[extropy-chat] Transhumanism: Teilhard de Chardin - Truth or Dare

natashavita at earthlink.net natashavita at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 31 21:50:00 UTC 2003

From: Damien Broderick 

From: <natashavita at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 2:49 PM

>> One such provoking and erudite thinker is Teilhard de Chardin.

>I, for one, was moved by his Omega Point notion in the early 1960s, when I
>was still a fervent if unorthodox Catholic. I must have been one of the
>first people to read THE PHENOMENON OF MAN in English. However...

>>(de Chardin)

>[BTW, that's NOT his name, as the other citations show. It's properly
>shortened to Teilhard, not to de Chardin or Chardin.]

I was thinking along the line of da Vinci.  Well, not exactly thinking
along the same line, but you know what I mean :-)

>>"It is perhaps not surprising that a leading advocate of Darwinism,
>>Jay Gould, has gone to work on Teilhard. Writing vehemently and
>>dogmatically, like the guardian of an established religion, Gould asserts
>>that Teilhard's whole enterprise is illegitimate: Teilhard's essential
>>insights are incompatible with science.

>`Guardian of established religion' my foot. Gould, and more impressively
>still Sir Peter Medawar, showed why Teilhard's teleological and God-dragged
>model of evolution is just plain incompatible with random mutation and
>natural selection. It's a form of divine Lamarckism. It *could* have been
>true, in some other universe; it might even be true to some extent in a
>Tiplerian Omega Point universe. But it doesn't jibe with what science has
>learned to date about how evolution works.

>>I don't think we need [religious dogma].  I think we need more love and
>>story-telling, poetry, imagination, laughter, fun and companionship, not
>>religious mysticism[.]

>Right on, as we said back then, or a decade later. :)

If Chardin's "God-dragged" model of evolution is the "bottom line," then we
need to step back a bit and reframe transhumanist thinking:

In that Transhumanism is a term that emerged rather recently in the
cultural "language" and is sometimes demeaned because it often used
loosely. But when used properly, it is a term that can provide valuable
insight into culture. 

Whereas humanism has been used primarily to reflect the potential and good 
conscious of society, transhumanism's strategy is to embrace the forward 
thinking of humanity. Not fully recognizing the ideas and concept of 
transhumanism, many people, including journalistic writer, confuse 
transhumanism with outdated model usage of the term. The outdated models 
applied have been in reference to Teilhard de Chardin and T.S. Elliot. 

Both Teilhard de Chardin and T.S. Elliot were not technologically adept, 
nor were they futurists. Their vision of future humans was highly 
provocative during their lifetimes, but more dependent on either religious 
or mystical inference. 

Transhumanism is not a religious or mystical term. Nor is it a political 
term. It is a term used to express the ideas about evolution in regards 
to the biology and psychology of humans. As such, transhumanism has become 
a movement based on the advancement of the human’s lifespan and 
intellectual and creative abilities. 

I noticed that many transhumanist organizations use Teilhard de Chardin's
name.  Some of it was quoted from my writing, I believe in my explanation
of the history of transhumanism.  I'm annoyed at myself for not being more
careful, but more disengaged from anyone who uses Chardin as a leading
transhumannist thinker and/or the original core of transhumanity.


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