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A referential model in phylogenetic proximity for the Last Common Ancestor of the genera Homo and Pan could be the chimpanzee. The adult male shown here built the bed in which he sleeps in a tree in Gombe, Tanzania. The importance of such elementary technology is that it helps us to understand the evolutionary emergence of a very basic human need — constructed shelter.

Image courtesy of Dr. William C. McGrew


purpose

The symposium is part of the Templeton Foundation’s Humble Approach Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to bring about the discovery of new spiritual information by furthering high-quality scientific research. The “humble approach” is inherently interdisciplinary, sensitive to nuance, and biased in favor of building linkages and connections. It assumes an openness to new ideas and a willingness to experiment. Placing high value upon patience and perseverance, it retains a sense of wondering expectation because it recognizes, in Loren Eisley’s haunting phrase, “a constant emergent novelty in nature that does not lie totally behind us, or we would not be where we are.” A fundamental principle of the Foundation, in the words of its founder, is that “humility is a gateway to greater understanding and open[s] the doors to progress” in all endeavors. Sir John Templeton believed that in their quest to comprehend foundational realities, scientists, philosophers, and theologians have much to learn about and from one another. The humble approach is intended as a corrective to parochialism. It encourages discovery and seeks to accelerate its pace.

 
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