See below for Chapter Page details. The purpose of this site is to introduce you to up-to-date evolutionary thought.
You may find the last 4 pages of particular interest. Please check them out.
You may be skeptical about the truth and value of the theory of evolution. Or you may accept the facts supporting the theory of life on this planet. Either way, there is a good reason to learn more about it. It’s not just about biological life but all the history of the Earth and Homo sapiens. Bottomline, it’s about us, our past, and future survival!
Understanding how life has come to be has been helpful to researchers developing new drugs and hybridizing better food crops. This is very important, especially with the over-population of the Earth accelerating.
There are lessons to be learned about life. Life has always been tough, struggling for existence and continuance. But, it has survived. It has progressed to better living for us humans. There is an invaluable lesson there.
Plants evolved, then came animals. Animals became conscious and humans formed tribes and cultures and so on. Parental care for their young grew. Civilizations grew. Compassion, goodness, and love are continuing to evolve. Remember, they too are part of the Epic.
The old Creation Story does nothing for us. The Epic of Evolution does. It is far more useful. The old stories were first told thousands of years ago. Long before we knew how things really were. Getting the scientific facts right now does not invalidate the moral lessons of the old tales.
An evolving theory and Epic.
The aging Modern Synthesis understanding of evolution has grown to explain biological phenomena across the full biological field, from genes to species to culture. Since the beginning of the 21st century and in light of discoveries made in recent decades, some biologists are calling for an evolving evolutionary synthesis. It would account for evolutionary developmental biology(evo-devo) and the effects of non-genetic inheritance modes, such as epigenetics, parental effects, ecological and cultural inheritance, and evolvability.
The Epic will continue to evolve as we and the Earth do. It is a living story, not an ancient folktale. No disrespect to anyone, but let's call a spade a spade.
Page One -The Periods or Chapters of evolution
This Epic is a very long true story. Evolution has periods or stages of progression. Calling these different periods chapters is appropriate. Various writers have different divisions and titles than pictured on the first page here. They all present the story in an informative way non-scientists can understand and appreciate.
Bron Taylor's Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature gives four primary categories: cosmic, planetary, life, cultural while Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had 3 - Geosphere, Biosphere, and Noosphere. Some have more – Connie Barlow’s Great Story has 8 – Radiance, Galactic, Hadean, Archaen, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenezoic and David Christian’s Maps of Time has 9: Universe – Cosmology; First Stars – Astronomy; Chemical Elements – Chemistry; Earth and Solar System – Geology; Life – Biology; Humans – Collective learning; Humans – Agriculture; Humans – Modern Revolution, and the Future.
Biologist Catherine Russell has 7 also but includes cooperative evolution rather than current/future and Eric Chaisson’s Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos starts with Particulate before Galactic and ends with Cultural.
These all are telling the same basic story. That story is colossal and impressive in style and grandeur, being historical, scientific, comprehensive, remarkable, enlightening and most of all, true. It is a true account of how humans and the Earth came to be. Is there any more important story?
For some, the Epic is a spiritual epiphany. As biologist Ursula Goodenough states "We do have something of a story here, a true story, that we can work with religiously should we elect to do so. ….Scientific inquiry has provisioned us with a mind-boggling new core narrative — the epic of evolution, the epic of creation, the universe story, big history, everybody's story — where humans and human cultures are understood to be emergent from and, hence, a part of nature........A religious naturalist is a naturalist who has adopted the epic as a core narrative and goes on to explore its religious potential, developing interpretive, spiritual and moral/ethical responses to the story." (from Wikiquotes)
We all live in and with the natural world. Many people sense a spirituality in it. Avid environmentalists approach Nature in a religious manner as do Religious Naturalists. Scientists see godly majesty in how Nature works. Much of mankind throughout its history has seen gods in Nature. In this respect, this story is not new.
Eric Chaisson's Cosmic Evolution tells the story in a much more technical manner. Catherine Russell updates the Epic with her Integral Model 2012 VAST Model of Evolution . She presents the three major theories of evolution prevailing since 1857.