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Jesuit Philosopher and Paleontologist Struggles with Beliefs in Evolution
The Jesuit and the Skill is a thought provoking biography of the famous Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, well known for his part in the discovery of the Peking Man. Teilhard's integration of evolution and modern science into Catholic belief led to a lifelong controversy with church officials and exile from his French homeland to silence his influence. Paradoxically, when Teilhard was exiled to China, he became key to the discovery of the Peking Man fossil, establishing the existence of early man. In a simple straightforward manner, Aczel summarized Teilhard's philosophy of human development and the future of evolutionary convergence to the concept of the Omega Point. Thoughts of Teilhard on the "moment in human development at which hominids became rational beings" was intriguing. In spite of his tribulations with the Catholic church, he remained a Jesuit priest to the end. His books and writings were published posthumously in order to follow the church decree. He died in exile in New York City in 1955.
I recommend this book for a life well-lived with its philosophical controversies, the mystery of the missing Peking Man bones, and the heroism of being a modern man in religion. People struggling with the concept of evolution today would do well to read this book.
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Posted January 8, 2012
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