Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bad reason #6 Are we monkeys?

This is the sixth article in my series of 10 bad reasons to reject evolution, this post deals with the objection that "If we evolved from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys".

This one is a very common misconception, an argument from ignorance; the missing piece of information in the brain of the objector here is that no one claims we did evolve from monkeys! This is another straw man argument that was coined by ignorant people around the time that Darwin first published the origin and again publicised by the "creationists" in order to attempt to ridicule evolution by appealing to people's vanity (i.e. I'm no ape! etc.)

There is also an implied misunderstanding of how evolution happens, it is the assumption that it is a chain, one species evolving into another at which point the prior species disappears, this is not how it works.

The process of evolution is a branching tree or more accurately a bush not a chain, species split and go off in different directions, sometimes the original line remains, and sometimes not. Sometimes an entire group of animals becomes extinct and another takes up the niche that it once occupied, for example dinosaurs and mammals.

Humans share a common ancestor with apes, we didn't evolve from modern monkeys, it would be true to say that we are cousins of apes and the DNA evidence proves that, it is probably also fair to say that if we could see the animal that existed at the branch point between apes and humans it would almost certainly look "ape-like" but more importantly it would also have human characteristics too.


Oranjepan said...

When I look in the mirror I see a big hairy primate ...and it's vanity which prevents us from accepting evolution!

Steve Borthwick said...

And a fine specimen you are too!

Did you see that picture going around a while back of the Orang-utan using a spear to fish with (apparently in the wild), v. cool!

Oranjepan said...

I've heard about it, but not seen it.

The one which made me laugh was the report of a group of large apes (can't remember which) throwing coconuts about. Apparently it was for fun, teasing lower status animals who were trying to steal them - it was described as similar to rugby...