Huxley, Teilhard and other matters

From: John Croft (
Date: Sat Feb 09 2002 - 01:46:29 GMT

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    Regarding Teilhard

    > > I'm not too keen on Teilhardian omegoid noospheric
    > > orthogenesis adherents either, though there could
    > > be some memeticists who like some of his ideas.
    > > Wasn't Julian Huxley a proto-memeticist of sorts
    > > with his noetic allusions to noogenetics?

    John wrote

    > According to Mayr, yes, but when we tried to track
    > this down, we couldn't find it - Mayr's ref was
    > incorrect (he cited _The Modern Synthesis_). It may
    > have been in a non-science piece Huxley wrote in
    > 1940 or so.

    Yes, I have just gone to check and Julian Huxley was
    very impressed with Teilhardian thinking. He even
    wrote the introduction on the English Translation of
    the "Phenomenon of Man", Teilhard's magnum opus (which
    unfortunately has dated somewhat - although Teilhard's
    use of the three phaes of evolution -"cosmogenesis",
    "biogenesis" and "noogenesis" amke sense in terms of
    the "three replicators" (Lee Smolin's "Life in the
    Cosmos", the origins of the gene and mimetic theory a
    la Blackmore.

    It is interesting that the best part of Teilhardian
    thought has been saved by Thomas Berry, who for many
    years was president of the International Teilhard
    Society, and wrote a lovely monograph of "Teilhard in
    the Ecological Age" which looks at the strengths and
    weaknesses of his thinking. Thomas Berry's "New
    Story" of using cosmology as an underpinning for a
    scientifically verifiable "creation story" is
    attracting considerable interest in certain locales.

    The other interesting threat is the direction
    Teilhardian omega point theory has taken under the
    hands of Vernor Vinge. Fascinating stuff.



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