Feierman's review of E.O. Wilson's The Social Conquest of the Earth
- Dear Group Members,Attached is a copy of an in invited, in press book review that I wrote for The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT) News. It will appear in the March 2013 issue. I thank several persons on the various Yahoo Groups receiving this review who gave me helpful suggestions on a previous draft. The attached file is a Word .docx document.Regards,Jay R. Feierman
- The Social Conquest of Earth p. 269. “In contrast, human beings, along with monkeys, apes, and birds are among the rare life forms that are primarily audiovisual, and correspondingly weak in taste and smell. We are idiots compared with rattlesnakes and bloodhounds. Our poor ability to smell and taste is reflected in the small size of our chemosensory vocabularies…”
Ants have no chemosensory vocabularies; neither do honeybees and birds. Still, their behavior is nutrient chemical-dependent and pheromone-controlled like it is in all species from microbes to man. Only an idiot would continue to tell others that we have a poor ability to smell and taste as compared to bloodhounds or other vertebrates. Just as they do, we sniff out genetic differences in the major histocompatibility complex of genes (the MHC or our HLA compex) -- commonly referred to as tissue type. But the bloodhounds don't talk about it and neither do we, which attests to our similarities to other species, not our differences.
Indeed, at the level of molecular biology, there are no differences. All species use their chemosensory abilities to find food, and reproduction depends on nutrient chemical metabolism to pheromones that bloodhounds and humans use in mate choice, although they don't talk about how they use them. Still, olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans. Audiovisual input does not! Note: I'm not saying Wilson is an idiot, except when he thinks he can tell people we have a poor ability to smell compared to bloodhounds or other vertebrates. Indeed, he can no longer get away with that even when comparing our sense of smell to olfaction in invertebrates.
Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.