Creationist Wisdom #159: Why Create Apes?

This one comes from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Why Did God Create Apes with Human Features?

The continuing existence of apes is a big issue with creationists. Earlier this year we wrote about a certain Seattle think tank that was struggling with the chimp issue: Discoveroids: “No Facts, Please, We’re Creationists”.

The last time AIG wrestled with the problem (unsuccessfully) was discussed here: If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …? AIG said that argument should no longer be used by creationists, but at the time we thought they wouldn’t be able to get away with it.

Now it seems that the ape question is back at AIG, but this time it’s in a form we’ve never seen before, so for that reason this is interesting. Their article is AIG’s answer to this question which they received. The bold font was added by us, and scripture references are omitted:

My son asked me an interesting question the other day which I struggled to give a satisfactory answer. If God knew that apes and the like would be used so passionately by evolutionists to support their theory, why did he create them?

Hey — good question! Why would evolutionists be given such striking evidence? If we were specially created, why is there anything around that looks even remotely related to us? Here are some excerpts from AIG’s answer to that profound question:

First, similarities between organisms — like those between humans and apes — cannot be used to prove evolution. All living creatures down to bacteria share similarities … . We can argue that the similarities are actually evidence for a common Designer.

Yes, the Designer could reuse some designs, but why did the Designer reuse that design? It wasn’t necessary if we were specially designed, and the reuse of that particular design gives evolutionists evidence to support their theory. Let’s read on:

Whether one interprets similarities as evidence for evolution from a common ancestor or evidence for the Designer depends on one’s presuppositions. The evolutionary idea of homology — inferring common descent from structure similarity — is an assumption by those who reject the Creator’s account in the Bible.

Okay, but the question still remains: Why create apes at all? We continue:

Second, God designed apes to show His creative power, but belief in man as a highly-evolved ape may become a sign of judgment when man honors the creature rather than the Creator. Although man was created to know and glorify God, the first man and woman rebelled against Him for a satanic lie. Satan, the “father of lies,” deceived Eve by distorting the truth and leading her to doubt God’s Word. Eve was deceived, and Adam willfully ate the forbidden fruit. Their sin brought death and suffering into the world.

Does any of that answer the question? Here’s more:

Ever since the Fall, Satan continues to employ his insidious method: taking God’s truth and twisting it to deceive sinful man.

[…]

One of those lies is evolution. Atheists use evolution to deny the truth of God’s Word, relying instead on man’s fallible reasoning alone to explain the origin and design of the world.

Okay, we get it now. The ape — as visual evidence of evolution — is something like the forbidden fruit. If we allow ourselves to be misled by such evidence, we’re doomed! So the ape is a trap cunningly set by Satan. All clear new? No, it isn’t clear to us. The question still remains: Why was the ape created in the first place, if it’s so easily used by the devil? AIG has an answer:

ThirdIf God had not created apes, however, evolutionists would just find another “common ancestor.” The problem is not the evidence, but sinful man’s faulty interpretation of the evidence made in a futile attempt to avoid recognizing the Creator, Law Giver, and Judge. Instead of not creating things Satan would warp for evil, God sent the remedy for the deadly disease of sin: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Aha! So there you are. AIG says you have to choose — the ape or Jesus. It’s your choice, dear reader. One final excerpt:

In conclusion, our pastor often gets tough “why” questions from his daughter, but he says the answer is ultimately easy: “Because God wanted to.” Knowing God’s infinite wisdom and holy nature, we should trust His will and ways.

There you have it — the ultimate explanation! Now you know.

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30 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #159: Why Create Apes?

  1. “Because God wanted to.” Isn’t that a useful tool to stop any line of inquiry a theocratic despot disapproves of. If that is the ultimate answer to all things, then there is no point to asking any question and no point in trying to solve any problem on Earth. I can hear the advancement of knowledge grinding to a halt.

    It would be a sad, sad, and ignorant world if everyone has to accept that as the final word.

  2. I choose the ape. They’re cute.

    Jesus doesn’t seem too cute. Bad fashion sense. Bad temper, too.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    God also created Hell, because He wanted to. It’s very convenient, He can put all the people who ask about the apes there.

  4. Callum J Hackett

    How typical – the perfect set-up to end all questions.

    If there’s something about the universe that we don’t understand, then God is automatically the answer. If there’s something that we do understand, but which contradicts scripture, then it’s Satan’s doing. What rigorous logic…

  5. “Because God wanted to.”

    Ah, not the last resort, the first and only resort that all creationists, including IDists, have. That’s what science is all about, cataloguing the whims of the Designer/God.

    See, ID/creationism is too science. They find out what God wanted to create, and all of the things he created in order to very soon to push into extinction. Indeed, it is the “queen of the sciences.”

  6. This one is worse than usual for AiG. After arbitrarily insisting that physical similarity doesn’t mean anything (don’t believe your lying eyes) for no other reason than they’re desperate to rig the case in their favor by ruling out of court damaging evidence against them that they can’t explain, it dissolves into incoherent religious rhetoric.

    Simply put, evolution predicts that since human beings didn’t come out of nowhere and would have relations and ancestors, there would be forms similar to human, both living and extinct. There are. Creation doesn’t disallow similar forms (God can do anything He wants), but it doesn’t require them, either. In fact, it would be strong evidence of Creation if Man did stand alone with no apparent close relatives (say, the entire primate order simply didn’t exist, alive or as fossils). You would still have to explain why it looked as though every other animal evolved from earlier forms. But the primates do exist, as they would have to in the world predicted by evolution, and if the Creationists can’t do any better than this to account for them, they’ve lost the argument.

    Besides, by itself the genetic Vitamin C defect we share with chimpanzees and gorillas is pretty much impossible to explain away without common ancestry, and the “common design” explanation starts to look a little weak when it posits the Designer building in common defects.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    God Shmod! I want my monkeyman!

  8. The kid asked a good question. Hmm.

    Answer (1), apes and humans look alike because they are alike and have common ancestors.

    Answer (2), apes and humans look alike because a supernatural entity of omnipotent power intentionally created apes, similar to humans, because of reasons known only to the supernatural entity.

    It’s clear to AIG – answer #2 ! If the kid doesn’t believe that, he’ll go to hell….

  9. Interesting that AIG still likes to trot out the common designer argument to its readers, even though creation biologists such as Todd Wood rejected this explanation back in 2006 in the creation research literature.

    “The level of similarity observed between the human and chimpanzee genomes cannot be adequately explained simply by the will of the Creator, unless a theory can be developed to explain why the Creator would will such similarity.”

    “Since the Bible clearly teaches the special creation of human beings (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7, 21-22), what does the similarity of humans and chimpanzees mean for creationists? Creationists have responded to these studies in a variety of ways. A very popular argument is that similarity does not necessarily indicate common ancestry but could also imply common design (e.g. Batten 1996; Thompson and Harrub 2005; DeWitt 2005). While this is true, the mere fact of similarity is only a small part of the evolutionary argument. Far more important than the mere occurrence of similarity is the kind of similarity observed. Similarity is not random. Rather, it forms a detectable pattern with some groups of species more similar than others. As an example consider a 200,000 nucleotide region from human chromosome 1 (Figure 2). When compared to the chimpanzee, the two species differ by as little as 1-2%, but when compared to the mouse, the differences are much greater. Comparison to chicken reveals even greater differences. This is exactly the expected pattern of similarity that would result if humans and chimpanzees shared a recent common ancestor and mice and chickens were more distantly related. The question is not how similarity arose but why this particular pattern of similarity arose. To say that God could have created the pattern is merely ad hoc. The specific similarity we observe between humans and chimpanzees is not therefore evidence merely of their common ancestry but of their close relationship.”

    “As mentioned already, the common creationist response to this argument is to appeal to a designer as the source of the similarity. Although this is undoubtedly true, it is trivial. The point Darwin makes is not that similarity alone indicates common ancestry but that the particular pattern or scheme of similarities across all organisms is the same pattern we would expect from common descent. As Darwin noted in the quote above, appealing to the will of the Creator does not explain the particular pattern of similarity that we observe, except in an ad hoc fashion. Creation biology needs an explanation of the pattern of similarities, not merely an ad hoc appeal to a common designer.”

  10. Ah yes…the God The Merry Prankster argument…the same stupid argument they employ to explain dinosaur fossils. God testing your faith….

  11. To borrow a theme from the “intelligent design” people, there is a complexity and specificity to the nested hierarchy (“tree of life”) which is far too complex and specified to be just a matter of chance. If there is no natural regularity behind it (and the only one that anybody has ever thought of is common ancestry and descent with modification), then what is the explanation? It ought to be obvious that “that’s just the way it is” – or “that’s just the way that God wanted it” – is not an explanation.

    Think of trying to explain why the Mona Lisa has a smile. It is no explanation to say “because that’s what Leonardo wanted”. It’s true that that’s what Leonardo wanted, but it isn’t an explanation for the smile rather than a frown. So, too, we can grant that God created humans, but still point out that it isn’t an explanation for why humans look like chimps. (And more like chimps than either is like horses, and more like horses than like robins, and more like robins than like insects, etc. etc.)

    As far as the “common designer” argument, there are obvious problems.

    The first is that God is that if God wanted to create humans to be like chimps and other apes, that suggests that God had common purposes for humans and the rest. Does this mean we should be teaching our kids that they should follow God’s purposes and act like apes?

    A designer designs two things to be similar only if there are common purposes for the things, or else because the designer is constrained by the materials being used and the laws of nature. Is God constrained by the materials and the laws of nature?

    But not all things that God has created are similar in the same ways. There are degrees of similarity in the “tree of life”. That nested hierarchy is the thing that is in need of an explanation, not the mere fact that all living things are made up of the same chemicals. The “tree of life” is a far more complex structure than the use of CHNOPS to make living things.

  12. I had overlooked a post from earlier this year, in which a certain Seattle think tank chimed in on the chimp issue: Discoveroids: “No Facts, Please, We’re Creationists”. In a comment there, I said:

    Were special creation a fact, we’d be in the same situation as human castaways on some other planet, with nothing even remotely related to us.

  13. I think the answer was something like “this god created animals so similar to humans knowing that this was a bad idea, but that it did not matter because evolutionists would find another common ancestor.” In other words, why make it hard for evolutionists if they will find something anyway?

  14. Why are there great apes?

    Who knows… why do men have nipples?

    It couldn’t be because the default body plan of a person (ie the XO) is female? It couldn’t be because the Y chromosome contains only two genes: one for testosterone and one for hairy ears?

    BAH! Those dang genetics!!!!! Always fudging up MAN’s divine right to superiority as stipulated by the Divinely Inspired (aka GOD BREATHED) WORD of GOD (TM)!!!!

    GENETICS IS EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. D’OH! I had a comment but it seems to have disappeared into that great bottomless purse that is the internet….

  16. AYE ME! And there it is!!! The Internet Ghost is toying with me… very apropos for Halloween.

  17. LRA,

    There is a third gene: aimlessly-and-constantly-changing-the-channel-with-the-remote.

    I know, long name for a gene, but the human genetics society demands clear and unambiguous names.

  18. LOL!

    I must make a correction… The genes on the Y chromosome (about 86 for some 23 proteins total) have only two phenotypes… one is for maleness and the other (not always present in men) is for hairy ears.

    Of course there are plenty of pseudogenes… and perhaps this is where the phenotype for channel surfing resides.
    :D

  19. retiredsciguy

    Ah! The remote! Proof positive that there indeed is no Intelligent Designer.
    If there were, all men would have been born with a remote imbedded within our brains. No need to click it — just think it!

  20. LRA, I think one of your comments just vanished. Something about genes. I didn’t delete it. I only noticed because I was scanning back to respond, and now I can’t find it.

  21. LOL! The Internet Ghost is tricky indeed!

    (That comment did post above.)

  22. The genes on the Y chromosome (about 86 for some 23 proteins total) have only two phenotypes… one is for maleness and the other (not always present in men) is for hairy ears.

    Three, actually. Ball scratching. I don’t know any women who scratch their crotches as soon as they get out of bed, yet early morning ball scratching is absolutely universal among carriers of the Y chromosome.

  23. LRA,

    Of course there are plenty of pseudogenes… and perhaps this is where the phenotype for channel surfing resides.

    See? Pseudogenes have a function! There atheists! Muahahahahahahahaha!

    (Sorry, could not resist.)

  24. Gabriel Hanna

    @LRA:

    It couldn’t be because the Y chromosome contains only two genes: one for testosterone and one for hairy ears?

    My wife is pretty sure that spider-killing and drain-unclogging are Y-linked.

    Unfortunately I’m the one terrified of spiders.

  25. I always thought trash-taking-out was Y-linked…
    :P

  26. LRA says: “I always thought trash-taking-out was Y-linked.”

    Yes, we do the heavy lifting. That’s why obedience and submissiveness are X-linked.

  27. Gabriel Hanna

    That’s why obedience and submissiveness are X-linked.

    My wife thinks those are Y-linked too.

  28. Aw! I was just jokin’, y’all!

    Unfortunately for me, there is not a Y-linked person to take my trash out for me… I just have to do it myself. I really hate having to throw the bag up into the dumpster. I need someone who is hefty, hefty, hefty. It’s because I’m wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.
    :D

  29. Gabriel Hanna

    @LRA:I really hate having to throw the bag up into the dumpster. I need someone who is hefty, hefty, hefty. It’s because I’m wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

    All you need is the Power of Physics (and a little Grrl Power). I had a lot of restaurant jobs with heavy trash bags. So I figured it out:

    Face the dumpster, then turn 90 to your right. Then swing the bag back and forth, when it gets high let it go and it will sail into the dumpster. No need get yourself tired out or begrimes. You’ll need your upper body to swing free as a counterweight.

  30. Gabriel Hanna says: “Face the dumpster”

    Words to live by.