If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …?

IN what we’ll describe as a small step for mankind but a giant leap for creationism, the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) have been researching one of the greatest questions of all time: If evolution is true, then why are there still monkeys?

That is, of course, one of the dumbest questions a creationist can ask, yet they all seem to ask it. Standard refutations abound — for example: If America was founded by England, why are there still Englishmen? Also: You agree that dogs are descended from wolves, so why doesn’t it bother you that there are still wolves? None of that has any effect. Creationists remain convinced that the persistence of monkeys refutes evolution.

But all that may change. Today, dear reader, the creation scientists at AIG have arrived at an answer to this ancient riddle — but we fear it will alienate almost all of their loyal followers. Most creationists believe that the continued existence of monkeys is proof that monkeys (or apes, or whatever) are not our ancestors, because if they were … well then, why are they still hanging around (so to speak)? Shouldn’t they all have evolved into humans?

As we’ve discussed before, AIG has a clever feature at their website to help them appear credible — it’s a small list of Arguments that should never be used. There they’ve collected a few of the absolute worst, most easily debunked creationist arguments. By rejecting them, AIG gives up relatively little, because the rest of their “science” relies on other worthless arguments, yet by pointing to their list of rejects they can claim that they don’t make nonsensical claims. Well, it’s true that they do reject a few clunkers — but they’re delusional to think that doing so gives them any cover.

Anyway, they’ve just added another argument to their little list, but this time we think they’ve gone too far. Today they’re rejecting one of the bedrock arguments that has sustained creationism through the generations. They’re being naive if they imagine their supporters can go along with this.

Judge for yourself. We present If Humans Evolved from Apes, Why Do Apes Exist Today? Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Many creationists today, sadly, demonstrate their lack of understanding of the evolutionists’ position when they ask this question.

Here is how their misguided thinking goes: “If evolution were true, then modern humans descended from apes. (After all, we’ve seen many scientific charts showing apes as man’s ancestors.) So, since apes still exist, they didn’t turn into humans, and evolutionists are being silly when they say apes evolved into humans. Case closed!”

Precisely. We’ve seen that a thousand times. It’s so pervasive that we think it’s perilous for AIG to abandon it. But that’s what they’re doing. Let’s read on:

This argument shows a misunderstanding of what evolutionists actually believe about human evolution. The evolutionary concept of the origin of humans is not based on humans descending from modern apes but, rather, argues that humans and modern apes share a common ancestor.

They expand on that a bit (their audience can’t grasp the idea all at once) and then they conclude:

[I]n reality, it is just a misunderstanding of what evolutionists’ believe. This is another argument the Christian should not use.

But AIG has given only half of an explanation — the “common ancestor” part. The rest of the explanation is that a species’ direct ancestors can indeed continue to exist (not the actual individuals, of course, but the same species). All that’s required is for a portion of the original population to become isolated from the rest so that they form a separate breeding population. In time, due to mutations occurring in the separate group, they can develop into a new species, while the parent stock continues essentially unchanged — as with wolves and dogs, or several species that were obviously descended from mainland ancestors that Darwin found on the Galapagos Islands.

Anyway, even with a partial explanation, AIG has now dismissed the “Why are there still monkeys?” issue. That’s fine with us, but will their followers be able to accept such heresy? We suspect that for most creationists, this is a step they just can’t take. So we predict that AIG may soon be receding from this radical move. Time will tell.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …?

  1. I think they must be setting up for accusing people who accept evolution of attacking strawmen. (That was an awkward sentence). There are other groups that do this, like climate “skeptics” and 9/11 truthers.

    Climate “skeptics” fall into many camps; for example, those who deny that warming is happening, those who accept warming but deny that carbon dioxide is responsible, and those who accept both but who deny that warming is bad. If you attack one group for another’s argument then they accuse you of attacking strawmen. In fact, they change positions all the time. One occasion a skeptic will say that it is so hard to compile an accurate temperature record that nobody knows if there is any warming or not, but then will turn around and say no one disputes the warming, just the cause or the consequences (Jerry Pournelle, whom I otherwise admire, does this every other week).

    9/11 truthers all have their own peculiar (in both sense) hypothesis of what happened on 9/11, and accuse all other truthers of being government disinformation plants! Because each skeptic finds the others to be so ridiculous that they discredit the movement!

  2. SC is right. The “I didn’t come from a monkey” argument is iconic. It’s on t-shirts, signs, flyers, etc. etc. I think many creationists that never actually read anything about either creation or evolution, actually base their entire belief on the seemingly illogical idea that humans descended from an animal they can see in the zoo – and believe that’s what evolutionists argue actually occurred. So, AIG’s abandonment of that argument risks losing some of their flock.

    On the other hand, very few of them actually read AIG, I imagine.

    Still, as AIG continues to add to their list of arguments to avoid, eventually they will run out of arguments that they can use.

  3. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Because each skeptic finds the others to be so ridiculous that they discredit the movement!

    That reminds me of a spammer’s conference a few years ago. One of the spammers accused another of giving the male enhancement industry a bad name.

  4. The last thing that AIG would do, of course, is to admit that not only are related organisms not a problem, they are a prediction of evolution. While it’s true that all but one (or all bar none) species of an adaptive radition might have died out, a single species evolving as much as our ancestors did would not be expected. So not only would apes be expected to evolve, other hominins would be expected to evolve as well (certainly in the varied environments of Africa), and of course they did.

    Meanwhile, IDists and other creationists cannot tell us why any species share ancestors, and could not predict that other apes and/or hominins should evolve, most destined to die out.

    So no, they sure didn’t bother to grant much to evolution, only the part that makes creationists look as ignorant as virtually all of them are. Admitting that the fossil record and genetic similarities are quite as evolutionary theory predicts, and are nothing that ID/creationism can at all explain, is certainly nothing that the AIG or DI will do.

  5. So now it’s “I didn’t share a common ancestor with no monkey?” It’s a far better articulated denial of reality, but it’s just not as catchy. Bring on the animatronic dinosaurs!

  6. Eventually they’ll just have to admit, like one creationist I recall (can’t think of his name right now, Tom somebody??), who stated on his blog that evolution has lots of proof, there’s no doubt about it, but that he chooses to believe the biblical account instead.
    Sorry I can’t get his name right now–I think I found it on Pharyngula a year or so ago.

  7. Lynn Wilhelm says:

    Tom somebody??), who stated on his blog that evolution has lots of proof, there’s no doubt about it, but that he chooses to believe the biblical account instead.

    Those are the honest creationists. Rarest of all are those who don’t want to force their views on others.

  8. You’re thinking of Todd Wood, a baraminologist at Bryan College. Honest creationists are rare birds, all right.

  9. AIG says,
    “This is another argument the Christian should not use.”

    As though rejecting science were the defining criterion of being a Christian!

  10. See the article at RationalWiki, “How come there are still monkeys?”

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/How_come_there_are_still_monkeys%3F

  11. TomS, when I went to the link (and thanks for that – it’s a good one) on the side bar was an ad for a “Truth” fish swallowing a Darwin fish. Off topic, maybe. Just struck me as funny.

  12. If you attack one group for another’s argument then they accuse you of attacking strawmen. In fact, they change positions all the time.

    Often its not even a change, they just use mutually exclusive arguments at the same time. There’s not much difference between your average Gish Gallup and the old lawyer joke “your Honor, my client didn’t kill anyone. And if he did it was self-defense.”

  13. A good answer to “If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …?” would be simply, “Oh? Did both of your parents die as soon as you were born?”

  14. Ed wrote:

    Still, as AIG continues to add to their list of arguments to avoid, eventually they will run out of arguments that they can use.

    Ed is an optimist. 😉