Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context

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9781493594139: Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context
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Cosmic evolution, the idea that the universe and its constituent parts are constantly evolving, has become widely accepted only in the last 50 years. It is no coincidence that this acceptance parallels the span of the Space Age. Although cosmic evolution was first recognized in the physical universe early in the 20th century, with hints even earlier, the relationships among planets, stars, and galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself, became much better known through the discoveries by planetary probes and space telescopes in the latter half of the century. It was also during the last 50 years—a century after Darwin proposed that evolution by natural selection applies to life on our own planet—that researchers from a variety of disciplines began to seriously study the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and “the biological universe.” Considering biology from this broader cosmological perspective has expanded biological thinking beyond its sample-of-one straightjacket, incorporating biology into cosmic evolution. Astrobiology is now a robust discipline even though it has yet to find any life beyond Earth. But there is a third component to cosmic evolution beyond the physical and the biological. Even if we only know of culture on one planet so far, cultural evolution has been an important part of cosmic evolution on Earth, and perhaps on many other planets. Moreover, it also dominates the other two forms of evolution in terms of its rapidity. Humans were not much different biologically 10,000 years ago, but one need only look around to see how much we have changed culturally. Yet, unlike the study of biological evolution, which has made great progress since Darwin’s Origin of Species, the scientific study of cultural evolution languished after Darwin’s death for the better part of a century. Only within the past few decades has significant progress been made, and concerned with advancing their fledging science, cultural evolutionists have yet to expand their thinking beyond their current planetary sample-of-one concerns. But if life and intelligence do exist beyond Earth, it is likely that culture will arise and evolve. In this volume authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, and anthropology consider culture in the context of the cosmos, including the implications of the cosmos for our own culture.

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About the Author:

Steven J. Dick is the former Chief Historian for NASA. He obtained his B.S. in astrophysics (1971) and his M.A. and Ph.D. (1977) in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University. He worked as an astronomer and historian of science at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, for 24 years before coming to NASA Headquarters in 2003. Among his books are Plurality of Worlds: The Origins of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant (1982), The Biological Universe: The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science (1996), and Life on Other Worlds (1998). The latter has been translated into Chinese, Italian, Czech, Polish and Greek. His most recent books are The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology (2004) and a comprehensive history of the U.S. Naval Observatory, Sky and Ocean Joined: The U.S. Naval Observatory, 1830–2000 (2003). The latter received the Pendleton Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government.  He is editor of Many Worlds: The New Universe, Extraterrestrial Life and the Theological Implications (2000), editor (with Keith Cowing) of the proceedings of the NASA Administrator's symposium Risk and Exploration: Earth, Sea and the Stars (2005), and (with Roger Launius) of Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight (2006) and Societal Impact of Spaceflight (2007). He is the recipient of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. He received the NASA Group Achievement Award for his role in NASA’s multidisciplinary program in astrobiology. He has served as chairman of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society as president of the History of Astronomy Commission of the International Astronomical Union, and he as president of the Philosophical Society of Washington.  He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Mark L. Lupisella works for NASA as an engineer and scientists. He has worked on the Hubble Space telescope, Mars planning, Exploration and Constellation programs, wearable computing, astrobiology, artificial life, and many other areas. He is the author of over 25 published works and received NASA’s Space Flight Awareness Award for his work on the Hubble Space Telescope. 

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 Reviews from Goodreads:

John Carter McKnight rated it with 4 stars and had this to say:

"Anthology of uniformly high quality. Diverse enough that few will find all the articles exceptionally interesting.It's divided into three parts: a pair of introductory essays on cosmic evolution, grounded in current work in complexity studies, a section on cultural evolution (cultural anthropology and memetics) and a back half on philosophy. I found the first three essays - the opening section and Kathryn Denning's long piece on the anthropology of SETI - really first rate and fascinating; the memetics pieces interesting, and little of the back half worthwhile, but I don't have much patience for philosophy.

The volume's subject to the critique that it's wishful thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence and our species having a future at astronomical timescales, dressed up in speculative science: that's a fair categorization of the back half, thought he front half has much to offer the scholar working on more ordinary timescales."

So Hakim rated it with two (2) stars and had this to say, "Interesting big picture, interesting topics -- but sadly couldn't manage for enjoyable narrative. Which is a shame; I personally feel this book can be magnificent if it has more engaging style. For serious learners only."

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Book Description Createspace, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Cosmic evolution, the idea that the universe and its constituent parts are constantly evolving, has become widely accepted only in the last 50 years. It is no coincidence that this acceptance parallels the span of the Space Age. Although cosmic evolution was first recognized in the physical universe early in the 20th century, with hints even earlier, the relationships among planets, stars, and galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself, became much better known through the discoveries by planetary probes and space telescopes in the latter half of the century. It was also during the last 50 years-a century after Darwin proposed that evolution by natural selection applies to life on our own planet-that researchers from a variety of disciplines began to seriously study the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the biological universe. Considering biology from this broader cosmological perspective has expanded biological thinking beyond its sample-of-one straightjacket, incorporating biology into cosmic evolution. Astrobiology is now a robust discipline even though it has yet to find any life beyond Earth. But there is a third component to cosmic evolution beyond the physical and the biological. Even if we only know of culture on one planet so far, cultural evolution has been an important part of cosmic evolution on Earth, and perhaps on many other planets. Moreover, it also dominates the other two forms of evolution in terms of its rapidity. Humans were not much different biologically 10,000 years ago, but one need only look around to see how much we have changed culturally. Yet, unlike the study of biological evolution, which has made great progress since Darwin s Origin of Species, the scientific study of cultural evolution languished after Darwin s death for the better part of a century. Only within the past few decades has significant progress been made, and concerned with advancing their fledging science, cultural evolutionists have yet to expand their thinking beyond their current planetary sample-of-one concerns. But if life and intelligence do exist beyond Earth, it is likely that culture will arise and evolve. In this volume authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, and anthropology consider culture in the context of the cosmos, including the implications of the cosmos for our own culture. Seller Inventory # APC9781493594139

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Book Description Createspace, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Cosmic evolution, the idea that the universe and its constituent parts are constantly evolving, has become widely accepted only in the last 50 years. It is no coincidence that this acceptance parallels the span of the Space Age. Although cosmic evolution was first recognized in the physical universe early in the 20th century, with hints even earlier, the relationships among planets, stars, and galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself, became much better known through the discoveries by planetary probes and space telescopes in the latter half of the century. It was also during the last 50 years-a century after Darwin proposed that evolution by natural selection applies to life on our own planet-that researchers from a variety of disciplines began to seriously study the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the biological universe. Considering biology from this broader cosmological perspective has expanded biological thinking beyond its sample-of-one straightjacket, incorporating biology into cosmic evolution. Astrobiology is now a robust discipline even though it has yet to find any life beyond Earth. But there is a third component to cosmic evolution beyond the physical and the biological. Even if we only know of culture on one planet so far, cultural evolution has been an important part of cosmic evolution on Earth, and perhaps on many other planets. Moreover, it also dominates the other two forms of evolution in terms of its rapidity. Humans were not much different biologically 10,000 years ago, but one need only look around to see how much we have changed culturally. Yet, unlike the study of biological evolution, which has made great progress since Darwin s Origin of Species, the scientific study of cultural evolution languished after Darwin s death for the better part of a century. Only within the past few decades has significant progress been made, and concerned with advancing their fledging science, cultural evolutionists have yet to expand their thinking beyond their current planetary sample-of-one concerns. But if life and intelligence do exist beyond Earth, it is likely that culture will arise and evolve. In this volume authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, and anthropology consider culture in the context of the cosmos, including the implications of the cosmos for our own culture. Seller Inventory # APC9781493594139

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Book Description Createspace. Paperback. Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. 612 pages. Dimensions: 9.7in. x 6.3in. x 1.5in.Cosmic evolution, the idea that the universe and its constituent parts are constantly evolving, has become widely accepted only in the last 50 years. It is no coincidence that this acceptance parallels the span of the Space Age. Although cosmic evolution was first recognized in the physical universe early in the 20th century, with hints even earlier, the relationships among planets, stars, and galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself, became much better known through the discoveries by planetary probes and space telescopes in the latter half of the century. It was also during the last 50 yearsa century after Darwin proposed that evolution by natural selection applies to life on our own planetthat researchers from a variety of disciplines began to seriously study the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the biological universe. Considering biology from this broader cosmological perspective has expanded biological thinking beyond its sample-of-one straightjacket, incorporating biology into cosmic evolution. Astrobiology is now a robust discipline even though it has yet to find any life beyond Earth. But there is a third component to cosmic evolution beyond the physical and the biological. Even if we only know of culture on one planet so far, cultural evolution has been an important part of cosmic evolution on Earth, and perhaps on many other planets. Moreover, it also dominates the other two forms of evolution in terms of its rapidity. Humans were not much different biologically 10, 000 years ago, but one need only look around to see how much we have changed culturally. Yet, unlike the study of biological evolution, which has made great progress since Darwins Origin of Species, the scientific study of cultural evolution languished after Darwins death for the better part of a century. Only within the past few decades has significant progress been made, and concerned with advancing their fledging science, cultural evolutionists have yet to expand their thinking beyond their current planetary sample-of-one concerns. But if life and intelligence do exist beyond Earth, it is likely that culture will arise and evolve. In this volume authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, and anthropology consider culture in the context of the cosmos, including the implications of the cosmos for our own culture. This item ships from La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781493594139

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