(1979). "'Scientific Materialism – Science, or Mythology?' a review of <i>On Human Nature</i> by E. O. Wilson", <i>Bhaktivedanta Institute Bulletin</i> Vol. I, No. 1

(1979). "'Scientific Materialism' – Science, or Mythology?' a review of On Human Nature by E. O. Wilson"

Bhaktivedanta Institute Bulletin Vol. 1, No. 1

Publication Info: 

Thompson, Richard, "'Scientific Materialism – Science, or Mythology?' a review of On Human Nature by E. O. Wilson," Bhaktivedanta Institute Bulletin Vol. 1, No. 1 (January-February 1979): 6–7.


In his recent book On Human Nature (1978), Edward O. Wilson deliberately sets out to fashion for mankind a new theology based on scientific materialism. In this effort one of his principal objectives is to eliminate religion as a central force in human society and to harness for material science the energy now being expended in religious pursuits. Wilson feels that the resulting vacuum can be filled by inducing people to center their aspirations on the epic of organic evolution. In addition to being unproven and unreasonable, Wilson's new mythology also leaves us with nothing but the alternatives of total cynicism or willful self-delusion. The author proposes an alternative approach to resolve the conflict between science and religion that would entail two prerequisites. First, science should be approached with very strict and cautious reasoning. The temptation to wildly extrapolate scientific hypotheses and thereby generate mythological worldviews should be resisted. Second, one should study religion as it is, without trying to force it into a Procrustean bed of artificial concepts. If religion is approached with an open mind and appreciated in terms of its own categories, it can be truly understood, and then its relation with the findings of science can be fruitfully considered.