Re: [asa] Nothing_in_Biology_Makes_Sense_Except_in_the_Light_of_Evolution

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Aug 15 2009 - 19:59:06 EDT

Gregory -

As my earlier question shows, I don't consider myself an expert on Teilhard,
though I've read & studied a good deal of his stuff. If I were to write
anything further
specifically on his views it would probably have to do with ecclesiology
&/or worship. I've already written some things in these areas - e.g., and & don't have more in
that vein on my agenda right now.

Though there are similarities between Whitehead & Teilhard, there are also
important differences, not least among them the fact that Teilhard was a
Christian & Whitehead wasn't. There's a big difference between a Christian
theology that uses Whitehead's philosophy (as earlier generations used Plato
or Aristotle) & a Teilhardian theology that implies a philosophy. As I
already said, it's easy to miss the very traditional RC elements in
Teilhard's thought - & those are, in fact, some of the parts of it that I've
found most interesting.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Gregory Arago" <>
To: "Bill Powers" <>; "George Murphy" <>
Cc: "David Campbell" <>; <>
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:55 PM
Subject: Re: [asa]

George wrote: "I suspect, though I've never checked this out, that Bergson
had some influence on him [Teilhard]."

From H. James Birx's "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Philosophy of Evolution.”
(Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1972): “Teilhard [had] read Henri Bergon’s
Creative Evolution (1907). The work had a profound influence on Teilhard’s
thought. No longer able to hold to the orthodox Biblical account of Genesis
, he adopted an evolutionary perspective. Within a scientific and religious
framework, Teilhard now viewed the entire universe as an evolutionary
process, referring to it as a cosmogenesis." (5)

Birx follows this up, saying: “After Bergson’s profound influence on
Teilhard, the latter accepted an evolutionary perspective.” (57)

Hope that helps, George! At least that is Birx's view. The connections
between Bergson and Teilhard seem obvious in several ways, though they
differed significantly due to worldviews.

But I keep waiting for you to write an article about Teilhard de Chardin
(and perhaps Dobzhansky too) in the context of 'process theology' and how it
is not as bad as some make it out to be, as you are fond of saying. Do you
think something like this could be on your agenda anytime soon? I know you
don't take the label TE or perhaps many other labels. Still this would help
to set some things clear which remain obscure. And writing about Chardin
would allow you to address the topic of processes alongside origins, which
to me is a duo that is almost entirely confused (it even seems almost
purposefully so) in the language of 'theistic evolution.'

If this happens I'll meet you there, George, with the views of process
philosopy and A.N. Whitehead. And hopefully others could enlighten us about
Henri Bergson's role in the forming of TE as well, since it sometimes seems
that non-TEs know much more about the 'originality' of TE as a perspective
than do TEs themselves (e.g. so rarely do they discuss Dobzhansky, Chardin,
Bergson, Whitehead, et al.). Vladimir Solovyov is an excellent addition to
this company as well and one of the most significant Christian writers of
the 20th century, no dispute. But I don't suppose his views are widely
circulated or known in ASA. They should be. Reference: "The Philosophical
Principles of Integral Knowledge." (Eerdmans 2008 [1877]) He has some
important things to say about 'development' in the context of western
rationalism and scientism and the mystic gifts of Eastern thought in the
Christian world.

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Received on Sat, 15 Aug 2009 19:59:06 -0400

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