Unintelligent Design: Monkeys as the Makers of Man
Apr 5, 2010
"Do I really come from Monkeys" That's what my seven year old nephew asked me during a trip to the zoo. As you might imagine, we were observing the monkeys when the question came from his young mind and mouth. I didn't answer right away. I looked at the monkeys. They didn't bother to look back. They were preoccupied with something else – a foot. A toe on a foot. A branch. A leaf on a brach. One of them took the branch and inserted it into his mouth, and then removed it as if to say, "Nope, just as I thought. Not edible. Well, didn't hurt trying." The other did the same with his foot, perhaps thinking the same thing as the other. I looked at my nephew, who was still waiting for an answer.
What do I tell him?
The truth, you say? But what is "the truth"? What are the "facts", for that matter? Even if we do subscribe to the evolutionary model – which one? Only the laymen are convinced by the Darwinian model, and that's because it's the model that they've been prescribed. The science community is aware of the many holes in the "accepted" model and the alternatives that challenge the Darwinian model as a fact of life.
My nephew is surprisingly patient as he waits for my answer. As my mind wanders, so does my eye. I catch the sight of a supposedly fully evolved human who, in plain daylight, is sitting on one of the benches, removing his shoe and socks and pulling at something lodged between his big toe and the one next to it. I'm old fashion. I do these sorts of things at home, even in front of my mate. But not in public. But this guy is cut from a different cloth. He successfully dislodges whatever from his feet and brings it closer to his face for inspection. He even takes a quick smell to diagnose it. My eyes return to the monkey who, only a few moments ago, had taste-tested his feet.
"Yes" I tell my nephew. "We did come from Monkeys."
"All of us?" He asks.
I just read a story about Grigory Perelman of St. Petersburg, Russia. He's 43 years old. He's a genius who proved the Poincare conjecture, which deals with shapes that exist in four or more dimensions. My humble mind can only make sense of three dimensions. To help you appreciate what that means, consider that there are primitive cultures that only count to three before the next number is simply "many". I suppose if Grigory were to ask me to explain the dimensions of reality I would do the same thing: "1,2,3... many."
"No, not all of us" I say to my nephew. "But I did."
He's smart. His face recoils at this answer. Bullshit, he's thinking. Either we all came from monkeys or none of us did. He's right. It's because he's right that I have a hard time reconciling the spectrum of intelligence that is found in humans. Like most people, I've watched nature shows. I've also seen the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the movie, there is clearly a monkey or group of monkeys who are smarter than the rest. In the nature show, well...They all seem to embody the same degree of intelligence or lack thereof. Where are the smarter monkeys? You know, one with a sling shot or a gigantic leaf with a crude drawing? Seems to me that sooner or later a genius has to emerge from this monkey mass and give us empirical evidence that, all on their own, they can become one of us.
My nephew is no longer pounding me with this skeptic stare. He's doing his own thinking. Working this out for himself. I would love to say that this is very human of him, but it really isn't. Not all humans take the initiative of challenging what they've been told. Many of us just take whatever information is given to us and run with it. Creationists do this when they conclude without evidence – or perhaps despite evidence to the contrary– that the earth is only 6,000 years old; that the first man and woman had a conversation with a snake; and that these two people alone could populate the entire earth. But creationists aren't the only one's happy to ensconce themselves in their own ideologies. Evolutionists do the same thing when they jump to specious conclusions about how we, say, got from water to land in our evolution. According to Gordon Rattray Taylor, in his book The Great Evolutionary Mystery, the theory behind our transition from water to land is so rife with improbabilities and holes that the usual out-of-the-can response "with enough time it could happen" cannot and does not apply. Saying "with enough time these very improbable things could happen" is as lazy and careless as a Christian who says, "with God all things, no matter how improbable, are possible." In other words, Evolutionists have replaced Father God with Father Time and then make whatever leaps of faith they can imagine.
By the way, I can see that my nephew is still working this one out. So am I. I am a subscriber to the evolutionary theory, but with many more qualifications than most who adhere to the same model. For instance, I resist the notion that human qualities like love are simply reproductive advantages that secured our survival. Why do I resist this? Because love is sacred? No, that's not why. Love in the modern world is sacred but in the natural world it is superfluous. We don't need love to inspire reproduction. Simply being horny will do. People f**k all the time without being in love. In fact, my nephew, as he ages, will soon figure out that he is here on this planet, not because his estranged parents were in love but simply because they were horny. His father is not even in the picture. I am.
I suppose an evolutionist could say that my paternal surrogacy is driven by preservation of my genetic lineage and all that crap. But that's not really what it is. I love this kid. He's fun to have around. Some of my other nephews, however, I'll have nothing to do with.
There are many human characteristics and qualities that we try to retro fit into the box of evolution. Some fit just fine. Others are jammed in there. We shove them in, forcibly, and then stand back proudly saying to others, "see? it fits." People like me – and my nephew – stand to the side, unimpressed and unconvinced.
"I know!" My nephew blurts. "Monkey's made us!" By made he means designed.
I look at him. Blinking. "Why would they do that?" I ask.
"So that we'd feed them and take care of them." He replies, without missing a beat. Indeed, I look around and I see the occasional zoo employee walking around with buckets of food and other animal management paraphernalia in their hands and arms.
"Slavery?" I ask.
"Yes." He replies, nodding his head.
What the hell, why not? If monkey's were that malicious it would certainly make for a seamless transition to us humans.
So that's it: Intelligent Design. By Monkeys.
I remember the guy picking his foot in public. I take a second look at all the people around me. This time I catch a teenage girl who is staring into space, toying at her cellphone with her teeth.
Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. After a population splits into smaller groups, these groups evolve independently and may eventually diversify into new species. A nested hierarchy of anatomical and genetic similarities, geographical distribution of similar species and the fossil record indicate that all organisms are descended from a common ancestor through a long series of these divergent events, stretching back in a tree of life that has grown over the 3,500 million years of life on Earth.
Evolution is the product of two opposing forces: processes that constantly introduce variation in traits, and processes that make particular variants become more common or rare. A trait is a particular characteristic, such as eye color, height, or a behavior, that is expressed when an organism's genes interact with its environment, translating its genotypic predispositions into phenotypic phenomena. Genes vary within populations, so organisms show heritable differences (variation) in their traits.
The main cause of variation is mutation, which changes the sequence of a gene. Altered genes, or alleles, are then inherited by offspring. There can sometimes also be transfer of genes between species. Two main processes cause variants to become more common or rare in a population. One is natural selection, which causes traits that aid survival and reproduction to become more common, ...