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A Godless Philosophy - Contents
Preface (What's this all about?)
The Story of Evolution
14,000,000,000 y.a. -- The Big Bang
4,600,000,000 y.a. -- Our Sun and Earth
Stars evolve, producing the complex elements of organic life
2,500,000,000 y.a. -- First life forms on Earth
A bacteria reproduces itself, and the race is on
220,000,000 y.a. -- First mammals
A tiny shrew survives among the dinosaurs
30,000,000 y.a. -- The great apes of Africa
Chimps achieve sociability, planned combat, and use of natural objects as tools
5,000,000 y.a. -- Earliest human ancestors
It looks like a chimp but walks upright
3,000,000 y.a. -- Earliest toolmakers
Still chimp-like, this larger-brained ape makes the first stone tools
1,800,000 y.a. -- Later pre-humans
More human-looking without fur, this naked ape conquers fire and reaches Eurasia
300,000 y.a. -- Neanderthals
Evolved in Europe's Ice Age, they hunt and kill 7-ton mammoths
50,000 y.a. -- Modern humans (Homo sapiens)
Fully human now, we narrowly escape extinction to follow our destiny
45,000 y.a. -- Spread of modern humans throughout Eurasia
Out of Africa, we encounter the pre-humans and fight our way north
30,000 y.a. -- Extinction of the last pre-humans
Neanderthals, the tough guys, hold out the longest
15,000 y.a. -- First settlements, city-states and empires
It takes us 35,000 years to create the first small city
600 y.a. -- Racial differences and European conquests
Guns, germs and steel
Now -- Human evolution in modern times
Where are we, and what lies ahead?
Theory or Science? Sources and References
When, exactly, did evolution begin?
Setting aside metaphysical questions about "what existed before the beginning," we know that our universe, now unimaginably immense, exploded from something unimaginably dense and hot. Scientists call it the "Big Bang." They tell us that it originated as pure energy, and instantly began evolving into "quark soup," and then into protons, neutrons, and other elementary particles.
Fortunately, we don't need to fully grasp these extremes of space, time, density and temperature. Or care what a quark is or whether the physicists are still bickering over their elemental particles.
They've already told us what we need to know: evolution has shaped the universe since its first nanoseconds.
For me, evolution's appearance so close to the moment of creation, and its continuing power and constancy, makes it a prime suspect in creation itself. But we'll come back to cosmic speculation later; for now, we'll let science tell us how evolution led from the Big Bang to humans.