By Steven J. Dick & Mark L. Lupisella
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Extra resources for Cosmos and Culture
It is only a first tentative step toward the scientific study of the relationship between cosmic and cultural evolution, of placing the rapidly growing science of cultural evolution within a cosmic context, and urging a greater appreciation of the role that the cosmos should play in our culture. Steven J. Dick, former NASA Chief Historian Mark L. Lupisella, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center May 2009 Part 1 The Cosmic Context Chapter 1 Cosmic Evolution State of the Science Eric J. Chaisson Evolution, broadly considered, has become a powerful unifying concept in all of science, providing a comprehensive worldview for the new millennium.
In phases marked A, the main task of a species is to survive and thus persist until such time that the environment changes (vertical arrows), after which further evolution occurs—along phase B toward renewed survival and perhaps speciation or along phase C toward extinction. Neither upward rising graph implies progress or inevitability, but they do suggest a general trend toward increased complexity with time—a trend undeniable among organized systems observed throughout nature. How does such structuring actually occur?
Not least, a cultural evolutionary science that includes a cosmic context should allow for a better understanding of the relationships among physical, biological, and cultural evolution—steps perhaps toward a cosmic evolutionary synthesis. All of these benefits could inform the future of humanity and life in the universe. Conversely, greater attention to these problems should help us understand how our expanding knowledge of the cosmos impacts culture and cultural evolution. ”4 Like many complex concepts, dwelling on perfect definitions of culture, and in particular, cultural evolution, can be tricky and perhaps even distracting, because there are often blurry boundaries and intractable counter-examples.