Edward Osborne Wilson Quotes

Ideas emerge when a part of the real or imagined world is studied for its own sake.... - Edward Osborne Wilson

Ideas emerge when a part of the real or imagined world is studied for its own sake.
— Edward Osborne Wilson

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If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

Edward Osborne Wilson

If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth.

Edward Osborne Wilson

If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.

Edward Osborne Wilson

If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months.

Edward Osborne Wilson

In 2010, my two Harvard mathematician colleagues and I dismantled kin-selection theory, which was the reigning theory of the origin of altruism at the time.

Edward Osborne Wilson

In addition I wanted to write a Southern novel, because I'm a Southerner.

Edward Osborne Wilson

In many environments, take away the ants and there would be partial collapses in many of the land ecosystems.

Edward Osborne Wilson

In my heart, I'm an Alabaman who went up north to work.

Edward Osborne Wilson

In some ways, I had a traditional 'old South' upbringing, meaning that I spent some time in a military school, and acquired an inoculum of the military ethic that is still with me today: honor, duty, loyalty.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Individual versus group selection results in a mix of altruism and selfishness, of virtue and sin, among the members of a society.

Edward Osborne Wilson

It's always been a dream of mine, of exploring the living world, of classifying all the species and finding out what makes up the biosphere.

Edward Osborne Wilson

It's always been a great survival value for people to believe they belong to a superior tribe. That's just in human relationships.

Edward Osborne Wilson

It's like having astronomy without knowing where the stars are.

Edward Osborne Wilson

It's obvious that the key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life - for 8 billion or more people - without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt.

Edward Osborne Wilson

It's the technique, I think, of writing a novel that is difficult for a nonfiction writer.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Jehovah had nothing to say to Moses and the others about the care of the planet. He had plenty to say about tribal loyalty and conquest.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Of course, there is no reconciliation between the theory of evolution by natural selection and the traditional religious view of the origin of the human mind.

Edward Osborne Wilson

'The Creation' presents an argument for saving biological diversity on Earth. Most of the book is for as broad an audience as possible.

Edward Osborne Wilson

A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.

Edward Osborne Wilson

All three of the Abrahamic religions were born and nurtured in arid, disturbed environments.

Edward Osborne Wilson

America in particular imposes an horrendous burden on the world. We have this wonderful standard of living but it comes at enormous cost.

Edward Osborne Wilson

An individual ant, even though it has a brain about a millionth of a size of a human being's, can learn a maze; the kind we use is a simple rat maze in a laboratory. They can learn it about one-half as fast as a rat.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Ants are the dominant insects of the world, and they've had a great impact on habitats almost all over the land surface of the world for more than 50-million years.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Ants are the leading removers of dead creatures on the land. And the rest of life is substantially dependent upon them.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Ants make up two-thirds of the biomass of all the insects. There are millions of species of organisms and we know almost nothing about them.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Because the living environment is what really sustains us.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Blind faith, no matter how passionately expressed, will not suffice. Science for its part will test relentlessly every assumption about the human condition.

Edward Osborne Wilson

But I feel music has a very important role in ritual activity, and that being able to join in musical activity, along with dancing, could have been necessary at a very early stage of human culture.

Edward Osborne Wilson

But once the ants and termites jumped the high barrier that prevents the vast variety of evolving animal groups from becoming fully social, they dominated the world.

Edward Osborne Wilson

By any reasonable measure of achievement, the faith of the Enlightenment thinkers in science was justified.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Companies that are willing to share, to withhold in order to further the growth of the company, willing to try to get a better atmosphere through a demonstration of democratic principles, fairness and cooperation, a better product, those will win in the end.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Competing is intense among humans, and within a group, selfish individuals always win. But in contests between groups, groups of altruists always beat groups of selfish individuals.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Even as empiricism is winning the mind, transcendentalism continues to win the heart.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Every kid has a bug period... I never grew out of mine.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals.

Edward Osborne Wilson

For me, the peculiar qualities of faith are a logical outcome of this level of biological organization.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I doubt that most people with short-term thinking love the natural world enough to save it.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I grew up as a Southern Baptist with strict adherence to the Bible, which I read as a youngster.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I had in mind a message, although I hope it doesn't intrude too badly, persuading Americans, and especially Southerners, of the critical importance of land and our vanishing natural environment and wildlife.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I had reached a point in my career in which I was ready to try something new in my writing, and the idea of a novel has always been in the back of my mind.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I tend to believe that religious dogma is a consequence of evolution.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I thought perhaps it should be recognized that religious people, including fundamentalists, are quite intelligent, many of them are highly educated, and they should be treated with complete respect.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I was a senior in high school when I decided I wanted to work on ants as a career. I just fell in love with them, and have never regretted it.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I'm very much a Christian in ideals and ethics, especially in terms of belief in fairness, a deep set obligation to others, and the virtues of charity, tolerance and generosity that we associate with traditional Christian teaching.

Edward Osborne Wilson

I've found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they're communicating but it tells you a great deal - by dialect and tone, content and circumstance - about the quality of the character.

Edward Osborne Wilson

Ideas emerge when a part of the real or imagined world is studied for its own sake.

Edward Osborne Wilson