Faith & Science Forum: ‘What Makes Us Human?’ May 19

LAF&SF News:

The Los Alamos Faith & Science Forum is holding a series on the topic “What Makes Us Human?”. The next session is May 19.

The group meets at Kelly Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. A video/presentation begins at 6 p.m., followed by a large group discussion at 6:30 p.m., then an optional, informal small group discussion at 7 p.m. ending at 7:20 p.m. Feel free to bring your dinner. All are welcome. For more information, visit

This topic of “What Makes Us Human?” will carry the group into its summer series scheduled for Wednesday evenings in June and July.

Thursday, May 19: The Uniqueness of Humans:

Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology, Neurology and Neuroscience at Stanford, discusses his view, as a practicing primatologist, of what makes humans “uniquier” — how we are similar to other primates and how we differ. Examining 5 topics, which are sometimes used to distinguish humans from other primates: aggression; theory-of-mind; applications of the Golden Rule; empathy; and a capacity for anticipation/deferred gratification, Sapolosky first illuminates some surprising way in which animal behavior parallels human behavior, and then draws distinctions showing what aspects of human behavior distinguishes us from animals, and especially primates. Sapolsky, describing himself as a “strident atheist”, concludes with a surprising thesis of his own about what distinguishes humans from animals, issuing a challenge to the graduating class of Stanford, and to other listeners as well.

About the presenter:

Bob Reinovsky is an elder at White Rock Presbyterian Church and a practicing scientist and program manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He grew up in the Roman Catholic faith, and adopted the Calvinist view that characterizes modern Presbyterians when he was about 26. His interest in exploring the intersection of science and religious faith is rooted in his conviction that these two ways of understanding the world around us, do not always lead us to the same place; but do complement each other and together make for a richer understanding of who we are and what we are called to be.