The Meaning of Human Existence

E. O. Wilson 2014

Interesting and thoughtful book. Wilson reminds us that humans have senses adapted to the hands we make tools with, and suggests that tool making alien intelligences will have similar forms for similar adaptive reasons. We are chemically blind, unable to detect and produce the pheromonal signals that 99% of life revolves around, because these signals are mostly irrelevant compared to vision, touch, and hearing.

Wilson writes of free will and religion - free will being impossible to reduce to cause and effect roboticism, because accurately modelling a brain requires measurements that change it. Wilson writes that religion stems from creation myths that define and separate tribes; science (when working properly) is the creation story of an all-inclusive tribe and replaces religion.

Wilson's early career and first books introduced many to "inclusive fitness", that social species arose from kin selection, etc. This became a dogma, but did not survive empirical and genomic observation, merely hindered their publication. Wilson has abandoned "inclusive fitness", and other writers still wedded to the idea now attack him. Perhaps I am not a careful enough reader, but beyond statements of the conclusions of research results, I do not understand the reasoning chains outside of the word salad they are expressed in.

WilsonMeaning (last edited 2014-12-02 19:01:07 by KeithLofstrom)