If Humans Came From Monkeys, Why Are There Still Monkeys?

Many of us who are atheists or a part of the atheist “movement” have a terrible habit of referring to theists, specifically Christians, as “stupid” or perhaps even “insane” or “mentally ill.” I’ve done it myself and would like to hereby apologize to anyone I may have done that to in the past. It’s really not fair to generalize any group of people in such a manner. But, I do have to say that you do ask some stupid questions sometimes. Now I am certainly not an evolutionary biologist by any stretch of the imagination, however I do believe that the evidence supports the fact that evolution occurs among species and has done so for a vary long time. I was taught this in high school biology class, just like everyone should have been, and it just makes sense.

It’s rather surprising to me just how many people really don’t have a concept of what evolution is or how it actually works.  Evolution is most simply defined as the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. That’s it. It does not purpose the origin of life in any way. In fact scientifically, the jury is still out as to exactly how life began. We don’t know, and it’s as simple as that.

By the way, the fact that science does not currently know the answer or offer a plausible explanation does not automatically give way to “god did it.” The lack of a suitable answer does not make any other proposed answer true. If it worked that way we could just as easily say, “It was pixies” or “It was Harry Potter.”

Still people don’t really “get” evolution and it shows glaringly in the comments we hear primarily from theists all the time. We’ve all seen the diagram depicting the ascenscion of the species, from hominid to Neanderthal to whatever and whatever and whatever (told you I’m no biologist) and finally culminating in Homo Sapiens , but do we understand it?

First of all, evolution affects populations, not individuals. So you’re not going to see, for example, a dog in the process of sprouting, let’s say, wings to eventually evolve into some weird kind of flying canine. It doesn’t work that way. A genetic mutation can occur within a specific dog, however, and should this mutation prove to be beneficial in some way, that dog in more likely to survive and reproduce and pass this trait along to its offspring. After successive generations, if the mutation is beneficial enough, it will become a standard characteristic as the dogs with the wings survive more than the ones without, resulting in a species of flying dogs. Of course this is an extreme example, but you see where I’m going with this.

Also, despite popular belief, evolution does not suggest that man evolved from monkeys. So the question that is asked far too often, “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” does nothing more than demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of evolution. Man did not evolve from what we understand as modern monkeys at all. rather both Homo Sapiens and modern primates share a common ancestor, which does not exist today. In fact, Homo Sapiens is technically a part of the Great Ape family, just like gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. I include that last just because it is fun to say “bonobo.” Try it and say it with me… booooo nooooo booooo.

Fun, right?

Next week we’ll talk about the Big Bang and the implications of Dr. Lawrence Krauss’ book  A Universe From Nothing, because, yes, I do find the concept of our entire universe expanding from a dense little speck of nothingness more believable than it being spoken into existence by a magic genie who lives in the sky and happens to be invisible. Also the stories of Adam and Eve and Noah and the Ark NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED! How do I know this? I suppose I don’t, but I can say that we definitely know that there was never a period in Earth’s history where ther existed only two hominids on the face of the planet. Biology shows that a species with a population of only two would not survive and would indeed be doomed to extinction. That’s just the way it is. Also common sense tells me that snakes are incapable of speech. As for Noah’s Ark, there simply is no geological evidence that a worldwide floof ever occurred. The shit just didn’t happen. Sorry.

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One comment

  1. tysmith92 · September 14, 2014

    Hello,
    As someone who is both a theist and believes in evolution, I wanted to personally thank you for your apology in the opening paragraph. Unfortunately theists get a pretty bad rep for being stubborn and irrational, and even more unfortunately many of us are. I at one point did not support evolution and asked many of the stupid questions you ask about. I was also in my teens and not overly-educated in the subject. I also have many friends that believe in young-earth creationism and they are good people and most of them are actually pretty bright as well. But none-the-less I believe in evolution, and I don’t see why it has to conflict with whether or not you believe God exists. Why are we so bent on taking Genesis literally? It doesn’t take away from how amazingly complex and well-designed we all are. It’s widely accepted that the end of the world that’s described in Revelations is a figurative description, why is the beginning described in Genesis so different? Anyways, this was a very nice post. Hopefully non-theists and theists will be able to work together in harmony better in the future.

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