Home » Evolutionary psychology » Time out: He invented it, he disowned it, but we’re supposed to go on believing it?

Time out: He invented it, he disowned it, but we’re supposed to go on believing it?

A friend of Uncommon Descent writes to say that E. O. Wilson abandoning his kin selection theory (group Darwinism vs. the selfish gene) due to lack of evidence has caused quite the little uproar in Britain. He adds,

The gist of the responses in Nature seemed to be that Nowak and Wilson did not understand kin selection properly.

But didn’t entomologist Wilson invent his theory of human behaviour himself, based on his work with social insects where only the queen lays eggs?

So, if the inventor doesn’t “understand” the theory … who could? Wouldn’t whatever others say have to be at least a different theory?  Or are even the abandoned coattails worth hanging on to?

Correction: An alert reader has written to say – William Hamilton and others  invented the theory. E. O. Wilson helped to popularize it. “But everyone used to think he understood it!”

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4 Responses to Time out: He invented it, he disowned it, but we’re supposed to go on believing it?

  1. Perhaps Wilson’s turnabout will help us better understand Dr. Dembski’s attitude towards the Explanatory Filter.

  2. why shouldn’t we use Dr. Dembski’s own words to understand his attitudes toward the EF?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/#wddspef

  3. MedsRex,

    So “dispensed with” is equivalent to “decided to focus more on an aspect of”?

  4. Given the context of the original comment. He states that he has dispensed with EF because he felt CSI (an aspect of EF) was a clearer criterion for detecting design.
    similar to a musician stating:
    I have dispensed with rock & roll because I feel punk rock (an aspect of rock & roll) is closer to experiencing a pure musical experience.
    That’s just my understanding of the comment. I would give Wilson the chance to expand upon his original comments as a scientist developing and understanding particular theories. and I would give Dembski the same opportunities. If either made a complete cover-up back track in total opposition to their initial pronouncements then surely they should be called out on that.

    However, in my reading and comparison of Demski’s first comment and his subsequent expansion I dont believe a dishonest back track occured. But that’s just my humble opinion.

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