Re: [asa] Cosmological Evolution?

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Thu Dec 28 2006 - 10:38:22 EST

At 09:13 AM 12/28/2006, George Murphy wrote:

>& of course one needs to know what Teilhard meant by "pantheist" &
>in particular whether when he spoke of his views in that way he
>meant the same thing the critic means. E.g., in his essay
>"Pantheism and Christianity" he rejects "heterodox forms of the
>pantheist impulse" such as "Spinozism, Hegelianism or
>theosophy." If we're to use terms in the way theologians use them
>today I think "panentheism" would be a more accurate
>characterization of Teilhard's views, whatever word he may have used. ~ George

@ That is also the opinion of the book reviewer whose comments I
posted to you yesterday:

On 12/27/2006 @ 6:34 PM Janice Matchett wrote: [excerpted]

Reviewer: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a Jesuit
priest and a paleontologist ... Though Teilhard thought of himself in
pantheistic terms, I believe he would be better described as a
"Pan'en'theist". Panentheism according to Charles Hartshorne is the
belief that God is greater than the sum of God's parts. For the
Pantheist Nature is God. For the Panentheist Nature is a part of God. ...."

>In any case the term I originally objected to for him was
>"biocentrist" & that's certainly inaccurate. While Teilhard
>certainly saw humanity as part of nature, in union with it &c, he
>certainly thought that "hominization" was an advance on earlier
>forms of life. ~ George

@ If you had carefully read what I wrote, you would have noticed
that I was talking about the mentalities who embrace
Biocentrism. Here again is what I wrote: on 12/27/06:

Excerpt: ~ Janice ... who would bet the farm that those who buy
into this Cosmogenesis theory are the same sorts of "Greenie"
mentalities who embrace Biocentrism (the belief that all life, or
even the whole universe living or otherwise taken as a whole, is
equally valuable and humanity is not the center of existence. Hence,
humanity is no more valuable than say, mice. )

So you see, I never said he was a biocentrist. What I did say was
that Greenie mentalities of various weak and strong stripes
(pantheists/panenthiests/Gaias,etc.) would be very likely to view him
as "one of their own".

I can back that up, by the way: 11/20/2006:

~ Janice .....

At 08:24 AM 12/27/2006, Gregory Arago wrote:

>Could someone at this ASA list please provide a definition or link
>to a definition of 'cosmological evolution'? My curiosity connects
>with a comment I made earlier this year: "Frivolously applying
>'evolution,' for example, to societies, runs the danger of
>reductionism, just as raising biological ideas to cosmological
>explanations suffers from idealistically inappropriate
>transferability." It would seem that the way a theist speaks about
>'cosmological evolution' would be dramatically different from the
>way a non-theist speaks about it. Or is this not so? Would it be
>inaccurate to say that theistic theories of cosmological evolution
>are likewise "shrouding in scientific words" their own particular
>interpretations of God's creation? ~ Arago

@ It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that in many cases, I'm
sure. You may have had more luck if you had used search words like
Cosmogenesis or Gaia philosophy or Gaia "science" :)

For instance:

Cosmogenesis - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a Jesuit
priest-theologian and a distinguished geologist-paleontologist

"..The main thrust of Teilhard's gnosis was a foundational
understanding of the Universe, which was expressed in his theory of
Cosmogenesis. According to Teilhard, the universe is no longer to be
considered a static order, but rather a universe __in process__. And
it is a continuing, upslope trajectory of evolution that Teilhard
declares a cosmogenesis. The process of Teilhard's holistic cosmos is
broken into the following categories: the Without and Within of
things; the evolution of matter, life, consciousness; and the Omega Point. ..

"..As Teilhard said, "the universe is no longer an Order but a
Process. The Cosmos has become a Cosmogenesis." For Teilhard the long
dreamed-of-higher life, that which has been considered as holy, had
hitherto been sought Above now directs itself toward the Ahead. ...
The Ahead is present in the cyclical process of the universe. ...

Teilhard especially considers that the deeply engrained notion of
*original sin* "translates, personifies...the perennial and universal
law of imperfection which operates in mankind in virtue of its being
in the process of becoming." ...the creature... along with the in process. ...Teilhard notes that "Evil, in all its
forms...injustice, inequality, suffering, death...ceases
theoretically to be outrageous from the moment when *Evolution
becoming a Genesis*... displays itself as the...price of an *immense
triumph.*" ...For Teilhard, the tragic, real evil in this life occurs
when humanity fails to acquire a sense of the true value of the universe. ...

..Using Teilhardian language: the "process cannot achieve stability
until, over the entire globe, the human quantum has not merely closed
the circle upon itself... but has become organically totalized." Only
through collectivization (collective cooperation) can humanity
achieve this total, planetary development of the noosphere. It cannot
be built by people who think only of themselves; yet every person "on
earth shares, in (*hirself*), in the universal heightening of
consciousness." And finally, using anthropomorphic terms, Teilhard
believes that the noosphere is not only the "stuff of the
Universe...not only of *men,* but of the *Man* who is to be born
tomorrow." And through the efforts of humanity building the
noosphere, the earth "finds its soul." .."

~ Janice ... who would bet the farm that those who buy into this
Cosmogenesis theory are the same sorts of "Greenie" mentalities who
embrace Biocentrism (the belief that all life, or even the whole
universe living or otherwise taken as a whole, is equally valuable
and humanity is not the center of existence. Hence, humanity is no
more valuable than say, mice. )

>----- Original Message -----
>From: <>Janice Matchett
>To: <>George Murphy ;
><>Gregory Arago ;
>Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 9:10 PM
>Subject: Re: [asa] Cosmological Evolution?
>At 08:18 PM 12/27/2006, George Murphy wrote:
>>Yeah, there's a lot wrong with Teilhard's views - which wasn't
>>entirely his fault. (If you're not allowed to publish your
>>theological ideas, you're not going to get the criticism you
>>need.) Nevertheless, characterizing him as a "pantheist" or a
>>"biocentrist" is inaccurate. ..."
>@ In 1954, shortly before he died, Teilhard wrote to a friend, "I
>am essentially pantheist in my thinking and in my temperament."
>He characterized himself as a pantheist, I didn't. More:
>Pantheist [God is all and in all.]
>"All around us, to right and left, in front and behind, above and
>below, we have only to go a little beyond the frontier of sensible
>appearances in order to see the divine welling up and showing
>through. But it is not only close to us, in front of us, that the
>divine presence has revealed itself. It has sprung up universally,
>and we find ourselves so surrounded and transfixed by it, that there
>is no room left to fall down and adore it, even within ourselves."
>Teilhard de Chardin
>Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) - French evolutionary
>scientist and Catholic mystic who held panentheistic and pantheistic
>ideas. Ordained as a priest in 1913, his belief in evolution and
>his rejection of dogma led to ecclesiastical expulsion. Writer
>Charles Henderson states that Teilhard found "the primary source of
>religious the material world rather than in the
>magisterium of the Church. "Evolution," said Teilhard, "is a
>general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems
>must bow, and which they must satisfy if they are to be thinkable
>and true," In his view, after the successive emergence of the
>lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, came the
>"noosphere" (from the Greek 'nous' meaning 'mind'), with the
>evolution of human consciousness. Through collective consciousness,
>he envisioned humanity in spiritual union with the universe. In
>1954, shortly before he died, Teilhard wrote to a friend, "I am
>essentially pantheist in my thinking and in my

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Received on Thu Dec 28 10:39:25 2006

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