From book description:
While Charles Darwin's vision of evolution was brilliant, natural selection ignores
a crucial force that helps to explain the diversity and wonder of life: symbiosis.
In Darwin's Blind Spot, Frank Ryan shows how the blending of life forms through
symbiosis has resulted in gigantic leaps in evolution. The dependence of many flowering
plants on insects and birds for pollination is an important instance of symbiosis.
More surprising may be the fact that our cells have incorporated bacteria that allow
us to breathe oxygen. And the equivalent of symbiosis within a species -- cooperation --
has been a vital, although largely ignored, force in human evolution. In Ryan's view,
cooperation, not competition, lies at the heart of human society. Ryan mixes stories
of the many strange and beautiful results of symbiosis with accounts of the dramatic
historic rivalries over the expansion of Darwin's theory. He also examines controversial
research being done today, including studies suggesting that symbiosis among viruses
led to the evolution of mammals and thus of humans. Too often Darwin's interpreters
have put excessive emphasis on competition and struggle as the only forces in evolution.
But the idea of "survival of the fittest" does not always reign. Symbiosis is
critically important to the richness of Earth's life forms.