Jesuit priest and paleontologist who challenged both the religious and scientific establishments with his theistic embrace of evolution and tackled the spiritual consequences of a global information network. Influenced by Henri Bergson's Creative Evolution, he believed that evolution was directional, toward greater complexity and consciousness. The earth, he maintained, was developing in successive stages of complexity: the geological earth, the biological earth, the conscious (or, as he called it, the "noölogical") earth. All of nature was evolving toward an ultimate state, the Omega Point, which was, in essence, God. De Chardin's writings were repressed by the Church until after his death.
The development of the noösphere, a global consciousness, he believed, would come through human technology. He recognized that the primary mechanism of noölogical evolution was scientific research, supported by the modern communication network that now spanned the globe:
And here I am thinking of those astonishing electronic machines (the starting-point and hope of the young science of cybernetics), by which our mental capacity to calculate and combine is reinforced and multiplied by the process and to a degree that herald as astonishing advances in this direction as those that optical science has already produced for our power of vision. --The Phenomenon of Man