Evolutionary battleground (1 of 2)

March 29, 2012

Steve Fuller objects to being called an anti-evolutionist and then goes on to name Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as one of the heroes of his book, Humanity 2.0 ("The Darwin delusion", Letters, 8 March).

Teilhard de Chardin believed not in evolution but in the inbuilt tendency of life, the Universe and everything to strive for some mystical teleology: the unexplained "Omega Point" where we are all, like, one, man (that man being Teilhard himself). This is the opposite not just of Darwinism but also of evolution as it is now understood: its fundamental feature is that nature does not strive towards some predetermined end but instead...er...evolves. Can Fuller name a single reputable academic evolutionist who believes that evolution has an inbuilt purpose?

I had wondered how a historian of science such as Fuller could end up in bed with the US design lobby and the Teilhardian mystics. Now it all makes perfect sense: none of them is an evolutionist in any modern scientific sense. Nor was Auguste Comte, self-appointed pope of the "religion of humanity", in whose chair Fuller now sits.

Robert Poole, Reader in history, University of Cumbria

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride