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Evolutionary worldview

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An evolutionary worldview is a worldview which is based on the idea that most things—not just life—have developed gradually from a different and much simpler state to everything we see today.

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The things that are thought to have evolved, according to the evolutionary worldview, include:[1]

According to Scientific American,

In biology the theory of evolution today is more powerfully established than ever. In cosmology it has become the primary generator of men's thinking about the universe. But the idea of evolution in the cultural history of mankind itself has had a frustrating career of ups and downs. It was warmly embraced in Darwin's time, left for dead at the turn of the century and is just now coming back to life and vigor. Today a completely new approach to the question has once more given us hope of achieving an understanding of the development of human cultures in evolutionary terms.[2]

Harvard zoologist P. D. Darlington also made clear that "evolution" includes the origins of both matter and life:

The outstanding evolutionary mystery now is how matter has originated and evolved, why it has taken its present form in the universe and on the earth, and why it is capable of forming itself into complex living sets of molecules.[3]

Julian Huxley wrote that "Our present knowledge indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is evolution—a single process of self-transformation".[4]

Theodosius Dobzhansky emphasised the point:

Evolution comprises all the stages of the development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. Attempts to restrict the concept of evolution to biology are gratuitous. Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic nature, and man is a product of the evolution of life.[5]

In some discussions, the term "evolution" is used in a more restricted sense to refer only to the development of complex living things from a simple progenitor. Some evolutionists, particularly on the Internet, go so far as to insist that the restricted sense is the only proper usage. Although there would be nothing illogical in holding the position that the first cell was created supernaturally and all life forms have subsequently developed from there by natural processes, there seems to be very few people who hold this view. Most people who hold that complex life has evolved from simple life, also hold that simple life evolved from inanimate matter, even though the processes that might have been involved are much less clear in the latter case.

A naturalistic worldview is usually an evolutionary worldview. If there is no supernatural intervention, then there is hardly any other possibility to produce complex things than to have them evolve out of simpler things.

Evolution of the universe

The leading hypothesis for the evolution of the universe is the Big Bang model. Modern Big Bang models begin with the moment after the universe began, a point that Wikipedia stresses, although Wikipedia also says that "The discovery and confirmation of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964 secured the Big Bang as the best theory of the origin and evolution of the cosmos."[6] (emphasis added).

Origin of life

Evolutionists frequently separate the question of the origin of life from its subsequent evolution (in the narrow sense). The basis of this is that the classical mechanisms of mutations and natural selection only operate after life has begun. Furthermore, it has proven much more difficult to devise a satisfactory naturalistic explanation of the origin of life than of its evolution. In past decades, these two phases were not seen as being so distinct. In 1960 Evolutionist Gerald Kerkut referred to the "General Theory of Evolution" as "the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form."[7]

Chemical evolution, or abiogenesis, is the leading concept of the origin of life.

Chemical evolution describes chemical changes on the primitive Earth that gave rise to the first forms of life.[8]

Further, it has been proposed that chemical evolution is in fact subject to natural selection.[9][10]

References

  1. See also this article's research page for examples of the use of the word "evolution" in these other contexts.
  2. Julian H. Steward, Cultural Evolution, New World Archaeology, 1974, 2-17, W. H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-0502-8. Reprint of article from Scientific American, May 1956.
  3. P. D. Darlington, Evolution for Naturalists, John Wiley, 1980, p. 15, cited by Morris, Henry, The Splendid Faith of the Evolutionist, Impact, 1 September 1982.
  4. Huxley, Julian, "Evolution and Genetics" in What is Man? (Ed. by J. R. Newman, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1955), p.278, quoted by Morris, Henry, Evolution, Thermodynamics, and Entropy.
  5. Dobzhansky T.G., "Changing Man," Science, Fri. 27th January, 1967Fri. January 27th, 1967, Vol. 155, No. 3761, p.409, quoted by Stephen E. Jones.
  6. Big Bang on Wikipedia
  7. Kerkut, G.A., Implications of Evolution, Pergamon, Oxford, UK, p. 157, 1960, quote by Sarfati, Jonathan, Origin of life and the homochirality problem: is magnetochiral dichroism the solution?, Journal of Creation 14(3):9–12, December 2000.
  8. Chemical Evolution - The primitive Earth, Science Encyclopedia
  9. Chrisantha Fernandoa and Jonathan Rowe, Natural selection in chemical evolution, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2007 Jul 7;247(1):152-67.
  10. Randall S. Perry1 and Vera M. Kolb, On the applicability of Darwinian principles to chemical evolution that led to life, International Journal of Astrobiology 3(1):45–53 (2004)
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