Chardin is colossal

that title is sarcastic, as this blogpost notes, Chardin loves hyperbole. The post links to the Peter Medawar critique of one of Chardin’s most famous works. To the many people who have and will come to this forum and spout profundities about what god is, or the nature of the universe, I wish I could simply link to this article and be done with them. Or, I wish I had the time, and okay, maybe the talent to write such wonderful responses to the ridiculous.

I feel a little better knowing that Richard Dawkins was taken in by Chardin decades ago, and it was this very critique that made him realize his mistake. So, many thanks to those who have dealt with this before.

Was it only yesterday I read this, seems a couple days ago, well in any event I read this, and visited the link, read the content and liked it, thanks for the link, .

In 1961, in the philosophical journal Mind, Medawar reviewed Teilhard’s book. The review is unique in eviscerating both the book and its audience. Medawar begins:

It is a book widely held to be of the utmost profundity and significance … Yet the greater part of it … is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. The Phenomenon of Man cannot be read without a feeling of suffocation, a gasping and flailing around for sense.

I could really relate to that, in younger years, and especially in Germany and Switzerland, during my three years there, I heard so much stuff that sounded impressive, but actually chew on it, try to live or think it, as philosophized and it fell apart. Besides, I was already cynical, being the guy who had to get back to work, no safety net for me.

Quoting Medawar:

And here is a typical incomprehensible paragraph:

Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct tract marked on the heart of the element by the psychical converge of the universe upon itself.’ ‘Man discovers that he is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself,’ and evolution is ‘nothing else than the continual growth of. … ‘psychic’ or ‘radial’ energy’. Again, ‘the Christogenesis of St Paul and St John is nothing else and nothing less than the extension … of that noogenesis in which cosmogenesis … culminates.

This may be profound—if only we knew what he was talking about. Medawar also felt this kind of writing appealed to the scientifically illiterate and the credulous. …

Lots to talk about, but it’s a discussion I’d need to spend some time preparing for. That article had many good links. It’s been so long time since I’ve been actively interested me.

So many sources, so little time.


Oh, I really like that, but WTF, “nothing less”? It’s only the most outrageously fantastical stories, that is our evolution and its significance to who we are, and the world we live in.
There’s a lot of fun stuff inside the notion. And there are reasons why such an attitude would make us more aware of the environment we are so dependent on.