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23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Beyond Words: What animals think, feel, share, and teach



Sunday, August 23, 2020

10:30 am

We will be doing the movie style service presentation at:
and the zoom dialup audio as well as zoom social hour will be at Zoom. For those calling in, the line will be open starting at 10:20AM, Dial: (301)715-8592


It was once widely believed that we humans were the only creatures on Earth capable of creating culture, and that is still a prevalent viewpoint. No matter how you choose to define culture, however, it’s now clear that humans are far from the only animal on Earth with the capacity for social learning and transmitting knowledge to future generations. This extended meditation visits the world of animal culture and interactions, with one another, and with people, leaving many questions of how we should respond in our choices and in our lives. It is drawn from the writings and podcasts of Professor Carl Safina and cetacean researcher Dr Hal Whitehead.


Biographical Info: 

Jan Galkowski joined First Parish in Needham in November of 2016, with his wife Claire. Since then he has been active with the Green Congregation Committee, the Lane Lyceums, and, increasingly, the Social Action Committee. Jan and Claire live in Westwood with their three cats, Dusty, Samwise, and Darla.

Jan is a statistician, data scientist, test and quantitative engineer with 44 years of experience. He is active with the American Statistical Association (ASA), helping, for example, to parry an attempt by the administration to curtail dataflows to the Centers for Disease Control. He writes a technical blog, studies, develops, and evaluates statistical and machine learning methods, is an avid reader, and is cultivating his skill in field microphotography. He has taught the science of climate change and is a solar evangelist who considers himself a solar energy revolutionary.  

Jan has two sons, Dave and Jeff, and Claire’s children, Laura, Paul, and John, and one granddaughter, Hazel,  with another expected soon.