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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
Perhaps to distance themselves from the "creationists," some scientists have overstated the random nature of evolution. Evolution may act randomly, but it nevertheless shows a clear sense of direction: from simple toward complex. This direction is revealed in the universe's evolution following the Big Bang.
Within a billion years of the Big Bang, primordial protons and neutrons combined into hydrogen and helium, which in turn slowly condensed into gas clouds. Star formation then occurred under the force of gravity. This first generation of stars brought increased complexity, but the universe was still relatively simple. No other elements existed at this time aside from a tiny amount of lithium -- i.e., no oxygen, carbon or other elements necessary for human life.
But stars live and then die, just like us. A star burning hydrogen produces helium. Once the hydrogen is gone, the star starts burning the helium. The "ash" of helium is carbon and oxygen. You probably see where this is going. As stars burn, they create new, heavier elements from lighter ones. When a star runs out of fuel, it usually explodes, scattering these newly-created elements to provide the genesis of a generation of more complex stars.
Thus do stars evolve.
Our Sun is a third-generation star. It and its planets formed 4.5 billion years ago, coalescing from a rich cloud of gas and dust in the Milky Way Galaxy. New chemicals such as iron, created in the death of second-generation stars, now existed for the first time. Ten billion years after the Big Bang, the ingredients necessary for complex life forms were finally in place. But planet Earth was a hostile place...