Applying natural selection theory to the sociocultural domain has been successful. It gave rise to new fields such as evolutionary epistemology, psychology, linguistics, and archeo-anthropology. Biologists today however demonstrate that natural selection theory alone is insufficient to explain all aspects of biological evolution. Symbiogenesis, punctuated equilibria, drift theory and epigenetics provide major insights into how life evolved. We want to examine how these theories can be extended to sociocultural evolution. As requested by the Templeton Foundation, the current proposal delineates a pilot-program of a larger project. The one-year program is distinguishable into research, curricula formation and dissemination. 1. A permanent academic staff will, in collaboration with visiting scholars, conduct and report on research on how biological micro- and macroevolutionary theories can be implemented in the sociocultural domain. Emphasis will lie on how punctuated equilibria theory, drift theory, symbiogenetic and lateral gene transfer theory, can provide conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and scientific visualizations to comprehend, quantify and model sociocultural evolution. 2. Erudition will be cultivated by the organization of an International Winter School on Evolution. Visiting staff will teach 18 courses on biological and sociocultural evolution for international master, PhD and post-doctoral students. The visiting staff will also contribute introductory articles of their courses that will be published in multiple Proceedings, collected in a New Book Series. 3. Three dissemination activities are planned. (a) A 3-day International Conference for academics on Horizontal and Vertical, Micro- and Macro-Evolutionary Patterns in Biology and Sociocultural Sciences, with multiple proceedings. (b) A public conference (video recordings of the talks will be made available online). (c) A science day for high school students.
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