Amazing Video on Human Empathy as First Impulse (Science)

This is an interesting video. Not sure I agree with every nuance, but wow… some useful perspective. Not sure that I consider religion a “fiction” but that is beyond the point. ๐Ÿ™‚ Any thoughts?…

Also, check out my friend, Jonathan Brink’s blog where he explores this in a bit more detail!


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  • That video was so well done, I just stared glued to it for the whole ten minutes and thrity nine seconds.

    It went so fast though that I’d have to watch it several times to make anything intelligent of it. 1) I think the science is fascinating and worthy of further thought, exploration and theorization 2) I think the narrator in the video leaps from his scientific study to several hypothetical conclusions as though those conclusions were merely an extention of the facts behind the study. I think the study is interesting, but I disagree with almost all of the conclusions the narrator has drawn from them.

    I wonder though, could we offer an alternative conclusion based on the Judeo-Christian worldview???

    • I echo your comments. I need to watch it like ten more times.

      • What I mean, is I would like to see the data he bases this on…

    • Derek, Can you elaborate on one of the conclusions you disagree with?

  • Kurt, I don’t know if you found that video from my post a week ago but I’m actually reading the book. Rifkin is arguing for the sweeping change that is taking place in the scientific community regarding Freud’s and Hobbes original distinction that man is undeniably a brute and sexual pig. He articulates a well developed understanding of the arise of the “mirror neuron” which offers strong evidence to counter a deeply embedded approach in psychology over the last century. The studies in neuroscience are revealing that we’re wired for empathy, or human connection.

    The video is like a video game where you don’t know what is happening. The book is like a fine wine that you sip. It’s much better.

  • I don’t share the Darwinian-Evolutionary paradigm, so all of the conclusions drawn from that worldview I reject. I then wonder if it is possible to interpret the “science” of that experiment in light of a paradigm which keeps a little closer to something like what Henri Blocher offers in his book, In the Beginning. (My experiences force me to add a plea: be nice with your response, I’m not anti-intellectual Fundamentalist) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m with Tim Keller… I don’t accept the philosophical evolutionary approach, but I certainly embrace biological evolution as the mode through which God created the cosmos…

      Is that what your saying, or do you reject the science. To be honest, that would surprise me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Derek, as Kurt will attest, I begin with conversation and exploration, not inquisition. ;-P

      What’s interesting about most of the book so far (I’m 120 pages into 600) is that evolution has very little to do with it. So far he’s simply exploring the scientific process and its results, and then tying them to the idea that we’ve come to some very different conclusions in recent times in light of those findings.

      I actually thought it was interesting that in the video he made reference to Adam and Eve, which creates a very interesting dialog between the evo/crea groups. He recognizes that at some point there is a single man and woman that provides our genetic encoding. This is to me a radical thought from the evo perspective. It seems like a provocative middle ground for conversation. It allows one to listen to the story in Scripture without rejecting one’s assumptions about evolution.

  • Leo

    Shane Hipps of Mars Hill (Co-Pastor with Rob Bell) did a sermon during their series on Jonah back in April that mentioned this, and talked about God’s mirroring us and empathizing with us. That was what God was doing when he repented of the evil he was going to do, the same way the king had Nineveh repent of their evil.

    • Leo, that is a great insight! One I had forgotten after listening to that amazing teaching series!

  • wmccaig

    Fascinating video. I work with a lot of ex-offenders in my ministry and what I have found is that by giving people a chance to serve others, many find purpose and healing in ways they had not previously experienced. I wonder if this is linked to what they call “empathic sociability.” I wonder if many of the dis-functional behaviors we see in society are the result of denying this basic soft wiring. I just read a book titled “Leadership and Self Deception” which basically says that most of the challenging human relationships we have stem from denying our basic human call to care for others. It is an interesting concept. Not sure what it means to my ministry but I do think there is something to what they are saying.