By National Aeronautics and Space Admininstration, Steven J. Dick, Mark L. Lupisella
Product Description: over the last 50 years, coincident with the distance Age, cosmic evolution has been famous because the grasp narrative of the universe, historical past writ large. Cosmic evolution comprises actual, organic, and cultural evolution, and of those the latter is through a long way the main rapid. during this quantity, authors with varied backgrounds in technological know-how, historical past, anthropology, and extra, think about tradition within the context of the cosmos. How does our wisdom of cosmic evolution have an effect on terrestrial culture? Conversely, how does our wisdom of cultural evolution impact our pondering attainable cultures within the cosmos? Are existence, brain, and tradition of basic value to the grand tale of the cosmos that has generated its personal self-understanding via technology, rational reasoning, and mathematics? Might this bring about cultural evolution on a wide adequate scale to permit the universe to either create and steer itself towards its personal future?
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Extra info for Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context
Automobiles, from the pioneering Model Ts to today’s gadget-rich SUVs, can be likewise analyzed, as can the vaunted silicon chips that so clearly now accelerate our 21st century economy. Humankind is now moving toward a time, possibly as soon as within a few generations, when we will no longer be able to expect nature to adjust rapidly enough to ensure our own survival. Rather, civilization on Earth will either have to adapt to the natural environment with ever-accelerating speed, or generate artificial environmental conditions needed for our ecological existence.
6 But such a set of general ideas is a long way from a research program. In the first half century of the post-Darwinian world, cosmic evolution did not find fertile ground among astronomers who were hard-pressed to find evidence for it. Spectroscopy, which displayed the distinct “fingerprints” of each of the chemical elements, did reveal to astronomers that those same elements were found in the terrestrial and celestial realms. This confirmed the widely assumed idea of “uniformity of nature,” that both nature’s laws and its materials were everywhere the same.
No one would claim that a field of extraterrestrial life studies, or cosmic evolution, existed in the first half of the 20th century. Even by 1955, when Otto Struve pondered the use of the word “astrobiology” to describe the broad study of life beyond Earth, he explicitly decided against a new discipline: “[t]he time is probably not yet ripe to recognize such a completely new discipline within the framework of astronomy. The basic facts of the origin of life on Earth are still vague and uncertain; and our knowledge of the physical conditions on Venus and Mars is insufficient to give us a reliable background for answering the question” of life on other worlds.