Episode 47: David Sloan Wilson – Combining Evolutionary Principles to Cultural Evolution

The word ‘prosocial’ describes an orientation toward the welfare of others and society as a whole. 

My guest today is David Sloan Wilson. David is an American evolutionary biologist and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is a son of the author Sloan Wilson, co-founder of the Evolution Institute, and co-founder of the recent spinoff nonprofit Prosocial World.

In this episode, you’ll hear about the following:

  • Expanding Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  • The fight or flight response while in groups and while we’re alone
  • Privatization of resources
  • The Core Design Principles
  • How to select enlightened behaviors to reach valued goals
  • And much more!

Thanks again for listening to the Humanitarian Entrepreneur podcast!  We’re not in this alone.  We’re a community and we’re all in this together to help the planet. Don’t forget to share this episode and leave us a review if you found it helpful.

Enjoy my conversation with David!

In This Episode:

[1:26] – We’re introduced to our guest, David Sloan Wilson, and learn what it means to be one of the world’s foremost evolutionary biologists. 

[3:19] – What called David to create Evolution Institute and Prosocial World?

[5:36] – We’ve always lived in a group context.  Here’s what that has meant over the centuries for our species.

[7:44] – David expands on how our brains interpret the fight or flight response while we’re in a group and while we’re alone. 

[9:42] – This is how Prosocial World helps people get out of their turtle shell.

[13:02] – David explains the tragedy of the commons.

[15:22] – David lists the core design principles.

[19:07] – We hear about the two pillars of Prosocial World.

[20:22] – How to learn to be flexible in “approach and avoid” situations.

[24:10] – What are the different ways that people interested in working with David can get a hold of him? 

[25:55] – Tiffany wraps up the conversation.


To connect with Tiffany to solve problems or affect the kind of change you want:



Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others


The Neighborhood Project:  Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time


This View of Life:  Completing the Darwinian Revolution


Evolution for Everyone:  How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think about Our Lives


Connect with David:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/David_S_Wilson   

David Sloan Wilson Archive: https://davidsloanwilson.world/

About: https://davidsloanwilson.world/about-david-sloan-wilson/

Evolution Institute Website: https://evolution-institute.org

Prosocial World Website: https://www.prosocial.world

Contact:  [email protected]

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