E. O. Wilson

Intelligent Evolution

Harvard Magazine, November, 2005.

Wilson describes his philosophy, which he calls "scientific humanism", which he claims will "drain the fever swamps of religion and blank-slate dogma'. "Still held by only a tiny minority of the world's population, it considers humanity to be a biological species that evolved over millions of years in a biological world, acquiring unprecedented intelligence yet still guided by complex inherited emotions and biased channels of learning. Human nature exists and it was self-assembled. It is the commonality of the hereditary responses and propensities that define our species."

Lennox quotes and comments upon Wilson's view in "God's Undertaker", p28, and notes that Wilson asserts that it is this Darwinian view that "imposes the heavy burden of individual choice that goes with intellectual freedom."

Very interesting that he would speak of "individual choice" and "intellectual freedom", when a fully naturalistic view would seem to deny both.

Also very interesting that Wilson is adamantly opposed to another naturalistic view, which he calls political behaviourism: "Still beloved by the now rapidly fading Marxist-Leninist states, it says that the brain is largely a blank slate devoid of any inborn inscription beyond reflexes and primitive bodily urges. As a consequence the mind originates almost wholly as a result of learning, and it is the product of a culture that itself evolves by historical contingency. Because there is no biologically based 'human nature', people can be moulded to the best possible political and economic system, namely, as urged upon the world through most of the twentieth century, communism. In practical politics, this belief has been repeatedly tested and, after economic collapses and tens of millions of deaths in a dozen dysfunctional states, is generally deemed a failure."

Wilson is confident that scientific humanism is "the only worldview compatible with science's growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature."

"Any researcher who can prove the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and schieve eternal fame. He will prove at last that science and religious dogma are compatible! Even a combined Nobel Prize and Templeton Prize (the latter designed to encourage search for just such harmony) would fall short of proper recognition. Every scientist would like to accomplish such an epoch-making advance. But no one has even come close, because unfortunately there is no evidence, no theory and no criteria for proof that even marginally might pass for science. There is only the residue of hoped-for default, which steadily shrinks as the science of biology expands."
Cited by Lennox in God's Undertaker p187

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