Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context, edited by Steven Dick and Mark Lupisella. 2009, 612p., hardbound. Published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Available for $61.00 from the U.S. Government Printing Office, at http://bookstore.gpo.gov
Sudocs classification number: NAS 1.21:2009-4802
Also available for download at http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4802.pdf
This is a compilation of 15 articles about the idea of “cosmic evolution,” which is the idea that our universe is intelligent everywhere and is constantly evolving. The editors claim that this idea has only been accepted in the last fifty years. One result of this acceptance is that researchers from various disciplines have begun to seriously study the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the chances that life and intelligence exist beyond Earth.
Some of the chapters–all written by experts in their fields–include these ideas:
” Cosmic Evolution: History, Culture, and Human Destiny” – That all parts of our cosmos are interconnected and evolving; Earth is not alone.
” The Intelligent Universe” – Includes a revaluation of the evolutionary beliefs of novelist Samuel Butler, which includes the startling thought, for its time of 1863, that humans will be displaced as Earth’s superior species, and that these successors will be the machines we create that will eventually become animated and not dependent on us for their existence and evolution.
” Life, Mind, and Culture as Fundamental Properties of the Universe” – “A cosmically distributed super intelligence will become more and more omniscient and god-like, and that in the final stage this evolved super mind will merge with the universe: mind and cosmos will be one” (p. 395).
“The Value of ‘L’ and the Cosmic Bottleneck” – Compared with the time scale of human evolution, our current problems of overpopulation and the development of nuclear weapons–the two factors that most threaten human existence–are short-lived problems that will be solved by our dispersal into space to the moon and nearby planets over the next few centuries.
“History and Science after the Chronometric Revolution” – This revolution occurred in the middle of the 20th century, and involved our ability to assign reliable dates to events extending back to the origins of the universe. One result of this revolution in thought is that our ability to adapt is so extraordinary that it can be thought of as “hyperadaptivity”. This ability has allowed us to evolve rapidly in the brief 200,000 years that our human species has existed.
These and many more observations about life on Earth and our human role in it will challenge your accepted ideas.