E.O. Wilson is one of my idols. I know him solely through his books, especially Naturalist and Biophilia, but I’ve also read large parts of Sociobiology and all of The Diversity of Life and On Human Nature and The Future of Life. He is one of the best minds in the world, I’m quite convinced, and Consilience is perhaps my favorite of his books.
Why? Because this is humanized philosophy of science as taught to you by a real scientist—a bona fide great scientist, in fact. Recently I re-read it and it’s even better the second time. Stunning, in fact. Here’s a test for a great book: if you could encode in your brain every sentence of the book, would you want to? There are few books I would. This is one.
And don’t forget to pick up The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, Wilson’s latest, which Publishers Weekly describes like this:
With his usual eloquence, patience and humor, Wilson, our modern-day Thoreau, adds his thoughts to the ongoing conversation between science and religion. Couched in the form of letters to a Southern Baptist pastor, the Pulitzer Prize–winning entomologist pleads for the salvation of biodiversity, arguing that both secular humanists like himself and believers in God acknowledge the glory of nature and can work together to save it.
Such a sane approach: finding common ground with the religious, rather than fighting the tired atheism versus theism fight again and again and again.