The Discovery Institute, like other creationist outfits, insists that humans are uniquely created, and not the product of something as crude as evolution. A previous rant about this was Klinghoffer Ain’t No Kin to No Monkey. Regarding the genetic similarities between humans and apes, Klinghoffer said:
This suggests the common descent of human beings. It says nothing at all about shared ancestry with apes. It certainly says nothing about life developing without plan or purpose. None of this poses the least problem for an inference to ID, which claims to find evidence of design in nature, not the absence of evidence for life’s having a long and fascinating history.
Software designers reuse similar programming modules in different programs, so wouldn’t a species designer reuse similar genetic programs in different species? Doing so seems only natural.
Now, the same topic is being addressed by Michael Egnor — that’s his writeup at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. His new post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. He quotes some people, and then tells us:
Regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the evolutionary argument that humans are descended from apes, the differences between humans and apes are so profound as to render the view that humans are apes abject nonsense.
What profound differences render that view nonsense? Egnor explains:
It is important to understand the fundamental difference between humans and nonhuman animals. Nonhuman animals such as apes have material mental powers. By material I mean powers that are instantiated in the brain and wholly depend upon matter for their operation. These powers include sensation, perception, imagination (the ability to form mental images), memory (of perceptions and images), and appetite. Nonhuman animals have a mental capacity to perceive and respond to particulars, which are specific material objects such as other animals, food, obstacles, and predators.
Well, we really don’t know what else porpoises might think about, but let’s read on:
Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
Some humans are more rational than others, but no one doubts that a human’s brain is bigger, more complex, and has more capabilities than a gorilla’s brain. How does that imply creationism — Ooops! — we should have said: How does that imply intelligent design? Egnor continues:
Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — immaterial! [*End Drool Mode*] Here’s more:
A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — an immaterial power! [*End Drool Mode*] Moving along:
It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — an immeasurable difference! [*End Drool Mode*] Another excerpt:
We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. … Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — we are partly immaterial beings! [*End Drool Mode*] And now we come to the end:
The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men.
Think about it, dear reader. Does 2 plus 2 equal 4? Well then, you are thinking abstractly, so you are a partly immaterial being. Therefore, we were created by the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — and the Discoveroids have been right all the time.
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