For Immediate Release — Thursday, October 6, 2005
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
Canisius Professor to Discuss Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Evolution at SUNY Geneseo
GENESEO, N.Y. — H. James Birx, a distinguished professor of anthropology at Canisius College in Buffalo, will deliver a lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13, in 204 Newton Hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The event is free and open to the public.
In his talk, "Interpreting Evolution: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin," Birx will examine the life, thought and influence of Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard de Chardin was a geopaleontologist and Jesuit priest who attempted to present a dynamic synthesis of science and theology in terms of cosmic evolution and planetary convergence.
Teilhard de Chardin's anthropological research in China included his participating in the discovery of the fossil hominid specimens known as Peking Man, while his religious reflections contributed to his writing "The Phenomenon of Man" (1838-l940), a controversial book that envisioned a mystical end-goal for our emerging species on earth. Birx will focus on the four essential concepts of Teilhard de Chardin's bold philosophy, which argues that humankind does hold a special place within this unfolding universe. Along the way, Birx will compare and contrast Teilhard de Chardin's interpretation of evolution with those interpretations that have been offered by other evolutionists, from both the past and the present.
Birx, who received his bachelor's degree and one of his master's degrees from Geneseo, lectured last year at his alma mater about Darwin and Nietzche. He also received a master's in anthropology and a Ph.D. with distinction in philosophy from the University of Buffalo.
Birx is the author of numerous books, as well as more than 400 chapters, articles, encyclopedia entries and reviews. He is the editor of the "Encyclopedia of Anthropology," and his next project is editing a three-volume "Encyclopedia of Time" for SAGE Publications. He plans to write its introduction next summer while he serves as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.
Birx has lectured at colleges across the world. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Moscow State University and St. Petersburg University in Russia, Rockhurst University, the University of Zaragoza in Spain, and at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava.
He serves on the editorial board of several publications and has authored and edited numerous academic journal articles. In addition, he serves as a Charles Darwin Associate in the New York Academy of Sciences and as an elected member of the Executive Committee for the Afro-Asian Philosophy Association in Cario, Egypt. He also is a frequent guest on educational radio and international television interview programs.
In 1999, Birx was honored with the designation as distinguished educator at Canisius. In 2001, he was appointed a faculty fellow of Sigma Phi Epsilon (New York Lambda Chapter) at Canisius. His professional listings include Who's Who in the World.