As part of my periodic series on arguments not to use, I thought I’d discuss one I hear from time to time from well-meaning creationists who simply are not well educated in science. If you have made this argument in the past, don’t feel as though I’m looking down on you. I’m not. I simply want to educate you on why this argument is poor and give you the tools you need to make a better argument.
The argument to avoid is this one. “If humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?” Another variant of this argument substitutes chimpanzees for apes. This argument does not work for humans and chimps/apes because of how the evolutionists postulate evolutionists occurred. Man did not evolve from a chimp, according to evolution. Instead, man and chimps evolved from a common ancestor a few million years ago in their dogma. All the other apes diverged from the evolutionary tree millions of years prior to that according to the evolutionary dogma. Thus asking why we still have apes reveals an ignorance of their ideology that exposes you to ridicule….or more ridicule than usual.
More importantly, there are much better arguments you can make which will refute the most comment arguments evolutionists make regarding our ancestry. One of the more common arguments that we are 99% similar in our DNA to chimpanzees. This is based on a single study done years ago which was incredibly biased in nature. It assumed common ancestry, to begin with. It further erred by not comparing the whole of both genomes. Instead, it only compared sections where the genomes lined up. Everything else was discarded. This is called confirmation bias. They looked for similarity and threw out anything that didn’t match. More recent research has lowered the similarity down to the low 80%s and it is likely to continue to drop as we get better copies of the chimp genome.
A second common argument comes from the “Lucy” fossils of the Australopithecines. These fossils came from Africa and were postulated as the common ancestor between man and the ape. However, much of the peer-reviewed literature has actually rejected the Lucy fossils from the status of a missing link. They have done this for a number of reasons. The primary reason has to do with the Lucy fossils hip joint. The angle of the human hip is designed for walking upright. The angle of the chimp hip is designed for walking on all fours. Lucy’s hip angle closely resembles that of a chimp. Further, trained paleontologists and evolutionists have examined the Lucy fossil and found she likely walked on her knuckles like an ape, not on the balls of her feet like a human. The Australopithecines are best-considered nothing more than extinct apes.
Sometimes a third argument appears talking about the “ape-men.” It’s important if someone uses this argument that you ask them which ape-man they mean. Most of the time they won’t know the answer. There are arguments specific to certain apemen, but since they likely won’t know any of the apemen, I’ll also include a generic argument against apemen.
Neanderthals are perhaps the most common ape man anyone talks about. However, just about every individual in the world contains 2-3% of Neanderthal DNA. We have partially sequenced the Neanderthal genome and found they were very fair skinned and had the trait for green eyes. They used perfume, buried their dead, used tools, and wore jewelry. These were not the brutes they were portrayed.
Nebraska man still appears in some textbooks as evidence for evolution. He was reconstructed from a single tooth….which turned out to be from an extinct pig. Piltdown man was even worse. Someone deliberately combined an ape and human jaw, put some chemicals on them, and filed down some teeth to give the appearance of age. The fraud was pretty obvious, but it survived in the scientific literature for decades, and still appears in some science textbooks. Homo habilis and Homo erectus are two others that periodically are used in arguments. Both made tools of stone and lived an upright cooperative lifestyle. They can most be considered fully human.
Hopefully, you can now understand why the human/ape question is a poor question. The key arguments to remember are chimps are not 99% related to humans, far from it. Lucy is not considered by a sizeable portion of the scientific community to be a missing link. Neanderthals were fully human and we share some of their DNA. Every single missing link between man and ape can be demonstrated to be fraudulent, fully man, or fully ape.