Podcast: Jane Goodall and Francis Collins | Being Human

Jane Goodall’s name has become almost synonymous with the study of and care for chimpanzees over the course of her work which now spans 6 decades. Jane is also this year’s winner of the Templeton Prize, an honor she shares with people like Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama, and Francis Collins. She is also the founder of several initiatives, TACARE and Roots & Shoots, aimed at helping developing communities and young people build sustainable communities in 68 countries. Jane joins Francis and our host Jim to talk about her life’s work, the importance of hope in conservation, and the spiritual side of human existence. Jane and Francis may use different language to speak about their spirituality, but throughout their friendship they have found they share a lot of views about the greater significance of all life on earth and their roles in protecting and promoting the flourishing of that life.

The conversation in video form will be premiering tonight at 8pm ET on the social channels of BioLogos & the Jane Goodall Institute.


This podcast episode was one of my favorites. I have always heard of Jane Goodall but have yet to read anything by her since I’ve not really looked into animals like chimpanzees but have been really interested in our basal and divergent traits and mannerisms lately. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen a chimp outside of tv. Not even at a zoo. I want to get a handful of books on them and will definitely get hers. Was best to find out she has some sort of connection to Christianity if not a Christian outright. I thought I saw someone quoting her once as believing in a higher power but was never sure if it was in Yahweh.

I hope many from here will listen to the podcast. Don’t want to spoil it but there are a lot of really cool parts. Been looking forward to this one ever since I saw the email/newsletter from
A week or two ago.

I kind of want to find a zoo or somewhere that really focuses on a good chimpanzee enclosure that I can go and watch them for a while. I think most places, even pre covid, did not really have any of the close contact aspects with chimps.


You would enjoy “Mama’s Last Hug” by the renowned primatologist Frans del Waal. And there is a good documentary about Goodall called “Jane.” It’s available to stream on amazon.com

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Enjoyed the discussion. Dr. Collins needs our prayers in this season, as it has been rough.


I was reading the info about it. It does sound really good. I imagine it’s also super sad. But I added it to the list. I joked one with a friend about if I could live 1,000 years what would I do. Told them build a big concrete house so I can stop making payments and trim down my bills and read read read lol.

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I’m a big fan of both Goodall and Collins. Good presentation!


Thanks for this thoughtful and interesting conversation. What a delight.


There are some really good documentary films on chimpanzees if you are interested. When I was little I remember watching Jane Goodall on TV when she was a young woman. It was very cool.

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Goodall showed us that man is not the only creature to use tools. But we’re still the only creature to borrow tools and not return them.


Something came up so I missed most of it but I’ll read the transcript if the video isn’t available. Well spoken and thoughtful participants. Great questions, @jstump.

I caught it via podcast, but if you want video, I think I saw it on Facebook (don’t look at the comments :grimacing:).


Thanks Mark.

Yes, the PETA folks came out in force. They have some legitimate concerns, but could learn something from Jane and her methodology for achieving results.


One thing with animal rights though is that people constantly justify their evil towards them and the majority dont care. Its simply not true that animal rights gets better through peaceful dialogue. It’s a problem that won’t get better without a harsh push. It’s the constant protesting and shoving back that leads to the apathetic majority backing down.

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Did you listen to the episode?? That’s exactly what happened. Maybe it hasn’t been completely solved, but it definitely got better.

I did listen to the podcast.

And nothing really changed. She had some luck with one guy. You suggested Peta should follow footsteps. But dialogue has been going on for decades snd nothing is changing. Laws and regulations for animals barely have improved. The states of most zoos, more slaughter houses, most fishing regulations, most animal farms and most animal breeders still fall well below anything even remotely peaceful.

If dialogues works why do so many others have to go to the streets and destroy things in order to get attention and a quick solution or justice. The focus of peta goes well beyond chimpanzees at one place. A decade of dialogue has resulted in some changes. The overwhelming majority of issues have made no change and the people in control over it don’t care to change.

Ever look at how much battling went into allowing cows to still have water leading up to their slaughter? How many animals are going extinct every day? See all the loophole laws in “by catching” for sharks?

It also sounded like Jane had dialogue with the previous director before Francis and nothing came from it.

What should Peta stop doing to advocate for animal rights?

…yet. How fast can it be changed? I just don’t want to let it fracture the way I see the world into good guys and enemies. I’m all for improving conditions for the whole biome but attacking the enemy almost always fuels the flames instead of putting them out.


Peta constantly is bringing about some of the biggest changes. People spent decades talking to clothing stores like Ralph Lauren’s. Talks did nothing compared to being protested against in his own workplace resulting in very quick changes.

I enjoyed the podcast and I’m glad that Jane was able to encourage Francis to do better. But Peta is doing a whole lot more and they don’t need to stop protesting and disrupting death camps because maybe they could get some change by asking people to stop. Anything anyone may disagree with concerning practices by Peta will most likely pale in comparison what happens in the commercialization of factory farming.

I understand Jim that you probably was just making a simple comment and that you may have meant it as light hearted band did not think there would be pushback. There is probably just 2-3 people here that don’t eat animals and I may be the only one who has on and off been active in Peta led protests. I don’t want to alter the natural path the conversation should go about Jane and Francis. Just wanted to make sure there is a bit more background tossed in by someone who supports Peta.

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This was an important and inspiring conversation, thank you! I too want to reiterate that PETA’s refusal to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable cruelties relentlessly being inflicting on living beings at the NIH is admirable. These truths too often get lost in “soft” dialogues about progress and I’m grateful that PETA never lets anybody forget the reality of what so many sentient beings STILL endure under the name of science. We must hold the bar higher and do better. Jane Goodall has done so much good and this seems like the perfect venue for engaging in this depth of dialogue, for the betterment of all beings including ourselves.


The reason I said ‘don’t look at the comments’ wasn’t so much the volume of comments from animal rights advocates, but their content. A lot of spite and loathing.

Unfortunately, as a hunter, I am all too familiar with the prominence of hatred in animal rights campaigning.

Does the end the protestors serve justify the means they employ? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about the monkey research they’re objecting to. My gut reaction is to be repelled by animal captivity and invasive treatment, but I want more information from a trusted source before I judge. And I sure don’t trust animal rights activists as a whole.

Lest this sound like a sidetrack, it would actually be interesting to see BioLogos grapple with animal ethics. Scientific understanding of our common ground with nonhuman animals is often the basis of arguments for animal rights and vegetarianism. Then again, science enables us to understand the essential importance of predation in processes that create and sustain ecosystems, species and organisms, which is an argument to affirm predation. Believing that evolution and food webs are God’s “very good” work is all the more reason to affirm those processes. On the other hand if you read Genesis to say God created a world without death and predation, only for it to be corrupted by the Fall, then it may be appealing to view predation as evil and vegetarianism as virtuous. You might also argue on the basis of humankind’s unique status as the image-bearers of God that this confers moral agency and therefore a responsibility to engage differently than the other animals with the living world. Although the Bible doesn’t say that. “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.”

I have read a lot about secular perspectives on this topic but almost nothing on Christian perspectives.

What’s that got to do killing and eating?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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