15-0109 E. O Wilson - Of Ants and Men
Produced by Shining Red Productions, Inc. for PBS
Categories as a finalist: Conservation Hero, Writing
EO Wilson- Of Ants and Men is a two-hour film about the life and extraordinary scientific odyssey of one of America’s greatest living thinkers, E.O Wilson. Starting with his unusual childhood in Alabama, it chronicles the lifelong love for the natural world that led him to Harvard and the studies that would establish him as the world’s foremost authority on ants. But that was just the beginning. His groundbreaking work on ant communication led him to his remarkable studies of advanced social behavior throughout the animal world. When he included humans as subjects of the new discipline he founded, Sociobiology, it led to one of the great scientific controversies of our time. His lectures at Harvard were picketed and he was even attacked on stage at a scientific conference, all because he suggested that human nature could be studied scientifically. The film delves into the issues and their resolution. Time has borne Wilson out and Sociobiology has become a well-established and accepted part of the humanities. But hardly had that controversy died down when he was embroiled in yet another fierce debate, this time not with philosophers and social scientists but with fellow biologists. It is about the theory of evolution and has brought him into conflict with Richard Dawkins and many others who fiercely oppose his theory of “group selection”. That controversy rages to this day. But above and beyond these scientific debates lies Wilson’s abiding passion for the natural world and its conservation. The film culminates with his work in the great National Park of Mozambique, Gorongosa, which brings together the great themes of his life and work: nature and humanity’s place in it.