Planet Of The Egotistical Apes

Tarzan, Jane, and Son

By the power invested in me by the natural world, I now pronounce you man and ape. You may kiss the bride. Smootchie! Smootchie! Enjoy the honeymoon.

(According to a recent study chimps are better than humans at short term memory recall.)

Of course, the evolutionary link between human and ape is a major thorn in the ass of creationists. Some are known to actually proclaim, “I ain’t descended from no monkey”. Darwinians reflexively respond with the DNA evidence, which indicates a 98.89% genetic similarity between humans and chimps. Creationists scoff. But I think part of the problem is a lack of perspective on the part of creationists. In chapter 6 of his book, “The Descent of Man”, Charles Darwin wrote about the classification of humans as special. He said:

“If man had not been his own classifier, he would never have thought of founding a separate order for his own reception”

Would space aliens find humans so morphologically and behaviorally distinct from apes? The anatomists of the 19th century, long before the availability of genetic analysis, saw a staggering number of similarities between the greater apes and man. Anatomist T.H. Huxley wrote extensively on the “resemblances and differences in the structure and the development of the brain in man and apes”. He noted:

“[T]hat the difference between the brain of the chimpanzee and of man is almost insignificant, when compared with that between the chimpanzee brain and that of the Lemur [the lower apes].”

The sheer weight of all the evidence, not just one portion of it, drew most 19th century investigators to conclude that man and apes share a common ancestor. But the creationist modus operandi is to isolate and mangle specific data, and to ignore the big picture. However, by posing a ‘what if’ argument we can see that the objections proffered by creationists are emotionally based and ego driven. For instance, would creationists hate evolution as much IF it showed that apes descended from humans instead of the other way round? Under such a scenario the relationship of humans to apes doesn’t sound as objectionable. Human dignity is preserved. Humans remain at the top of creation. Unfortunately, for creationists it ain’t true.

Also, how can the human species be defined objectively? Darwin noted that a distinct classification point would be difficult to establish:

“In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some-ape like creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any definite point when the term ‘man’ ought to be used”

We can see that only by narrowly construing the evidence and ignoring valuable biological comparisons can the creationist perspective survive.




Filed under Evolution

6 responses to “Planet Of The Egotistical Apes

  1. underdog

    I see flaws in both darwinism and creationism as primarily linear modes of thought.

    The fact of the matter is that significant extinction level events, and other episodes of extreame genetic upheaval, preclude the notion that linear evolution and progression at any more real than linear creationism.

    We need to look deeper, much much deeper into the ultimate nature of matter and energy – and the mathematical constructs of super string theory to better understand LIFE in the universe.

    Bio-genesis, and punctuated equalibrium have more intriguing aspects of rapid formation of life, and accelerated adaptation that may be understood more clearly in the context of string theory.

    It is more probable that the same “harmonics” of the membranes and strings of the invisible world, that form energy and matter and coalese into patterns of molocules, stars and galaxys have more to do with life than either of the 2 dimensional camps of darwinism, or creationism can even dream of….

    some food for thought.


  2. thedarwinreport

    Dear UnderDog,

    You said: “… preclude the notion that linear evolution and progression at any more real than linear creationism.”

    Evolution is neither linear nor progressive in the long term. It is merely adaptive in the short term. Early in the 20th century many paleontologists did indeed think of evolution as a ladder of long term progress, but such thinking has been abandoned in face of the evidence.

    Life on Earth has the false appearance of progress only because of the passage of long periods of time, genetic variation, natural selection, and extinction of species. As Darwin thought, life is more like a big bush than a ladder. And on the bush most branches end in extinction.

    Also, punctuated equilibrium fits nicely into evolutionary thinking, and is no way in conflict with it.

    And as far as string theory is concerned, it is interesting, but we fail to see what it has to do with evolutionary biology.

    Many thanks for your comment.

  3. underdog

    indeed. failing to see what string theory has to do with evolutionary biology is my primary point.

    I like the bush analogy, it does suggest in classical darwanist thinking however, that there is a primary TRUNK or common root.

    String theory and the branes.. or membranes as it where, as the fundemental mathematical elements for EVERYTHING means that the sub-atomic particles, forming the carbon atoms, forming the molecular structures forming cellular biology are ultimatly and finally simple vibrations of strings along membranes. Energy becoming mass becoming life.

    This understanding brings together not only biological evolution and adaptation, but also cosmic events and the string harmonics that are … the music of the spheres.

    Scientific disciplines cannot segregate themselves in this new age of discovery. The beauty of string theory as it relates to biological evolution is that it explains and fills the gaps some are groping over in darwanist circles, while satisfying the theists desire for intellegent design over much longer time cycles than stict biblical creationsism.

    Think of the cosmic collisions in space time that form galaxies, stars and planets. Similar harmonic collsions along the membranes of elements of LIFE have had the effect of bio-genesis and adaptation.

    The universe and everything in it are much, much more fascinating in the beauty of mathematical precision than simple evolutionist thinking or superstitious creationism can ever imagine. I am sure Einstien would agree…

  4. thedarwinreport

    Yes, there was a common “trunk” (or common ancestor) to all life on Earth, but that in no way implies linear progress.

    And string theory attempts to unite the quantum laws of physics with the general laws of physics. I’ve never read where it explains the origins of life or new species.

    The fact that biological systems consist of matter does not answer how complexity arises. Evolution, however, does answer this question nicely without violating physical laws.

    Human bodies contain carbon atoms, which have basic chemical and physical properties. But those carbon atoms in no way affect human biology beyond those simple properties. Physics only explains the universe in a general sense. All systems must obey the laws of physics, but the origin of complex systems is not in itself explained by general physical laws.

    The interaction of complex systems has its own set of rules and explanations.

    Basically, I think that perhaps you are reading more into string theory than is intended by physicists.

  5. underdog

    the mathematical purity of String Theory demonstrates that at the fundemental core of all complex systems of matter, including cellular biology, is nothing more than vibration of infinite strings of energy along the membranes of nothingness.

    it in fact forces much deeper thought about the complex systems that form life, including biological genesis.

    the so called common root.. what is that… some microbe? That over time “branched” out into multiple limbs of change, evolving into ever more complex organized systems, until life becomes sentient?

    You cannot be so 2 dimensional and focus just on biology and adaptation. That is too narrow. Ultimately the observation of biogenesis and adaptation must bring us to the basics of understanding the complex chemsistry, and yes the physics, of cellular biology.

    And it is there that LIFE in the form of sentient beings begins to ask the real questions….. How and WHY? If there is nothing there except the vibration and harmonics of strings of energy – How and Why do complex patterns of energy form and become the material building blocks of the univers and of life?

    Carl Sagan once said… we are “star stuff” – in fact… were are stars, planets, galaxies, dark matter, quasars, black holes and all things in the universe…. alive.

    Just trying to figure out the genetic patterns and drift of change from one species and it’s appearent relationship to another is not sufficient an intellectual excersize. Our relationship to other primates genetically is an intiguing child like puzzle, but ultimately not that fascinating. The earth is litterally teaming with life at every possiblly concievable level. It has flourished with majestic dinosaurs, and long extinct species, while the simpliest bacteria have only drifted in the smallest ways from their origins.

    I love Jeff Goldblumes character in Jurrasic Park – Dr. Ian Malcolm’s phrase regarding Chaos Theory…. LIFE FINDS A WAY.

    But HOW…. and WHY?

    We must understand and search for those answers scientifically, and not simply play in the sandbox of biological evolutionary theories that are incomplete and all end up “extinct” any way…..

  6. thedarwinreport

    First off, string theory is undeserving of the tile of “theory”. At this point in physics it is actually a popular hypothesis. It is unfalsifiable and has no predictive power. It’s more speculation than science.

    Second, although complex biological systems are made up of matter, they have emergent properties which aren’t found in simple matter. So, even a complete understanding of the physics of the universe is not going to explain biological systems.

    Your reductionist view of biology is extreme. You’ve reduced life beyond the genetic code, down to strings. But vibrating strings in themselves don’t explain the workings of the biological world.

    Each new level of complexity in nature may obey the laws of physics, but it may also express new properties that don’t exist at lowers levels. So to say that physics is somehow the final truth is an untenable argument.

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