A Broader View of Evolution

When most people think of Evolution, they think of Biological Evolution, and the evolution of different species in particular.  Biological Evolution is defined as the process by which successive generations of organisms change and develop from their ancestral organisms.

But simpler kinds of Evolution also took place in astrophysics, in geology, and in chemistry before life evolved, and they still happen in those arenas today.  An example of this simpler form of evolution is the chemical combination of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O) to make water (H2O).

Another example is the chemical combination of sodium (Na), a metal that explodes on contact with water, and chlorine (Cl), a poisonous gas, to make sodium chloride (NaCl), which is common table salt – a compound that is necessary for human life (although many modern humans take in too much salt with their food).  In this example, two chemical elements that are each very harmful to humans combine to make a chemical compound that is actually necessary to our lives.  (“The Whole is different than the Sum of its Parts.”)

Our broader definition of Evolution also extends outward to cover Cultural Evolution and Technological Evolution. An example of Cultural Evolution is the creation of the English language from the intermingling of Briton, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman French.  An example of Technological Evolution is how telephones changed over time to become cellphones. 

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