It is difficult me to get through any paragraph of W. D. Hamilton’s introductions to his collected papers in Narrow Roads of Gene Land without wanting to quote something or other. To think that these are the only writings of his in print besides his scientific papers! As a writer, I believe he is comparable to Huxley and Dawkins, and needless to say he is a better scientist than either of them.
An excerpt from his preface to Vol. 1 of Narrow Roads of Gene Land:
Believing in the explanatory power of evolution by natural selection is like migraine, or perhaps still more like being, as it was in the old days, a ‘wise woman’. The majority of humanity seem to have difficulty in accepting that the ‘oddness’ of such a believer can be real — that is, simply an oddness and nothing else. As the migraine sufferer is suspected of malingering, and the woman who is merely literally wise, of witchcraft, so the evolutionist is always suspected of covert agendas unconnected with reality or the search for truth. In despair over the unending bemusement in friends and relatives and over the stream of articles and books that still pours forth stating Darwinism to be wrong, dead, right except for natural selection, superseded by this stale or ridiculous notion or that (all of which, evidently, the public eagerly buy and read, no matter what the competence of the writer or his knowledge of his evidence); puzzled, in short, by resistance to ideas that seem vastly more obvious and intuitive than, say, relativity or quantum mechanics, which every one accepts blithely or without understanding, the evolution sufferer sometimes comes to believe it must be he who is mistaken… At other times the evolutionist may feel like one of the stranger ‘genetic morphs’ of his own theories — mutant carrier, say, of a fourth intellectual pigment of the retina capable of raising into clear sight patterns of nature and of the human future that are denied to the majority of his fellows, or perhaps just a person bewitched in babyhood to have revealed to him through blind sight, through such X-ray eyes, all the ravishing and foreboding beauty of the world that he now endures.
Since this was written in 1996, clearly he cannot mean that there is still widespread resistance to the idea that evolution explains the diversity of life as we know it, and that man evolved from animals. He is most likely referring to his own travails with opponents of sociobiology.
I could go on discussing Hamilton’s introductions indefinitely, but a tedious problem set beckons, so I will end by quoting the final paragraph of the abovementioned preface:
Having listed friends — with all too many still unmentioned since the net eventually spreads too wide — I am tempted to begin listing my enemies, those who have spurred my work on by being so outstandingly wrong, so critical, and so irritatingly indifferent. But this multitude of patrons, beyond those broad classes already hinted at, had better be left to be implied in the papers themselves.