Optimistic Evolutionist

3 May 1999 7:00 pm

Today is the birthday of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French paleontologist and philosopher born in 1881. He is known for his provocative writings asserting that humankind is evolving, mentally and socially, toward a final spiritual unity he called the Omega Point.

Teilhard made a major scientific expedition to Asia in the 1920s, contributing knowledge about the region's geology and fossil history, and helped discover the skull of Peking Man in 1929. Although he wrote much about mammalian paleontology, Chardin was also a Jesuit priest and received the most attention for the philosophical works he wrote in this period--The Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu--published in 1955 and 1957 just after his death. Believing that Christian thought could be combined with modern science, Teilhard argued that humans will "evolve" a single global society.

[Source: Britannica Online]