Evolution: A Big History Perspective
This issue of the almanac aims at filling the gap in the mega-evolutionary research. The Editors believe that the present Almanac, which brings together scientists working in different areas of the vast evolutionary field, will hopefully make a contribution to this process.The contributions to this volume are subdivided into three sections:‘Universal Evolution’, ‘Biological and Social Forms of Evolution: Connections and Comparisons’, and ‘Aspects of Social Evolution’. Subjects and issues of the contributions to all three sections have a great deal in common and significantly supplement each other.
A macroevolutionary approach and the new field of Big History seek to develop an inclusive view of the Cosmos, Earth, life and humanity by erasing boundaries between disciplines. Big History is a versatile study that brings together constantly updated information from Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Anthropology, Psychology and other scientific disciplines, and then merges it with the contemplative realms of Philosophy and the Humanities. Big History evolved from the academic need to transcend the straight-jacket of university disciplines in the early 20th century, beginning with subjects like Biochemistry and Astrophysics (Christian and McNeill 2008; Rodrigue and Stasko 2011).
Comparison of biological and social macro-evolution is a very important issue, but it has been studied insufficiently. Yet, analysis suggests new promising possibilities to deepen our understanding of the course, trends, mechanisms and peculiarities of the biological and social phases of Big History. This article analyzes similarities and differences between two phases of Big History at various levels and in various aspects. It compares biological and social organisms, mechanisms of evolutionary selection, transitions to qualitatively new states, processes of key information transmission, and fixation of acquired characteristics. It also considers a number of pre-adaptations that contributed to the transformation of Big History's biological phase into its social phase and analyzes some lines of such a transformation.