Are We Special? Animals, Evolution, and the Question of Human Uniqueness

Are We Special? Animals, Evolution, and the Question of Human Uniqueness


Presented by Joshua Moritz, Ph.D.

From the biblical psalmist pondering, “What is humanity, that you are mindful of them?” (Ps. 8:4) to the declaration of philosophers that “humans are the measure of all things,” many have reflected upon what fundamentally defines the core identity of human beings. What does it mean to be human? What makes humans unique? How are human beings different from non-human animals? And in what ways are humans and animals alike? While recent scientific research has highlighted a surprising number of similarities between humans and animals, a clear demarcation of the precise differences remains elusive. Complicating the scientific picture even more, discoveries of extinct nonhuman hominin species (such as Neanderthals) who possessed language, culture, technology, and symbolic art have further emphasized the similarities between humans and other creatures. This presentation will examine the theological questions that emerge from the scientific investigation of the similarities and differences that exist between humans and nonhuman animals and between humans and nonhuman hominin species. What is the scientific evidence for human uniqueness?  Do nonhuman animals and nonhuman hominins have souls? Are Neanderthals in need of salvation? What is the meaning of the incarnation in light of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology?

November 6, 10AM-3PM
Cost: $95 (lunch included)


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