"Global Brain" by Howard Bloom
"Global Brain" was first published in 2000. Its author, famed psychologist Howard Bloom, wrote another book called "The Lucifer Principle" which is also well-known.
That said, this book is worse than idiotic - it's downright harmful. While I wouldn't dispute the author's main thesis, that group selection plays as much of a role in the evolution of a species as individual selection, I found it hard or even impossible to swallow many of his arguments, couched as they were in a rampant anthropomorphism. Describing bacterial colonies as "purposeful" or "intelligent" in the sense of "conscious" is reckless, if not misinformed. The author, while possessed of an impressive vocabulary, fails to see the danger of describing non-human lifeforms in human terms. There are also many elements of his argument - such as the inevitability of bio-genesis on earth - which are taken for granted.
Given my skepticism with regard to Modern Psychology, I felt it incumbent upon me to give this book a chance. I failed, nevertheless, to finish it. I got about 50 pages in, and then Bloom's boundless capacity for over-generalization became intolerable. Maybe it is written for a general audience, but it is badly researched, and what's more, it is Bad Science. As revolutionary as his ideas might be, Bloom overlooks the need for caution in such matters. He also overlooks the fact that regarding the entirety of everything as a single, living system is as old as humanity itself. One need only read from (or read into) the Upanishads for such an opinion.
My only worry about this book is how it is applied in Western universities. Are professors of psychology assigning this to their students? And if so, what kind of conclusions are these students reaching, with a freshman-level understanding of biochemistry? The popularity of this book might spark a useful debate, but I can't help thinking that this sort of misinformation does more harm than good..