Interview: Jane Goodall

By LANCE GOULD  |  September 23, 2009

What's the best way to silence a bible-thumping conservative who thinks the planet is only 6000 years old and is offended by the notion that we are evolved from apes?
You know, which side, obviously I’m on the side of evolution ─ I’ve been at Olduvai, I’ve held fossils in my hands, I’ve seen the progression, especially with humans and everything. But some of these bible-thumping ─ they’re so bigoted, sometimes, that actually, there’s no point talking to them. I’ve tried and tried and tried. So, there isn’t an overall answer to that. Sometimes, if you can sit down in a room quietly, with nobody listening, you can get at what’s going on inside that mind. And that’s what I try to do. The only way to get people ─ I always say, “Okay, let’s forget how we got to be the way we are ─ never mind about evolution, special creation, intelligent design ─ anything like that. Here we are, we’re humans, we’re living in this world, never mind how it got to be this way, and we’ve got ourselves into a mess, and let’s sit down for heaven’s sake, and sort out in a rational, adult way, how we’re going to get out of the mess together.” We all need to pull together. And sometimes the only way that you can get people to change at all is to tell stories, that try and get into the heart. The brain maybe won’t accept, but the heart sometimes will.

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