Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Phenomenon of Man: "Instead of wringing our hands over the Human Predicament, we should attend to those parts of it which are wholly remediable, above all to the gullibility which makes it possible for people to be taken in by such a bag of tricks as this. If it were an innocent, passive gullibility it would be excusable; but all too clearly, alas, it is an active willingness to be deceived."

Sir Peter Medawar lays the smackdown on Teilhard's The Phenomenon of Man.

Truly a great review, I have the misfortune not to speak french, and thus I have never read The Phenomenon of Man. I have been an occasional reader of excerpts from an anonymous translation, and been unimpressed, despite the occasional recommendation.

Poor reasoning and writing shares many traits. I have found it greatly helpful to read scathing reviews of other books, and wonder, to what extent to these accusations apply to my writing and thinking?

Medawar also demonstrates a sadly poor uncommon skill, to be brutal without going beyond the facts. Untruth and exaggeration never help, no matter how good a cause they are recruited for.

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