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Edward O. Wilson

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Entomologist

This champion of biodiversity, Harvard professor, is the author of the Pulitzer prize winning On Human Nature in 1978 and his controversial Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. He is interviewed by Robert Wright in the 1988 book 3 Scientists and Their Gods. Wright writes, "So I ask him: Doesn't he long for the days when he believed there was a God up there watching over him? Doesn't he lose any sleep over life after death? He shakes his head firmly. 'None,' he says finally and proudly. 'I don't worry about my own immortality.'"

In Wilson's autobiography, Naturalist (1994, Warner Books) he says, "Religion had to be explained as a material process, from the bottom up, atoms to genes to the human spirit. It had to be embraced by the single grand naturalistic image of man."

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Ed. Wilson has been 'demoted' to the ambiguous section due to a statement of his spotted by a reader of his Wilson's latest book Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge. The reader reports that in Chapter 11 (p241) Wilson writes "On religion, I lean toward deism but consider its proof a problem of astrophysics."

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In an interview with Salon from April 2000 E.O. Wilson calls himself a secular humanist: "And humanists -- I'll identify myself as a secular humanist -- recognize that they do not have 2,500 years of the evolution of ritual and mythology into which they can invest their spiritual energies. That's the easy way. Humanists recognize that there's another way. It's harder and it's not undergirded by a long history of sacralization. And it may never have sacred prayers and sacred hymns."

The site is http://dir.salon.com/people/feature/2000/04/22/eowilson/index.html. The quote is from the 3rd page of the on-line text.
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Wilson appeared alongside James Watson, for an interview with Charlie Rose to discuss the life and work of Charles Darwin.
CR: How have people come to reconcile religion and evolution?
JW: Well, I think it's, we better define religion. If it's a personal God who interferes with our lives, and listens to our prayers, and is aware of our existence. Uh, I really, I can only mention one person that I know who believes that who's a serious scientist who believes Who is a serious scientist.
CR: Only one serious scientist you know believes there is a personal god who listens to our prayers?
JW: Yeah, that's about it.
EOW:I don't know one. I know who you're talking about. Well, I guess I know him. Yeah, okay.
CR: Francis Collins. Francis Collins is often quoted.
JW: Yeah, but I really don't know anyone else. And I think that now that we've carried the course when we actually look at DNA and see what it's like in the chimpanzee and you see all these things. The thought of anyone interfering.....oh boy! (*laughter*). It just....seems wacko.
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