We are humans, fragile in mortality and wisdom

E.O. Wilson, no stranger to controversy, published, along with two other statistical biologists, an essay in Nature last August. The reaction to the paper must have given the decorated biologist an understanding of what Giordano Bruno must have gone through. It was swift and barbed. While no one called for Wilson to burned at the stake, his sanity and competency was questioned. Some even postulated early signs of dementia.  There were calls for Nature to withdraw the paper. A signed letter with 137 of respective scientists refuting the findings of the paper was published in later editions of Nature. So, what was the crime of the paper? It suggested a biological basis for altruism called group selection, was better than the established kin selection. Many see such a theory of group selection as a threat to the whole of evolution

Evolution in practice evolves and has many unanswered questions. Yet, the many scientists’ who work with evolution, after years of attack, have developed a bunker mentality. Accept the whole and defend the whole. Teaching it opens up to both legitimate and illegitimate attacks. While it is important to understand the basics of evolution, and not to teach it would be criminal, an attempt to make it a complete theory is fraught with explosive mines. Teaching as a field with such complexity in its entanglements and intersections with politics, religion and society, one has tread with understanding. One must engage evolution with the same awe and humility that one should approach all knowledge. We are humans, fragile in mortality and wisdom.

About Ernesto Tinajero

Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.

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