Edward O. Wilson (Creative Commons photo)
Well, Chapter 12 is kind of a mind expanding chapter, don't you think? Last night I watched the Super Bowl, which featured a team from Ohio (where I live) versus a team from California (where Eric Wagner lives.) I suspect Eric is happier with the outcome, but it was a good game. And then after the game I re-read Chapter 12, and I was impressed with it as one of the better chapters, from a reading standpoint, in Prometheus Rising. (As Eric has explained, one of the main points of this chronologically long reading group is to do the exercises, not just to read the book.)
Chapter 12 also is a rather topical chapter, too. I say that because the famed biologist E.O. Wilson died on Dec. 26. The first exercise suggests reading Sociobiology by Edward Wilson, and while I haven't had time to do that yet, I would suggest taking advantage of the opportunity to read the New York Times obituary for E.O. Wilson. (As part of my digital subscription, I am allowed to share 10 links a month to get readers behind the Times' paywall.)
I suspect E.O. Wilson may have influenced one of my other favorite writers, Richard Powers, but if you read the Times article by Carl Zimmer (whatever you think of the Times' politics, there's still plenty of journalism talent there), it seems likely that some of E.O. Wilson's ideas influenced RAW:
“The organism is only DNA’s way of making more DNA,” Dr. Wilson brashly declared. He then explored a huge range of behaviors, showing how they might be the product of natural selection.
E.O. Wilson also is described in the obit as a "a self-described 'congenital synthesizer'," which sounds a lot like RAW, and there's quite a bit in the obit about Wilson's interest in ants; see the first exercise, and the references to insects at the beginning of The Universe Next Door.
Robert Anton Wilson was interested in many topics. His interest in science seems to particularly run to physics, as his interest in quantum mechanics makes clear, but as this chapter illustrates, he also paid serious attention to biology.
Addendum: The New York Times paid little attention to Robert Anton Wilson while he has alive, but did publish a nice obituary when he died; you can read it here.