“Pope Francis’ May 24, 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, on the state of the earth’s environment and humanity’s responsibility for action, represents a growing transformational shift in the relationship between science, social justice, progressive secularism, and religious consciousness.
“On the scientific front, a new book from Yale University Press/ Templeton’s “Foundational Questions in Science” series, Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes and the Welfare of Others, by David Sloan Wilson, articulates a fascinating new paradigm from evolutionary biology that ties in with this broader transformational shift. In it, Wilson differentiates between natural selection for individuals and natural selection at what is called the “group”, or “multi-level.” While at an individual level, natural selection often operates in a selfish, survival-of-the-fittest fashion, at the group level (think of group dynamics within larger eco-systems), it selects for structures and processes that serve the well being of the whole, and not self-interest groups. In other words, evolution is trending toward a world that works for all. This is a radical reversal of standard evolutionary understanding, with grave consequences for how we function at the societal level in groups, including economically, politically, religiously, and so on.
“…Evolutionary science will be painting, for the first time in history, the view of an evolutionary process friendly to the actions of sacred and secular activism for real transformative change.”
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