The biologist Edward O. Wilson has made a protracted study of the behavior of ants, as a way of understanding human culture. Since Whitley (and other contactees) often report that "the grays" seem hive-like, it may shine a light on ET behavior as well.
Ants not only practice agriculture, they practice medicine. In the April 10th edition of the New York Times, Sindya N. Bhanoo reports that when one ant in a colony has an infection, the others don't avoid their sick comrade. Instead, they approach the infected ant and lick it to remove pathogens, and in doing so, they give themselves a "homeopathic" cure--that is, their immune system becomes resistant to these bacteria.
In the Wall Street Journal, Michael Gessaniga writes: "The controversy (about Wilson's book) is due to the fact that he is challenging one of the central pillars of modern evolutionary biology--that natural selection acts far more strongly on individuals and genetic relatives than on broader social groups. In addition, 'The Social Conquest of Earth' is a reversal of Mr. Wilson's own earlier view that the evolution of altruism was driven by kin selection rather than group selection.
"In the end, Mr. Wilson comes down on the side of what is called multi-level selection--the view that evolution involves a combination of gene selection, individual selection, kin selection and group selection."
Wilson says that we should think of all the organisms in a hive or ant nest as a single "superorganism," rather than thousands of individuals. Is that point of view part of the human future as well? In Asian societies like Japan or China, this would be more acceptable than it would be in the individualistic USA. He thinks that art, religion and other unique facets of the human condition are better understood when we view them as examples of group selection.
Or maybe whether or not WE can evolve to function as a group is irrelevant.
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