Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is considered by many to be the godfather of evolutionary spirituality. And the influence of this early twentieth-century Jesuit priest and paleontologist, who kept a picture of Christ right next to a picture of Galileo on his bedside table, can be found just about anywhere you look in the fertile territory where science and spirituality meet. With the upcoming publication of Amir Aczel’s The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man, we get a deeper look into thescientific career of this evolutionary mystic, which included some of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century, and helped to shape his groundbreaking evolutionary worldview.
In this week’s Unbound interview, WIE's Carter Phipps and Carol Raphael speak with Dr. Amir Aczel about his book and why as a science writer he was so interested in the life of de Chardin. Dr. Aczel is a research fellow in mathematics at Boston University and an accomplished biographer of great scientists, including Einstein, Foucault, and Descartes. In this fascinating interview, Aczel describes how Teilhard’s discoveries have shaped our current understanding of humanity’s evolutionary history and why his assignment to the furthest reaches of the Catholic Church’s mission—China—was “one of the greatest ironies in the history of science.” And while he admits that he was not convinced by Teilhard’s radical spiritual ideas, Aczel talks about why his extraordinary character made him the favorite out of all the great minds that he’s biographied.
Recorded on: 5/6/2008
General Evolutionary Spirituality
Evolution of Consciousness
Science and Spirituality