retrieved 2006-11-08.
- "E.O. Wilson advocates biodiversity preservation". Duke Chronicle. February 12, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "E.O. Wilson Profile" – Comprehensive list of Degrees, Awards and Positions
- "E. O. Wilson biography". AlabamaLiteraryMap.org. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times.
- Edward O. Wilson – Naturalist, Island Press; (April 24, 2006), ISBN 1-59726-088-6
- Powell, Alvin (April 15, 2014). "‘Search until you find a passion and go all out to excel in its expression’". Harvard Gazette. Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
I have only one functional eye, my left eye, but it's very sharp. And I somehow focused on little things. I noticed butterflies and ants more than other kids did, and took an interest in them automatically.
- first-hand account,[self-published source] Smithsonian Institution talk, April 22, 2010
- "Edward O. Wilson PhD Biography". Academy of Achievement. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "'Father of sociobiology' to teach at Nicholas School". Post Retirement. Duke University. December 2013.
- E. O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, New York, Knopf, 1998.
- Wolfe, Tom (1996). Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died. Vol. 158, Issue 13, Forbes
- Richard Conniff "Discover Interview: E.O. Wilson" Discover magazine, June 25, 2006.
- Grafen, Alan; Ridley, Mark (2006). Richard Dawkins: How A Scientist Changed the Way We Think. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-19-929116-0.
- Allen, Elizabeth, et al. (1975). "Against 'Sociobiology'". [letter] New York Review of Books 22 (Nov. 13): 182, 184–186.
- French, Howard (November 2011). "E. O. Wilson's Theory of Everything". The Atlantic Magazine. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Sahlins, Marshall David (1976). The Use and Abuse of Biology. ISBN 0-472-08777-0.
- Douglas, Ed (17 February 2001). "Darwin's natural heir". The Guardian (London).
- Wilson, Edward O. (1995). Naturalist. ISBN 0-446-67199-1.
- David Dugan (writer, producer, director) (May 2008). Lord of the Ants (Documentary). NOVA. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- Mythology of Scientific Materialism. Paul E. Rothrock and Mary Ellen Rothrock,PSCF 39 (June 1987): 87-93
- Midgley, Mary (1995). Beast and man : the roots of human nature (Rev. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge. p. xli. ISBN 0-415-12740-8.
- Midgley, Mary (1995). Beast and man: the roots of human nature (Rev. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge. p. xl. ISBN 0-415-12740-8.
- Edward O. Wilson: On Human Nature – Summary by Michael McGoodwin, prepared 1991 
- Connie Barlow. "The Epic of Evolution: Religious and cultural interpretations of modern scientific cosmology". Science & Spirit Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-05-23.
- Edward O. Wilson, Foreword of Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution By Loyal D. Rue, SUNY Press, 1999, page ix and x,ISBN 0-7914-4392-2,
- "Edward O. Wilson, Consilience 1998" (PDF). thegreatstory.org. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Wilson, Edward O. Quoted in "Professional Comments on Robert Ardrey's The Hunting Hypothesis." Available through Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.
- Rue, Loyal (1999). Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-4392-2.
- Chaisson, Eric (2006). Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13560-2.
- Thomas, Alfred K. (1989). The Epic of Evolution, Its Etiology and Art: A Study of Vardis Fisher's Testament of Man. University Microfilms International.
- Miller, James B (2003). The Epic of Evolution: Science and Religion in Dialogue. Pearson/Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-093318-X.
- Kaufman, Gordon. The Epic of Evolution as a Framework for Human Orientation, 1997
- "Brian Swimme interview". Earthlight.org. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Nicholas Wade (July 15, 2008). "Taking a Cue From Ants on Evolution of Humans". The New York Times.
- Wade, Nicholas (May 12, 1998). "Scientist at Work: Edward O. Wilson; From Ants to Ethics: A Biologist Dreams Of Unity of Knowledge". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
- Wilson, Edward O. (March 27, 1997). Karl Marx was right, socialism works. (Interview). Harvard University.
- in Harvard Magazine December 2005 p 33.
- "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- The Creation[page needed]
- Sarchet, Penny (2015-02-01). "Why Do We Ignore Warnings About Earth's Future?". Slate.
In fact, I’m not an atheist...I would even say I'm agnostic
- Human Nature[page needed]
- Naturalist E.O. Wilson is optimistic Harvard Gazette June 15, 2006
- Scientist says there is hope to save planet mywesttexas.com, September 18, 2009
- Edward O. Wilson (2008). Lord of the Ants (documentary film) (television). NOVA/WGBH. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- Wilson, Edward Osborne (April 28, 1998). "Slide show". saveamericasforests.org. p. 2. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
- Wilson, Edward Osborne (September 2014). accessdate=February 13, 2015 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-world-really-set-aside-half-planet-wildlife-180952379/?no-ist accessdate=February 13, 2015 Check
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- "The Four Awards Bestowed by The Academy of Natural Sciences and Their Recipients". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia) 156 (1): 403–404. June 2007. doi:10.1635/0097-3157(2007)156[403:TFABBT]2.0.CO;2.
- "Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences Recipients". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- "Guardonats anteriors. Premi Internacional Catalunya. Generalitat de Catalunya". gencat.cat.
- "World Knowledge Dialogue". wkdialogue.ch.
- "E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center". Vimeo.
- "BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards". fbbva.es.
- "Chicago Humanities Festival". chicagohumanities.org.
- "WLB_Obit". si.edu.
- "Character displacement". Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias.
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- E.O. Wilson Foundation
- Review of The Social Conquest of Earth by Richard Dawkins
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- E. O. Wilson at TED