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Synopsis

This book reviews a Naturalistic worldview based on a scientifi c understanding of the world and the broad perspective of cosmic evolution. We are the product of a long evolutionary process that has been marked by four pivotal events: the Big-Bang, the appearance of life, the emergence of mind and the evolution of culture. The issue of whether or not the universe had a beginning remains undefi ned. The origin of life from inanimate matter also remains undefi ned, but the evolution of life forms by natural selection is supported by many lines of evidence. The origin of mind and consciousness can be traced to the evolution of neurons in multicellular animals. These cells have numerous extensions capable of forming connections and infl uencing the function of distantly located cells. Most scientists adopt a monist physicalist view and reject the existence of substance dualism. Evolutionary psychology holds that human nature is the result of our genes and their interaction with the environment. Aided by their superior cognitive abilities, and by the transmission of knowledge, modern humans have created a rich culture. Because we can not prove that everything is physical, it is better to reject Ontologic Naturalism and embrace Methodological Naturalism. This worldview has an ethical, social and political dimension, best described by Planetary Humanism, a form of humanism that is not anthropocentric and is global and ecologic in scope.

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