Welcome to the David Sloan Wilson Archive
I am a scientist and writer who is lucky to be alive during an important period in the history of ideas. When I entered the field of evolutionary biology in the 1970’s, it was confined almost entirely to genetic evolution. Everything that evolves was portrayed as a form of selfishness. And evolution was emphatically said to have no purpose.
Now, evolution is envisioned as any process that combines the three ingredients of variation, selection, and replication—including the fast-paced changes swirling around us (cultural evolution) and within us (our personal evolution). The evolution of goodness can be explained at face value. And human cultural evolution indubitably has an intentional component.
In other words, to a remarkable extent, we imagine our realities and then bring them into being.
I’m proud to have contributed to this sea change in evolutionary thinking, to have written about it for the general public, and most of all to help “consciously evolve a world that works for all” through my nonprofit organization Prosocial World. Please think of this website as a way to first learn about and then to join me and many others in continuing to evolve a prosocial future.
Featured Online Content
For decades, I have used a certain experiment on chickens to illustrate multilevel selection theory. This National Geographic podcast brings the chicken experiment to life and weaves several other captivating stories around it. Superb and entertaining!
This podcast provides an accessible and highly informed introduction to my recent article with Dennis Snower titled "Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Economics". Highly recommended as a prelude to tackling the article.
Featured Academic Works
Non-fiction writing is great as far as it goes but there is nothing like a story for capturing the imagination and communicating a moral worldview.
My novel, Atlas Hugged, communicates a prosocial evolutionary worldview as a sequel and antidote to Ayn Rand’s famous “greed is good” novel.Visit the Shop
“If you want to engage the ideas about individualism so powerfully presented in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged you won’t find a stronger rebuttal in fictional form than David Sloan Wilson’s Atlas Hugged, which not only carries on the legacy of John Galt but shows where that philosophy leads when carried out to its logical conclusion.”
Other books by David Sloan Wilson
A Life Informed by Evolution
Feb 11, 2022Read David's Memoir Here David has just completed a short memoir covering his lifelong interest in biology, evolution, science in general, and what it was like growing up the son… Read More
An Open Letter to the Ayn Rand Institute
Jul 05, 2021Watch the Video HERE I’m glad that my novel Atlas Hugged has come to the attention of The Ayn Rand Institute via Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch, including their video… Read More
My Naughty Nautilus Article...
Apr 02, 2021View the Article HERE This article published in Nautilus magazine, titled "I Have Come to Bury Ayn Rand", has received over 40K views. That's what a naughty title gets you!… Read More
Evolution of the Heart
On July 6th, 2021 Mind & Life honored the Dalai Lama’s birthday with the release of “Evolution of the Heart.”
The 37-minute film chronicles conversations between the Dalai Lama, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, and social scientist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. The film emerged from a 2019 Mind & Life event, “Conversations on Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation,” held in Dharamsala, India.