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eSkeptic for April 27, 2022

Was the great scientist E. O. Wilson a racist? No! Because Wilson corresponded with the notorious race differences psychologist Phillippe Rushton, critics claim it proves Wilson was a racist. Here’s why the critics are wrong, dangerously wrong.

A reply to Bert Hölldobler on the Matter of Edward O. Wilson, Race, Racism, and Race Science

In this letter to Bert Hölldobler, following up on his defense of his long-time colleague E. O. Wilson, who has been falsely accused of racism and knowingly promoting race science, Mel Konner, who also knew and worked with Wilson, reinforces the point that Wilson’s defense of Philippe Rushton was done out of concerns about academic freedom; in fact, Konner notes that there are other reasons for critiquing Wilson, primarily for his ultimate rejection of kin selection — one of the key tenets of evolutionary theory.

eSkeptic for April 12, 2022

Mel Konner, in response to Bert Hölldobler’s defense of E. O. Wilson, reinforces the point that Wilson’s defense of Philippe Rushton was done out of concerns about academic freedom; PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with Oliver Stone about Ukraine, Putin, and the military-industrial complex.

Self-Righteous Vigilantism in Science: The Case of Edward O. Wilson

Is there vigilantism in science? Was the renowned Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson wrongly convicted of racism and promoting race science in the court of public opinion? Yes, says his long-time collaborator and world-class scientist Bert Hölldobler.

eSkeptic for January 8, 2022

To honor the legendary evolutionary theorist and biologist Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021), who passed away on December 26, 2021 at the age of 92, we present two tributes to him from Mark Moffett and Frank Sulloway, scientists who knew the man well and are deeply familiar with his work and his legacy.

Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021): Reminiscences and a Tribute

In this tribute to Edward O. Wilson, Frank J. Sulloway recounts how the Harvard evolutionary biologist had a profound and enduring influence on his own life and academic career. Wilson, says Sulloway, was the model of a mentor who cared deeply about his students and collaborators. By sharing his infectious love of the wonders of evolutionary biology, Wilson inspired countless others with his impassioned vision about the need to safeguard biological diversity.

Remembering Edward O. Wilson

To honor the legendary evolutionary theorist and biologist Edward O. Wilson, who passed away on December 26 at the age of 92, his former student Mark Moffett, pays tribute to his mentor in this deeply moving memoir of his time working with the great scientist.

Is Cousin Marriage Dangerous?

The incest taboo is a human institution; we universally prohibit having sex with siblings, parents, or grandparents, but vary culturally regarding cousins, uncles, and others on our family tree. We disagree on how far prohibition should go, and why. Indeed, natural selection primed us for cousin marriage as it offers some evolutionary advantage. In this article, which appeared in Skeptic magazine 24.2 (2019), Gabriel Andrade asks: How truly dangerous is cousin marriage, and should it be legalized?

eSkeptic for July 23, 2019

When will the world end? How likely is it that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists? Are we living in a simulation like the Matrix? Is our universe but one in a multiverse? How does Warren Buffett continue to beat the stock market? How much longer will your romance last? In Science Salon # 76 — a wide ranging conversation with Michael Shermer — science writer William Poundstone answers these questions and more. PLUS Gabriel Andrade examines the incest taboo and asks: How truly dangerous is cousin marriage, and should it be legalized?

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

WHAT IS MORALITY AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? Neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain: Moral values are rooted in family values displayed by all mammals — the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves — first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider “caring” circles.

Unmasking Darwin’s Cathedral: It’s Not Just About Religion

What is the origin of religion? Is it purely a cultural product or does it have deeper roots in our evolutionary past? Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argues in his book Darwin’s Cathedral that religion served as a social tool to unite groups into cohesive wholes by which they could out compete groups without religion, and thus the religious impulse was born. Biologist Peter Corning considers the pluses and minuses of this theory of religion in this review.


In this week’s eSkeptic, Paul R. Gross and Alondra Oubré tackle Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele’s book Race: The Reality of Human Differences.

For those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint


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