E. O. Wilson Quotes

What are your favorites E. O. Wilson quotes?

Edward Osborne Wilson, commonly known as E. O. Wilson, is a biologist and writer whose work centers around nature, biodiversity and insects. E. O. Wilson is the author of several books which includes Half-Earth, On Human Nature, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Ants, Consilience, Biophilia, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis and many others.

Here are some of the best E. O. Wilson quotes about insects, nature, biodiversity, ants, biophilia and so much more:

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Insects

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Insects

1. If insects were to vanish so would nearly all flowering plants and the food webs they support. This loss, in turn, would cause the extinction of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals: in effect, nearly all terrestrial animal life. -E. O. Wilson

2. If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

E. O. Wilson

3. 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. -E. O. Wilson

4. The disappearance of insects would also end rapid decomposition of organic matter and thus shut down nutrient cycling. Humans would be unable to survive. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Nature

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Nature

5. Ninety-nine percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct. -E. O. Wilson

6. Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. -E. O. Wilson

7. Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.

E. O. Wilson

8. Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal. -E. O. Wilson

9. The commitment must be much deeper – to let no species knowingly die; to take all reasonable action to protect every species and race in perpetuity. -E. O. Wilson

10. Humanity is part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. The more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, a sense of preferred direction, can be built. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Biodiversity

E. O. Wilson Quotes About Biodiversity

11. We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity. -E. O. Wilson

12. Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril. -E. O. Wilson

13. The students of biodiversity, the ones we most need in science today, have an enormous task ahead of molecular biology and the medical scientists. Studying model species is a great idea, but we need to combine that with biodiversity studies and have those properly supported because of the contribution they can make to conservation biology, to agrobiology, to the attainment of a sustainable world.

E. O. Wilson

14. Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it… Eliminate one species, and another increases to take its place. Eliminate a great many species, and the local ecosystem starts to decay. -E. O. Wilson

15. If you go from the USA – which, relative to the rest of the world, is in pretty good shape in terms of biodiversity and sustainability – to the tropics, everything gets worse. You have Indonesia, which is destroying its own forest. In West Africa there’s no control whatsoever. It’s a global situation. For that reason it ties in clearly with the needs and relationships of low-income countries. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: The Ants Quotes

E. O. Wilson: The Ants Quotes

16. The work on ants has profoundly affected the way I think about humans. -E. O. Wilson

17. When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. -E. O. Wilson

18. The ant world is a tumult, a noisy world of pheromones being passed back and forth. -E. O. Wilson

19. I was a senior in high school when I decided I wanted to work on ants as a career. I just fell in love with them, and have never regretted it. -E. O. Wilson

20. Ants are the leading removers of dead creatures on the land. And the rest of life is substantially dependent upon them. -E. O. Wilson

21. Well, let me tell you, ants are the dominant insects. They make up as much as a quarter of the biomass of all insects in the world. They are the principal predators. They’re the cemetery workers.

E. O. Wilson

22. Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans. -E. O. Wilson

23. In many environments, take away the ants and there would be partial collapses in many of the land ecosystems. -E. O. Wilson

24. 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. -E. O. Wilson

25. But once the ants and termites jumped the high barrier that prevents the vast variety of evolving animal groups from becoming fully social, they dominated the world. -E. O. Wilson

26. An individual ant, even though it has a brain about a millionth of a size of a human being’s, can learn a maze; the kind we use is a simple rat maze in a laboratory. They can learn it about one-half as fast as a rat. -E. O. Wilson

27. 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. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: Half-Earth Quotes

E. O. Wilson: Half-Earth Quotes

28. In Hebei Province, in the heart of China’s northern grain belt, the average water level in the deep aquifer is dropping nearly three meters a year. -E. O. Wilson

29. The agent causing the most immediate damage to species in fresh water are dams, great boosters of local economies but unfortunately chief demons of aquatic habitat destruction. -E. O. Wilson

30. The Anthropocene,’ far-distant geologists might say, ‘unfortunately married swift technological progress with the worst of human nature. What a terrible time it was for people, and for the rest of life. -E. O. Wilson

31. The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.

E. O. Wilson

32. Despite all of our pretenses and fantasies, we always have been and will remain a biological species tied to this particular biological world. Millions of years of evolution are indelibly encoded in our genes. History without the wildlands is no history at all. -E. O. Wilson

33. The International Energy Agency insists that somehow humanity must plan to leave most of the world’s proven oil and gas reserves in the ground to blunt otherwise ruinous climate change, adding that “no more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050. -E. O. Wilson

34. A biogeographic scan of Earth’s principal habitat shows that a full representation of its ecosystems and the vast majority of its species can be saved within half the planet’s surface. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone. Within half, existing calculations from existing ecosystems indicate that more than 80 percent of the species would be stabilized. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: Consilience Quotes

E. O. Wilson: Consilience Quotes

35. Preferring a search for objective reality over revelation is another way of satisfying religious hunger. -E. O. Wilson

36. Every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals. -E. O. Wilson

37. It follows that most people would very much like science to prove the existence of God but not to take the measure of His capacity. -E. O. Wilson

38. But history shows that logic launched from introspection alone lacks thrust, can travel only so far, and usually heads in the wrong direction. -E. O. Wilson

39. Someone has defined insanity as an inability to choose among false alternatives. In dreams we are insane. We wander across our limitless dreamscapes as madmen. -E. O. Wilson

40. Science, its imperfections notwithstanding, is the sword in the stone that humanity finally pulled. The question it poses, of universal and orderly materialism, is the most important that can be asked in philosophy and religion. -E. O. Wilson

41. Is a universe of discrete material particles possible only with one specific set of natural laws and parameter values? In other words, does human imagination, which can conceive of other laws and values, thereby exceed possible existence? -E. O. Wilson

42. The love of complexity without reductionism makes art; the love of complexity with reductionism makes science.

E. O. Wilson

43. THE GREATEST CHALLENGE today, not just in cell biology and ecology but in all of science, is the accurate and complete description of complex systems. -E. O. Wilson

44, One of its most distinguished practitioners, Alexander Rosenberg, has recently argued that philosophy in fact addresses just two issues: the questions that the sciences—physical, biological, and social—cannot answer, and the reasons for that incapacity. -E. O. Wilson

45. The cost of scientific advance is the humbling recognition that reality was not constructed to be easily grasped by the human mind. This is the cardinal tenet of scientific understanding: Our species and its ways of thinking are a product of evolution, not the purpose of evolution. -E. O. Wilson

46. Still, if history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth. The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology. Acceptance of the supernatural conveyed a great advantage throughout prehistory when the brain was evolving. Thus it is in sharp contrast to biology, which was developed as a product of the modern age and is not underwritten by genetic algorithms. The uncomfortable truth is that the two beliefs are not factually compatible. As a result those who hunger for both intellectual and religious truth will never acquire both in full measure. -E. O. Wilson

47. It is enough to get Homo sapiens settled down and happy before we wreck the planet. A great deal of serious thinking is needed to navigate the decades immediately ahead. We are gaining in our ability to identify options in the political economy most likely to be ruinous. We have begun to probe the foundations of human nature, revealing what people intrinsically most need, and why. We are entering a new era of existentialism, not the old absurdist existentialism of Kierkegaard and Sartre, giving complete autonomy to the individual, but the concept that only unified learning, universally shared, makes accurate foresight and wise choice possible. -E. O. Wilson

48. I believe that in the process of locating new avenues of creative thought, we will also arrive at an existential conservatism. It is worth asking repeatedly: Where are our deepest roots? We are, it seems, Old World, catarrhine primates, brilliant emergent animals, defined genetically by our unique origins, blessed by our newfound biological genius, and secure in our homeland if we wish to make it so. What does it all mean? This is what it all means: To the extent that we depend on prosthetic devices to keep ourselves and the biosphere alive, we will render everything fragile. To the extent that we banish the rest of life, we will impoverish our own species for all time. And if we should surrender our genetic nature to machine-aided ratiocination, and our ethics and art and our very meaning to a habit of careless discursion in the name of progress, imagining ourselves godlike and absolved from our ancient heritage, we will become nothing. -E. O. Wilson

49. It has become fashionable to speak of the Enlightenment as an idiosyncratic construction by European males in a bygone era, one way of thinking among many different constructions generated across time by a legion of other minds in other cultures, each of which deserves careful and respectful attention. To which the only decent response is yes, of course – to a point. Creative thought is forever precious, and all knowledge has value. But what counts most in the long haul of history is seminality, not sentiment. If we ask whose ideas were the seeds of the dominant ethic and shared hopes of contemporary humanity, whose resulted in the most material advancement in history, whose were the first of their kind and today enjoy the most emulation, then in that sense the Enlightenment, despite the erosion of its original vision and despite the shakiness of some of its premises, has been the principal inspiration not just of Western high culture but, increasingly, of the entire world. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: Biophilia Quotes

E. O. Wilson: Biophilia Quotes

50. The naturalist is a civilized hunter. -E. O. Wilson

51. Splendor awaits in minute proportions. -E. O. Wilson

52. Biophilia, if it exists, and I believe it exists, is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. -E. O. Wilson

53. To explore and affiliate with life is a deep and complicated process in mental development. To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it hope rises on its currents.

E. O. Wilson

54. Biophilia: the innate pleasure from living abundance and diversity as manifested by the human impulse to imitate Nature with gardens. -E. O. Wilson

55. Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life. -E. O. Wilson

56. The worst thing that will probably happen—in fact is already well underway—is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us. -E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson Paleolithic Emotions Quote

E. O. Wilson Paleolithic Emotions Quote

57. The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.

E. O. Wilson