Blog - News story: COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands will transform our understanding of why we exist


COSMOSAPIENS: Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe, a ground-breaking book that transforms our understanding of what we are, where we came from, and why we exist, is published on 5 November.

John Hands has devoted more than 10 years to evaluating what we know from scientific evidence—as distinct from speculation or belief—about how and why we evolved from the beginning of the universe and whether what we are makes us different from all other animals.  His book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism.

John was surprised to discover that current observational and experimental evidence contradicts many scientific theories he had thought were well established, such as the Big Bang theory for the creation of the universe.  Attempts to fix the theory by introducing arbitrary terms into Einstein’s equations of general relativity are pure speculation.  Similarly, many principles of NeoDarwinism—the modern synthesis of Darwin’s ideas of natural selection and the survival of the fittest with the mathematical theories of population genetics—are now held as unshakeable beliefs despite a growing body of contradictory evidence.

But COSMOSAPIENS does more than challenge the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma.  John’s striking analysis of the evidence leads him to conclude that, uniquely as far as we know, we humans are the unfinished product of a cosmic evolutionary process and the conscious agents of our future evolution.

Although controversial, COSMOSAPIENS has been praised by leading scientists and philosophers.  Tim Crane, Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, pronounces it ‘a truly exceptional piece of work.’  Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University, comments that ‘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.’  Professor Francis Heylighen, says ‘The approach is refreshingly agnostic…in a clear and readable language…highly recommended.’  Professor Peter Dreier calls it ‘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.’