The idea of evolution is the most life-changing concept to have emerged in modern times, but most people know of it only in fragments. The evolution of the universe, of planet Earth, of life and of human culture is a truly breathtaking story that can be told in many ways. In one continuous story this book combines cosmological and biological evolution with the subsequent development of human thought made possible by the emergence of language.
Sir Lloyd shows that the commonly supposed conflict between religion and science arises from a failure to appreciate the role of what he calls the ‘human thought world’. The realm of the gods, created by human imagination, was the ancients’ way of understanding nature. For them it was both their science and their religion. By sketching the history of ‘God’, Lloyd shows that the centrality of this idea provided an essential premise for the emergence of empirical science.
This has enabled the human species to dominate planet Earth and usurp roles once attributed to God. The story of evolution helps us understand the past — but the future of the human race now rests on our shoulders.