Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

1881-1955. Roman Catholic Jesuit priest and paleontologist who advocated an evolutionary hypothesis that synthesized modern science and traditional Christian theology. Marie-Joseph-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born in Sarcenat, France, and after study at the Jesuit College of Mongré, Jersey and Hastings, he was ordained in 1911. His work at the Museum of Paris as a paleontologist was interrupted by the war, during which he served as a stretcher- bearer. He subsequently finished his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne in 1922 and soon departed for China to serve as a consultant to the geological survey where he was associated with the discoveries of Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus. He returned from China after World War II, but his teachings and ideas concerning cosmogenesis (that the world develops according to a law of increasing complexity and consciousness until the appearance of man) and Christogenesis (that the process converges in a rhythm of hypersocialization toward an Omega point) led his order to prohibit him from accepting a professorial chair at the Collège de France and from publishing The Phenomenon of Man. He moved to the USA and spent his last years working with the Wenner- Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research in New York.

Teilhard's ability as paleontologist was never questioned, and his more than 170 articles and technical papers declare his ability. However, his desire to incorporate the total knowledge of man into the understanding of the phenomenology of man led to controversy. His ideas bear some striking similarities to process philosophy.

See C. Cuénot, Teilhard de Chardin (1962), and C.E. Raven, Teilhard de Chardin: Scientist and Seer (1963).