704 pages, 67 b/w illustrations
Specialist scientific fields are developing at incredibly swift speeds, but what can they really tell us about how the universe began, and how we humans evolved to play such a dominant role on Earth? John Hands's extraordinarily ambitious quest is to bring together this scientific knowledge and evaluate without bias or preconception all the theories and evidence about the origin and evolution of matter, life, consciousness, and humankind.
This astonishing book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism. In the clearest possible prose it differentiates the firmly established from the speculative and examines the claims of various fields such as string theory to approach a unified theory of everything. In doing so it challenges the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. Its striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that lead to the unique emergence in humans of a self-reflective consciousness that enables us to determine our future evolution.
This groundbreaking book is destined to become a classic of scientific thinking.
"A magisterial, persuasive and thought provoking survey of the horizons of modern science."
– Dr James Le Fanu, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine
"John Hands is an astute observer of recent trends in scientific ideas bold enough to point out what he sees as sense and nonsense and intelligently explain why. Even in cases where one might disagree, the arguments are thought-provoking"
– Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science, Princeton University
"It often takes an outsider to see the limitations of conventional science. As far as biological evolution is concerned, John Hands has done a remarkable job of disentangling the many topics that are long overdue for reinterpretation. The enormous effort he has made to cover so many evolutionary questions is heroic. That is the first step to making progress. A major accomplishment."
– Professor James Shapiro, author of Evolution: A View From The 21st Century
"Hands's book is a game-changer. In the tradition of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, this lucidly written, penetrating analysis challenges us to rethink many things we take for granted about ourselves, our society, and our universe. It will become a classic."
– Peter Dreier, E P Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College
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John Hands has devoted more than ten years to evaluating scientific theories about human evolution from the origin of the universe. He graduated in chemistry from the University of London and co-authored two research studies and published one book in the social sciences. He was the founding Director of the Government's Co-operative Housing Agency and served on three Government committees. He has tutored in both physics and management studies for the Open University and was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at University College London. He has written three novels and been published in eight countries.