David with Jim Coan

Welcome to Episode 10, where I talk to DAVID SLOAN WILSON, Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University, about, well, a lot of stuff, from Skinnerian behaviorism to multilevel selection theory, to the behaviors that impede and facilitate scientific progress and even to what Wilson calls “the science to narrative chain,” which is the process by which scientists might most effectively engage with the general public.

Wilson is the author of numerous classic papers in the field of evolutionary biology and several books, including Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others, and others. And as if that weren’t enough, Wilson also founded Binghamton University’s Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program, as well as the Evolution Institute, which sets as its goal the application of evolutionary science to the solving of pressing social issues, and, ultimately, to improve quality of life around the globe. The Evolution Institute in turn publishes a fascinating online magazine called This View of Life, “an online general interest magazine in which all of the content is from an evolutionary perspective.” I was a little starstruck during our conversation, but David was an amazing sport about it, generously engaging with each topic and happily spending time with me.

I’m extremely grateful for this. My advice for listening is to keep a notepad handy. David Sloan Wilson is almost perpetually quotable! Enjoy! * * * As always, remember that this podcast is brought to you by VQR and the Center for Media and Citizenship. Plus, we’re a member of the TEEJ.FM podcast network. AND… The music of CIRCLE OF WILLIS was composed and performed by Tom Stauffer, Gene Ruley and their band THE NEW DRAKES. You can purchase this music at their Amazon page.