To fully understand the present, we must approach it from the past. Although we are awash in a continuous torrent of news, the world of today is only the last frame in an astronomically long movie. How can we view the whole picture?
Traditional world history books only trace our past from the earliest civilizations. A curious reader will wonder, “Where did those civilizations come from?” On the other extreme, natural history books about the origins of life and the universe leave us wondering, “Then what happened?!” Both approaches skip millions or billions of years. Time is so deep that a linear timeline narrative is impossible. Authors are forced to choose a time scale … until now.
The Evolution of Human is the first history book to explicitly adopt a logarithmic structure. Each chapter represents a power of ten years. This format allows TEoH to present a continuous narrative from the big bang to big data in just ten chapters. The chapters are numbered in reverse. Chapter 10 opens with the big bang and other important events of the last ten billion years. The last chapter, Chapter 1, summarizes the highlights of the last few decades up to the 2010s. The first five chapters closely follow our animal and pre-animal ancestors as they evolve the bodies and behavior at the base of human nature. Midway through the book, the human spark is lit with language and higher learning. The latter five chapters track human culture, civilizations, and belief systems as people struggle to understand the world and each other.
Researched like a thesis but written like a narrative, TEoH tells our story from an AWESOME perspective: Agnostic / Atheist, Worldly, Existential, Scientific / Statistical, Objective, Moderate, and Educated. The factual sequence of events is accompanied by philosophical commentary. The result is a complete telling of what happened, when, and why it matters.
TEoH is guided by a number of objectives that make it unique among history books:
- Present current, well-vetted academic research to a general audience.
- Address imbalances among time scales that have been under-represented or over-represented in popular awareness.
- Suggest the topics that every educated person should know in passing.
- Focus on the path to “human”, emphasizing Earth and proto-human ancestors more than black holes, dinosaurs, and other gee-whiz side stories.
- Discuss the interplay between objective reality and subjective human beliefs.
- Escape the “good guys vs. bad guys” slant on history.
- Provide perspective to interpret and question today’s institutions, from individual privacy to globalization.
- Try to help religious and scientific people understand each other.
- Take history right up to the present.
Whether your primary interest is science, history, sociology, economics, philosophy, or current events, this book will address matters of concern to you. In fact, it is the whole picture that ties them all together — all in one easily readable volume.
A few more words from the writer
Hi, my name is Scot, and I researched and wrote this book. I’m an ordinary person like most of you. I am neither rich, nor famous, nor an academic, nor a professional author. I wrote this book to answer my own questions and to understand my own brief life before it’s over. I conceived the logarithmic history idea in 2007 and wrote TEoH mostly in the 2010s. In 2020, I am incorporating feedback from lay- and expert-readers.
The only thing harder than writing a history of the universe is getting it published! I will likely post it to Amazon in 2021. This online manuscript is free for an indefinite time while there is no published form. You can download each chapter on PDF or read it here.
A “Chapter 0” would cover just the last few years. Since that is less than the life cycle of a book, I will maintain Chapter 0 as a blog-only chapter, an ongoing series of essays about current events. Essays about older chapters may also be relevant as our understanding of history shifts. “Margin Notes” for each chapter will be devoted to current discoveries about past events and connections from the past to the present. Over the course of my lifetime, I hope to expand each chapter into its own book.
Citing sources is one of my main concerns. However, I don’t like reading a book when citations keep getting in the way. My solution is to make them discreetly. When you see a faint superscript number, 2 clicking it will take you to an “endnote” at the bottom of the page, with a reference to my source. When you see a big bold number, 1 hover over it to make a “footnote” appear, an interesting side comment. Hovering over a lightly highlighted word will open up a glossary entry. To search for any word throughout the site, return to this “Welcome” page and enter it in the search bar at lower left.
I hope that I can use this site to connect with people of similar interests and have some great discussions. If you enjoy what you see here, I would be grateful if you contacted me and referred your friends. You may leave comments on any page / post. Note the like / share buttons at the bottom of each page. There are also social network buttons at the bottom of this page to follow or stay in touch with me. Please consider joining the AWESOME thought Facebook group.
Enough about me! Scroll back up to the menu bar to get started. I’d recommend reading the Front Matter page first. This website is mobile-friendly, but for the best presentation of all the images, I would recommend viewing it on a tablet or full-sized monitor.
Background image: Stockli, Simmons, et al, public domain, attributions here.
- Hourglass image: Pixabay License, free for commercial use, no attribution required, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/hourglass-medieval-4578285/ (accessed and archived 3/08/20). ↩
- Like this, usually with a link to an outside reference . ↩
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