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.
We ought to recognize that religious strife is not the consequence of differences among people. It's about conflicts between creation stories.
Every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals.
Individual versus group selection results in a mix of altruism and selfishness, of virtue and sin, among the members of a society.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.
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.
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.
People need a sacred narrative. They must have a sense of larger purpose, in one form or another, however intellectualized. They will find a way to keep ancestral spirits alive.
So in my freshman year at the University of Alabama, learning the literature on evolution, what was known about it biologically, just gradually transformed me by taking me out of literalism and increasingly into a more secular, scientific view of the world.
The work on ants has profoundly affected the way I think about humans.
Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.
I grew up as a Southern Baptist with strict adherence to the Bible, which I read as a youngster.