Where do we come from? Where are we going? What is the best way into the future?
For thousands of years, humans have asked these questions. To find meaningful answers to these questions, people need context. Creation stories help people put their lives in the biggest possible context. Until only around 100 years ago, creation stories were more speculative that based on evidence. Now, thanks to the research of thousands of scientists from around the world, we have a universal, evidence-based creation story.
The Epic of Evolution is this evidence-based creation story. It chronicles our 13.8 billion year journey from the “Big Bang” to the emergence of stars, of life and eventually of the human spirit.
PURPOSE OF THIS SITE
The purpose of this site is to help you understand our evidence-based creation story in ways that inspire and empower you to flourish in your future.
To help people understand the story of the universe, this site contains an overview of the Seven Stages in the Epic of Evolution. It contains hands-on educational resources for teaching the science of the Epic of Evolution in a fun and visceral way. Many scientific disciplines contribute to our understanding of the Epic of Evolution. To gain the greatest benefit, it’s helpful to have a basic knowledge of physics, geology, biology, paleontology, and neuroscience.
This site is about the entire story of the universe, not just about the story of life. That said, because so many people are confused about evolutionary biology, this site emphasizes biological evolution and the role of variation in evolution. This site pays special tribute to Charles Darwin, who showed that evolution requires “profitable” variations as well as natural selection.
In the future, this site will build on Darwin’s ideas of evolutionary psychology. Darwin showed how emotions such as love and sympathy contribute to human fitness.
This site contains tested, hands-on activities that effectively teach important concepts about the science of evolution. This site also has annotated guides to books and videos and web sites about the Epic of Evolution.
Beyond teaching the facts of evolution, a goal of this web site is to help you feel at home in the evolving cosmos. By understanding our place in the evolving cosmos, you can create more joy and prosperity your life.
One of the big challenges in celebrating evolution is overcoming destructive philosophies promoted in the name of evolution. For over 150 years, people have been overly influenced by the negative interpretations of evolution, such as “eugenics”, “survival of the most ruthless,” the belief that “life is merely random and meaningless”, and “descent from slime gives license to behave like slime.” These ideas fail to offer a comprehensive or accurate view of evolution. These limited and inaccurate portrayals of evolution offer little to celebrate. In fact, these limited understandings lead to various forms of existential angst, which in turn leaves people vulnerable to helplessness, depression and anxiety.
In contrast to these ideas, the information in this web site draws from the the most up to date evidence, which gives us a richer, more nuanced and more comprehensive view of evolution. Many recent discoveries offer a more accurate view of reality so that we may live more in harmony with this reality. And this is reason to celebrate!
Celebrating dialog between science and religion
If you listen to the “news” you might believe that all religions are at odds with science. Like other “fake news” this is not a reflection of reality. The reality is that religions, like everything else in the universe, are evolving, and more and more religious people are embracing and celebrating the Epic of Evolution. Science and religion are two complementary projects helping people become the fullest expressions of themselves. To paraphrase Galileo, “Religion shows the way to go to heaven and science shows the way the heavens go.”
To help you make sense of the relationship between science and religion, this site provides a clearinghouse of links to sites that foster dialog between evolution and religion. More and more religious people are exploring and discussing spirituality in the light of evolution.
FLOURISH IN THE FUTURE
The main goal of this web site is to help each person flourish in the future. Understanding the past lets us understand principles that can guide us in creating an optimal future.
Already, an evolutionary worldview is helping people flourish, on personal and planetary levels. On the personal scale, the light of evolution is transforming the fields of nutrition, exercise, medicine and psychology to enhance and prolong people’s lives. On the planetary scale, evolutionary science is helping us avoid meteors and mitigate and ease the effects of climate change.
For example, the Paleo Diet is one of the fastest growing diets. By understand how people evolved, scientists have learned principles of nutrition to help reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes, auto immune disease, obesity and dementia.
Another example is in the field of psychology and neuroscience. In the light of evolution, we know that many of our behaviors are subconscious and evolved to help our ancestors survive when food was scarce or we were the food. Many of these same behaviors cause us problems today. We eat for the famines that never come, and become obese. Our “fight or flight” reflexes are triggered when there is no real danger. In the light of evolution we can be free of our inherent drives to overeat and to over-worry.
Collectively, the Epic of Evolution helps us flourish in the future. We know that what killed the dinosaurs will not kill us. Humans now have the technology to deflect incoming asteroids, thereby saving sentient life on Earth.
Yet great challenges remain. Thanks to insights from the Epic of Evolution, we know that the climate on Earth is always changing and at times, has not been ideal for human life. With this information, we are able to find solutions to insuring an optimal climate.
“We cannot save our planet unless humankind undergoes a widespread spiritual and religious awakening.”
~ Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest,
At the heart of this awakening is an inspiring and accurate evolutionary worldview.
The Epic of Evolution is everybody’s story. This web site is for everyone who is curious about where they came from and where they may be going. The Epic of Evolution is a creation story for people of all philosophies and religions. This Epic is for those who claim faith in a higher power as well as for those who do not and for those who are not sure. It’s to learn about the grandest of stories, from the Big Bang to the evolution of life to the emergence of our culture to the ascent of consciousness.
I am Cathy McGowan Russell, weaver of this web. I earned a Ph.D. by researching the role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution. I am passionate about promoting the Epic of Evolution because understanding this story has given me hope and happiness that I want to share. “Everything makes sense in the light of evolution.” (This is a paraphase of Theodosius Dobzhansky, the prominent evolutionary biologist.)
My goal is to inspire a hopeful vision for thriving in the future and in taking steps to make that vision a reality. Knowledge of the past offers reasons to celebrate the present and clues to flourish in the future. (more about Cathy )
Cathy, the curator of this site, pointing to iridium layer deposited 65 million years ago. This iridium was from an asteroid that smashed into planet Earth, killing off the dinosaurs. So why is Cathy smiling? Because she knows that, thanks to human knowledge, imagination and ingenuity, what killed the dinosaurs will not kill us. She is hopeful, because human imagination and resourcefulness continues to lift the living conditions of people around the world. People liberated from starvation, disease and security threats will help solve global climate change, prevent species extinction and usher in a sustainable and joy-filled world.