Research Seminar: How Multilevel Selection Theory Can Change The World: The Inevitable Convergence of Modern Science with Indigenous Wisdom with Mitch Distin

Wednesday December 6th at 12pm ET

ProSocial Research

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1.5 hour free research seminar and Q&A session


For the vast majority of our species’ existence, anthro-archaeological evidence suggests that humans saw the world from the lens of an ecocentric ontology (often erroneously categorized as animism). As direct reflections of our ancestors, indigenous people view their sense of self as existing at multiple levels—at the individual level, at the community level, and as imbued within nature more generally. The indigenous view both themselves and nature as an extended ecological family that shares ancestry and origins, otherwise known as kincentric ecology. However, humans began disconnecting from nature when we started settling down and building civilizations, leaving behind the nomadic, communitarian, and nature-based ways of our ancestors for a sedentary, agricultural, and human-centric lifestyle. We built stone and concrete metropolises that put up walls between us and nature, and in turn, we fundamentally altered our relationship with nature. We began to view ourselves as something separate or superior to nature under a broad ontological worldview known as anthropocentrism. The entirety of what we presently deem as “human history” over the past 5,000 years is essentially the story of how we have grown further and further apart from nature, disconnecting us from our natural roots and origins.In this seminar, I firstly elucidate my scientific and historicophilosophical research studying the novel concepts of evolvability and multilevel selection theory (MLS) as outlined in my E-book Evolution in Space and Time. After setting the necessary scientific and historical context, I next extend upon the social and spiritual implications of MLS theory. MLS theory redefines what it means to be human and, for the first time in human evolutionary history, unites all the sub-groups of the human species under one social identity. MLS offers a multilayered viewpoint of the human sense of self, allowing humans to not only connect with other humans and see them as direct extensions of their selves, but to reconnect with nature as well. Today, humankind is in desperate need of a convergence between the old ways of our forgotten indigenous ancestors, combined with the most recent scientific findings that, in essence, direct us towards the same wisdom as the ancients.

About the Speaker:

Mitchell Ryan Distin has a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Biodiversity from the Universität de Valencia in Spain with an international mention from the University of Cambridge, an M.Sc. in the History and Philosophy of Science from University College London, and a B.Sc. in Neuroscience from Michigan State University. His doctoral thesis, “Evolution in Space and Time: The Second Synthesis of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and the Philosophy of Biology”, won several awards and has since been turned into a free E-book available on ResearchGate. Mitch has spent the last decade traveling the world, immersing himself in different cultures, while concomitantly performing his scientific research on the origins and maintenance of biodiversity. His future plans include building Michigan’s first fully sustainable eco-resort with his wife Kasha, becoming more politically involved as an environmentalist and conservationist in the United States, and publishing his expository science/history book called “Disconnected from Nature: Modern Science Meets Indigenous Wisdom”.