John Stewart is a member of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition Research Group, at the The Free University of Brussels. He is also the author of Evolution's Arrow, a book on the evolution of cooperation as a scientific process.
Here’s the introductory part of the Evolutionary Manifesto which was written on June 6, 2008:
John Stewart :
“A completely new phase in the evolution of life on Earth has begun. It will change everything.
In this new phase evolution will be driven intentionally, by humanity. The evolutionary worldview that emerges from an understanding of our role in the new phase has the potential to transform the nature of human existence.
At present humanity is lost. We don’t know what we are doing here. We are without a worldview that can point to our place and purpose in the universe and that can also withstand rational scrutiny.
But this difficult period is coming to an end. The emergence of the new evolutionary worldview is beginning to lift us out of the abyss. The new worldview has a unique capacity to reveal who we are and what we should be doing with our lives. It relies solely on scientific knowledge and reason to identify our critical role in future evolution. The evolutionary worldview can unite us in a great common enterprise, and provide meaning and purpose for human existence.
At the heart of the evolutionary worldview is the fact that evolution has a trajectory—it heads in a particular direction. However, evolution on Earth will not advance beyond a certain point unless it is driven consciously and intentionally. If this transition to intentional evolution does not occur, evolution on this planet will stall, and humanity will not contribute positively to the future evolution of life in the universe—we will be a failed evolutionary experiment.
It is as if evolution is a developmental process. Just as a human embryo is organized to develop through a number of stages to produce an adult, evolution tends to produce a particular sequence of outcomes of increasing complexity. Initially, evolution moves in this direction of its own accord. However, at a particular point evolution will continue to advance only if certain conditions are met: organisms must emerge that awaken to the possibility that they are living in the midst of a developmental process; they must realize that the continued success of the process depends on them; and they must commit to actively moving the process forward.
Across the planet at the beginning of the twenty first century, individuals are beginning to realize the importance of the transition to intentional evolution. They know that they themselves have a significant role to play if the transition is to be completed successfully.
This role requires them to promote the new evolutionary worldview that will drive the transition. It also calls on them to begin to remake themselves and their societies in whatever ways are necessary to advance the evolutionary process. Their efforts, powered by the capacity of the evolutionary worldview to invest their lives with direction and purpose, will bring forth a great wave of evolutionary activism that will change life on this planet forever.
Evolutionary activists use the trajectory of evolution to identify what they need to do to advance evolution. Socially, the next great step in human evolution is the emergence of a unified and sustainable global society. Psychologically, the next step is to free our behavior from the dictates of our biological and cultural past, so that we can do that which is necessary for future evolutionary success.
The organization of a cooperative global society is an urgent priority. With it, the threats of world war and global warming can be easily managed. Without it, human civilization may end this century.
The Evolutionary Manifesto is an intentional attempt to promote the shift to conscious evolution and the evolutionary activism that will drive it. To read, discuss and circulate the Manifesto is to participate in a great evolutionary transition on this planet.
Part 1 of the Manifesto provides an overview of the shift to intentional evolution and of the worldview that is motivating individuals to actively promote the transition. Parts 2 and 3 begin by identifying the trajectory of evolution and showing that its directionality is produced by processes that are fully understandable within mainstream science, without resort to teleology or mysticism. They go on to use the trajectory of evolution to identify the agendas that guide evolutionary activists in their attempts to advance the evolutionary process. In particular, Part 2 deals with our future social evolution and Part 3 with the future evolution of our adaptability, intelligence and creativity.
Part 4 of the Manifesto explores the power of the evolutionary worldview to provide meaning and direction for human existence. It demonstrates the capacity of the worldview to make evolutionary activism the most significant political force on the planet. In particular, it shows that philosophical arguments such as the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ do not diminish the force of the evolutionary worldview presented by the Manifesto.” (http://www.evolutionarymanifesto.com/)